Last Friday morning a few of us from We Are You had the opportunity to lead a discussion with some students at the College Internship Program (CIP). CIP Bloomington is a program for students with learning differences who are pursuing a course of study at Ivy Tech or IU. They help prepare young adults who have Asperger’s, autism, and ADHD with academic counseling and internship opportunities.
Laura and I led a discussion about vulnerability; specifically how to find the courage to help others when you have been misunderstood or bullied in the past. We watched a few short videos, and discussed questions like, “Have your actions or words been misinterpreted by others when you were trying to help?” And “How do your experiences with vulnerability help you to help others who might be struggling?”
We started the discussion with this quote from Shawan Ayoub Ainslie: “Vulnerability. It can be our greatest weakness or our greatest strength. And it seems like the world has those roles in reverse. Being vulnerable is seen as a weakness. Hiding vulnerability is seen as a strength. The truth is, the greatest strength any person can demonstrate is choosing to stay open. To be vulnerable. I fight every day not to close myself off. It gets easier. I know that if I choose to close, I am choosing not to connect with other people. I am locking out empathy, compassion. If I want to live in a better world, I have to help create it. So I choose to be vulnerable even though it's scary. I choose to connect.”
The students were amazing, and the discussion was really engaging. Some moments were simply hilarious, and others were a lot more serious. But we were really impressed with what they had to say, and it was wonderful hearing their stories and sharing our experiences.