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Dana Najib on the
POWER OF VULNERABILITY

NAME + INSTAGRAM

My name is Dana Najib and my Instagram is @xdana.n 


WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

I'm from Washington, D.C. and am of Syrian origins. 


WHAT DOES BEING VULNERABLE MEAN TO YOU?

I believe vulnerability is at the center of our humanity that we've all so easily steered away from. 

It means unapologetically being yourself and embracing all that is it to be human, but most importantly, you.

It means being flawed, trying new things, having difficult conversations. It means loving deeply, feeling sad, feeling happy. It means asking for help when you need it and putting pride aside. It means helping others and showing others love without or despite the fear of your past. It means learning to trust again. 

 

It means sharing your art when no one is clapping and clapping for artists no one else has noticed. It's speaking of your past struggles despite the pain and of your dreams, passions, and interests despite the fear.

 

Being vulnerable is one of the highest forms of authenticity and healing in a world lead by conformity and delusion. That is why most people are afraid of it. 

WHY DO YOU THINK MOST PEOPLE FEAR VULNERABILITY?

A lot of people say they're afraid of being judged by others but I think it's more so that they're afraid of looking at themselves in the mirror and judging what they see. I also think people are afraid of loneliness. When you begin practicing vulnerability, you become "too much" for certain people. You may outgrow friend groups or environments and people are afraid of dealing with temporary discomfort, not knowing that it's exactly what will lead them to places and people with similar hearts and mindsets. 

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WOULD YOU SAY BEING VULNERABLE HAS ALWAYS BEEN EASY FOR YOU?

(as in have you always been vulnerable or did it come over time?)

 

Definitely not. It's something that unfolded itself to me over time, and something I now honor and re-learn regularly. I've always felt everything very deeply. It's the only way I've known my existence to be. But my guard was always up. I was afraid of being perceived. I let labels define my way of life for so long. If I'm being my naturally kind and empathetic self, people would called me "fake." When I stood up for myself and my family during moments of disrespect I was called "dramatic." The list goes on and on. At the time, I especially didn't ever want to be seen as weak, especially when I was considered the dainty, lady-like one in the family, and my sister the strong one. I wanted to prove to others that I could be strong and soft. I didn't even know what that meant at the time. 

 

But as I've grown older and exhausted by living through the eyes of others, I found magic. I started embracing all aspects of myself. I learned that I can be courageous and shy, brave and scared, dainty and sexy, funny and serious, strong and soft, all at the same time. That I am all that I see myself to be and other people's perception of me is feable, a reflection of their inner world. 

 

It was difficult though. I looked myself in the mirror several times and tried to comprehend the fact that I didn't know a signle thing about the woman I was looking at. All I saw was a mosaic made of different bits and pieces of other people's labels of me: advice I had taken with no thought, interests I had adopted for the sake of conformity, emotions I hadn't embraced and struggles I hadn't spoken of. My life wasn't mine. 

 

I don't think anyone would ever want to be a stranger in their own body, their own life. But that's where it starts. We start with ourselves and get lost in the shuffle of this world and I'm learning "growing up" is simply going back to what we were like as children: free and unapologetically ourselves.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE FIRST STEP TO BECOMING MORE VULNERABLE?

I think it's different for everyone. For some, it's a sensation of being stuck and numb that leads them to look in the mirror and make conscious decisions to practice vulnerability. For others, it's getting to the point of being so sick and tired of being sick and tired that you almost have no choice but to let down the walls and embrace the human experience. After that, a new journey begins. In my case, it's been a mix of both.

WHY DO YOU THINK MOST PEOPLE FEAR VULNERABILITY?

A lot of people say they're afraid of being judged by others but I think it's more so that they're afraid of looking at themselves in the mirror and judging what they see. I also think people are afraid of loneliness. When you begin practicing vulnerability, you become "too much" for certain people. You may outgrow friend groups or environments and people are afraid of dealing with temporary discomfort, not knowing that it's exactly what will lead them to places and people with similar hearts and mindsets. 


WOULD YOU SAY BEING VULNERABLE HAS ALWAYS BEEN EASY FOR YOU?

(as in have you always been vulnerable or did it come over time?)

 

Definitely not. It's something that unfolded itself to me over time, and something I now honor and re-learn regularly. I've always felt everything very deeply. It's the only way I've known my existence to be. But my guard was always up. I was afraid of being perceived. I let labels define my way of life for so long. If I'm being my naturally kind and empathetic self, people would called me "fake." When I stood up for myself and my family during moments of disrespect I was called "dramatic." The list goes on and on. At the time, I especially didn't ever want to be seen as weak, especially when I was considered the dainty, lady-like one in the family, and my sister the strong one. I wanted to prove to others that I could be strong and soft. I didn't even know what that meant at the time. 

 

But as I've grown older and exhausted by living through the eyes of others, I found magic. I started embracing all aspects of myself. I learned that I can be courageous and shy, brave and scared, dainty and sexy, funny and serious, strong and soft, all at the same time. That I am all that I see myself to be and other people's perception of me is feable, a reflection of their inner world. 

 

It was difficult though. I looked myself in the mirror several times and tried to comprehend the fact that I didn't know a signle thing about the woman I was looking at. All I saw was a mosaic made of different bits and pieces of other people's labels of me: advice I had taken with no thought, interests I had adopted for the sake of conformity, emotions I hadn't embraced and struggles I hadn't spoken of. My life wasn't mine. 

 

I don't think anyone would ever want to be a stranger in their own body, their own life. But that's where it starts. We start with ourselves and get lost in the shuffle of this world and I'm learning "growing up" is simply going back to what we were like as children: free and unapologetically ourselves. 


WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE FIRST STEP TO BECOMING MORE VULNERABLE?

I think it's different for everyone. For some, it's a sensation of being stuck and numb that leads them to look in the mirror and make conscious decisions to practice vulnerability. For others, it's getting to the point of being so sick and tired of being sick and tired that you almost have no choice but to let down the walls and embrace the human experience. After that, a new journey begins. In my case, it's been a mix of both.

 

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