“What is your story?” My body filled with anxiety. My skin crawled. I picked at my nails. This was the third time this summer I was asked about my story. But I build walls and keep people out. I only let a small group of people know my story. However, I know that to start building a connection, I need to be vulnerable and share my story.

Finding Joy After Heartache

My narrative came to a halt during my mother’s battle with cancer. In the middle of being a wife and a mother to three young children, I was processing how to live life without my mom and leaning on my faith, knowing this was my mom’s path all along. Her life story was planned long before she was ever conceived.

In our final conversations, my mom said, “Shelly, your gift is joy.” I quietly sat there, tears streaming down my face, feeling everything but joy in that moment. My mom continued, “Shelly, you must share the joy in your heart with your students and my grandkids. As I lay here, all I see is your joy.”

The Gateway to Authentic Connections

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.” — Brené Brown

Vulnerability. I hate this word. Am I the only one who feels this way? Vulnerability unlocks our authentic selves for others to see our flaws and fears. But I know a shared vulnerability builds bridges between people and fosters empathy and compassion—the cornerstones of genuine connections.

Experiencing a connection with others is a fundamental human need. It brings a sense of belonging and validation, reminding us that we are not alone on our journey through life. When we connect with others on a deep level, we gain support, encouragement and new perspectives that enrich our lives. These connections can lead to profound personal growth and a more vital self-awareness as we learn from other’s experiences and offer our insights in return.

My Journey Towards Vulnerability

Vulnerability and connection go hand in hand. We open space for communication, emotional intimacy and the freedom to be authentic without fear of judgment. These connections nourish us and have the power to withstand the tests of time, becoming a source of comfort and strength in our lives.

I am beginning to realize vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but a powerful tool for forging connections with others. By sharing our stories, fears and joys, we begin to build lasting relationships with people who make our lives better. Next time you are asked to share your story, take the time, and you may find a sense of belonging and a deeper appreciation of the human experience.

Shelly Mowinkel

Shelly Mowinkel

K-12 & Teens

My husband and I have three kids. Our oldest is a freshman in high school, and our youngest is in second grade. Most days, I feel like we are a “tag-team chauffeuring” service, yet I wouldn’t have our life any other way. Not only I am a business/technology teacher at Milford, I am also the district technology integration specialist. I love teaching because I get the opportunity to make those around me better. My hope is that, through my blogging, I am able to inspire, encourage, and share with you my adventures of being a wife, mother, and professional.

You may also like

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This