Day 2719: Fragility

In my therapy groups and in my therapy group organization,  I am witnessing conversations about fragility (defined as “the quality of being easily broken or damaged”).

My experience is that focusing on the fragility of ourselves, other people, and established systems can lead to

  • fear,
  • resistance to change,
  • avoidance of action, and
  • silence.

Yesterday, during a conversation about racism in a racially diverse group, I brought up the concept of “white fragility,”  defined by Robin DiAngelo as follows:

White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include
the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such
as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar.

I was the only person in this group who had heard the term “White Fragility.”  As we discussed the concept, people nodded and shared their experiences.

In group discussions, I often witness vulnerability, which Brené Brown describes  as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure” and the unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.

It occurs to me now that fragility and vulnerability are two very different things, although both are, of course, human.

My hope is to face the future with more vulnerability and less fragility.

Do you see fragility or vulnerability in any of these recent photos?





community poem

When I search for “fragility” on YouTube, the second thing that comes up is this video by Newsbroke:

What are your thoughts and feelings about fragility, here and now?

Strong thanks to all who are reading this “Fragility” post today, including YOU!




Categories: definition, life during the pandemic, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Day 2719: Fragility

  1. I think we all have to understand vulnerability and fragility, Ann, to make this world of ours work the best for all.

  2. Handle with care, my dear friend! ♡(.◜ω◝.)♡

  3. We are all fragile to some extent

  4. This line — “My hope is to face the future with more vulnerability and less fragility.”

    To be vulnerable I must allow myself to be broken open. So perhaps the ‘fragility’ is the gateway to deep, beautiful and courageous vulnerability…

  5. I’m confused, or perhaps just fragile. Is Newsbroke supposed to be funny? If so I would have to respond as Queen Victoria “We are not amused.”

  6. A little cushion for my little ego. Thanks. It’s amazing that this is still an issue. We have to keep challenging ourselves to grow and encourage understanding between individuals and communities. Maybe we should make weekly counselling mandatory. You don’t realize the harm you are doing if you don’t do a little self examination. Hopefully it’s more like meditation and less like visiting the proctologist!

  7. I’ve seen, unfortunately, white fragility in action, and it’s why I, as a white person, feel the need to listen to thinkers like Ibram X. Kendi whose message is that it’s not enough to just not be racist; it’s important to be anti-racist.

  8. So many are far more fragile then they would like to be often it shows at the wrong times which is sad

  9. “White fragility” is a complex idea that is only partially captured by that term. In a way, that kind of fragility isn’t fragility at all. Other words could be substituted for “fragility.” We have to do more than merely become resilient. We have to sometimes give something up, step back, look inward critically, admit error. We have to step backward into the lake from the beach as far as we can without drowning.

  10. That video was a hoot. As for other vulnerability and fragility…those stones are vulnerable to rearrangement.

  11. i think we all have a bit of fragility in us, though we may not like to admit it. and as for being vulnerable, it takes strength, a bit of security, and lack of fear, to let ourselves be in that position, but oh so worth it.

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