Is it really okay to be vulnerable?

Elizabeth-Olsen-by-David-Roemer-for-Marie-Claire-UK-June-2014Last month while returning from vacation in Scotland, I did something that I rarely do – I picked up and bought a fashion magazine. Marie Claire to be exact. It seemed like a good way to spend the last few pounds in my pocket. And I also thought it might provide some enjoyment or at the very least, eye candy for the long flight back to New York.

While flipping through the magazine later, I found something that I would have least expected – an article titled “Self-Help for Millenials”, detailing how self-help gurus like Mastin Kipp & Gabby Bernstein aren’t all about positivity and “hey look how great my life is.” Instead, they share their downs as much as their ups with the world via Facebook & Twitter. These superstar authors with hugely successful businesses, who have both been featured on Oprah, have no bones about sharing that they too have bad days and experience self-doubt. *

Great right?

But how does this translate into what we as individuals share with the world?

You’ve undoubtedly seen various articles, like I have, pointing out how important it is that we don’t judge base our self-image on what we see in our Twitter and Facebook feeds. For the most part, we are seeing carefully “edited” content that doesn’t show the full picture of people’s lives. And with Facebook, this is further accentuated by the number of likes a post gets, which determines which of people’s posts actually make it to your feed.

Regular folks tend to write posts that are overwhelmingly positive. And let’s be honest, many of us prefer it that way. When you’ve seen someone post an deeply personal status update about a break-up or a personal breakdown, do you ever catch yourself groaning or thinking … What are they thinking? Don’t they know that they shouldn’t share that kind of stuff on Facebook?

From the time I was young, I have had a very particular idea of what I feel is public vs. private. I have always been more compelled to share the good stuff and hide anything that might be perceived as “bad”. To some extent, this has probably served me well … because we all know potential employers are checking out what we are posting on Facebook, Twitter and the web. But only sharing the good stuff can leave me feeling pretty shielded. And make me or anyone who lives by these rules seem too perfect and unrelatable.

So in the past year or so, I’ve been working on sharing more of my personal truth with friends and colleagues. As uncomfortable and foreign as it feels at times,  it allows me to be more human, develop stronger relationships, and invites others to help me grow. Plus, when I’m more open and vulnerable in life, it opens me up to new possibilities as an actor.

We are all flawed and the characters I play also have flaws. That is why I go to the theatre. And why I perform. To have an experience that helps connect me deeper to myself and the world. So that I can become more the person I want to be and help others to do the same.

So my question to you is, do you think actors can be as vulnerable and honest in sharing their personal lives as self-help leaders? Do you think this engages or alienates fans and potential collaborators? Where should we draw the line?

Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below. Can’t wait to hear from you.



PS: For the record, I absolutely know and love Mastin Kipp’s The Daily Love. I adore getting his emails: the quotes are the best, keeping me inspired and moving forward. I still haven’t gotten into Gabby Bernstein. One of these days, I hope to check out one of her books.

One Response to Is it really okay to be vulnerable?

  1. Ebony says:

    I say, share what you are comfortable sharing. Genuine people know that everyone has issues. Just be mindful that you will run into those that will criticize you for being human. However, if you placed it out there you are already tough enough to take what comes next. I applaud myself and others for taking this step because as you said, we are all flawed and depending on the issue it could save someone’s life.

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