160: Couch Conversations With Evan Ryan Ringler: On Vulnerability And Ev’s New Endeavor
Vulnerability is scary. We have evolved the tendency to protect ourselves at all cost from possible embarrassment and humiliation that we often shy away from revealing our innermost thoughts and feelings. But once you get past the fear and gain the courage to dig deep, you’ll find that vulnerability has something great in store for you. In this episode of Couch Conversations, Thane Marcus Ringler is joined once more by his lovely wife, Evan Ryan Ringler to trade thoughts and stories that demonstrate the power vulnerability. Thane and Ev practice what they preach, and their courage to become vulnerable is palpable in this conversation. Plus, learn about Ev’s new endeavor that she is extremely excited and vulnerable about.
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Couch Conversations With Evan Ryan Ringler: On Vulnerability And Ev’s New Endeavor
Have you been feeling a lack of hope or am I the only one? We all could use a little more hope. Hope is a spark that ignites our world, fuels our progress, and spurs us upward and onward helping us stay the course. Hope is essential. Why does it feel like there is no hope? Why do we feel hopeless? What can we do about it? I believe hope is readily available to any and all who look for it, who strives to find it, who works towards embracing it. Hope is there if only we would search for it. If there was ever a time in my life that we needed hope, that time is now. This is why I wrote Catalysts For Hope. My hope for this book is that it can reignite your passion for life through renewed energy, optimism and empowered perspectives. We each had the ability to choose hope. It’s time we started doing it. Catalysts For Hope drops on September 1st 2020. You can get your own copy by going to ThaneMarcus.com/hope and signing up there. Here’s to hope.
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What does it taste like?
It tastes like a Sour Watermelon Jolly Rancher.
I was going to say it does. That’s how I described it.
With sparkling water.Vulnerability is the first thing we expect in others and the last thing we are willing to give. Click To Tweet
It is a refreshing and enjoyable combo. We have dinner in the oven. My lovely wife has been killing the game in the kitchen. I’m a little jealous because this meal is a new creation, parm chicken orzo. She’s been outpacing me in the kitchen, so I need to step my game up.
I beat you to it. We both love cooking.
It’s fun. I mainly cook lunch and you mainly cook dinner, but we do help each other out on both ends.
That’s one of our fave activities.
We are going to chat a little bit about a few exciting updates and things we’re learning as we tend to do on these. We hope they’re helpful to you. It’s us sharing our lives with others in order to try and provide encouragement or maybe a few nuggets that can be taken into your own. One of the things that we’re going to talk about is vulnerability, which can be a scary subject. I’ve enjoyed hearing from you on this because there are a couple either things you’ve heard from other people, phrases or ways you put it that help us understand the importance and the benefit of vulnerability. What is that phrase? I don’t remember but I’ve heard you say it multiple times.
I reference Brené for vulnerability. She has a mega–load of information on it. She maybe says this, “Vulnerability is the first thing we expect from someone else and the last thing we expect to give.”
I love that because it resonates with any human being deep. It is hard for us to open that door but was it the sermon by Judah we were hearing? By podcasts, we’re hearing from a pastor, someone about small groups and how the first person likes to open up. It always takes one person to be real and be vulnerable, and then you see a slew of people follow. I was in her leadership training too. It’s funny how as humans, we wait for someone else to be vulnerable because we don’t want to take the dive in because it’s scary. No one may follow us. It’s risky. There are a lot of things that keep us from being vulnerable.
That sermon was by Judah Smith and his metaphor was about how in small groups like, “We’re going to do the prayer requests thing.” I love this about guys. One guy will be like, “I’m going through this. This thing is hard.” He’s like, “Thing about guys, we won’t ask what it is.” We’re like, “That thing, that’s hard. We’ll pray for that.” It takes one person to say, “I’ve struggled with this.” Everyone else is like an outpouring of the soul.
It’s often sexy to talk about leadership. We all want to be leaders, not all but a lot of people want to be good leaders like, “What does it mean to be a good leader? I want to be called a leader or I want to be looked at as a leader.” It’s not sexy. It’s usually scary. Being a leader means you’re the first one to admit you’re wrong, your flaws and the first one to be honest about the hard things that you’re experiencing right now.
We’re considering helping to facilitate a small group at our church. One of the things that were said at our training that was good is, “If you want your group to go there, you go there first.” That’s true for anything. That’s what you’re speaking on with leadership. As I’ve been thinking about what keeps us from being vulnerable, I’ve narrowed it to 2 or maybe 3 spheres of one, it’s embarrassing. We have this narrative of, “I’m not that person. I want to be this person. This is the person I should be. I’m not going to share this because that takes away from that.” Sometimes it’s out of a good heart of, “I don’t want to be selfish and share or make this about me.” That’s what I’ve narrowed it down to, but I’d be curious if you have more thoughts on what keeps us from being vulnerable.
Embarrassment, selflessness and the other is pride. That’s a huge one, and trying to be something we’re not. We all love an image and this ideal that we think we are or we view ourselves as, but the way we view ourselves is subjective. Even in marriage, I’ve been grateful that you helped me gain objectivity that I didn’t have before of myself. We will never get objectivity especially about ourselves if we’re not vulnerable. In a marriage, you don’t have to be vulnerable but for your marriage to be healthy, you have to be vulnerable. I’m grateful for that, designed by God in that. Pride is probably huge for men. It’s a combination of embarrassment and pride usually. You don’t want to be seen as weak. We don’t want to be the only one that’s flawed. We’re all flawed. These are these narratives that get stuck in our heads.
We had one of our neighbors and his daughter over for dinner and talking about self-development, self-growth and why people shy away from it. A lot of the time, it’s because of this huge, scary endeavor. I don’t want to have to unpack child wounds. My challenge with being vulnerable to relate those feelings back to vulnerability, because we can put those same things on, “If I open up, that’s scary. I could be hurt.” It doesn’t have to be scary and Brené talks about that too of we can connect or connotate vulnerability with fear or disappointment, negative words. That vulnerability is the gateway to love, being understood, understanding, and it’s powerful.
I’m thinking about my own journey in this and where I’ve struggled and had grown in. I almost think we have to be shocked out of our facade. We almost have to be broken of our facades that we can be vulnerable with others and that’s what the story is for me. I had to be broken of this image I was pursuing. For a lot of my high school and college years, I was creating this image of what I wanted other people to see me as.
Maybe building the container as Rohr says, “First half of life.”
It happened again in college where everything exploded on me, and all of my double lives and double standard I’ve been living in different circles came out at the end of my junior year in college. That was a huge breaking point of this idea that if my testimony or the story of my life was to matter, then it needed to be honest. It needed to be real. There’s something to it and I think part of it even goes into love. We want to be loved and we create this image that we think other people will love when that’s the most fearful place to be is living a lie so that others can love you, versus living your true self and being loved for who you truly are. There’s nothing better than that, yet we chase it the wrong way. I know I did for so long. Since then, that idea of living with integrity has been compelling and helped me strive for this more than I ever used to. It’s a daily battle still, but being the person that I say I am and living with integrity. Vulnerability goes hand–in– hand with integrity because you’re letting people in to see who you are. What are you going to say?
A few things. They’ve escaped me but they’re coming back. I was going to share an example of a vulnerability that happened to me. There’s something else I wanted to say about what you shared. Think about all these people that you most connect with, influencers or people you don’t even know and the people you know, the people that are in my life that are unapologetically themselves. I’ll speak for myself. I have that much more respect for them. I adore them that much more because they’re being them and they aren’t afraid to say, “I messed up here and this is what I learned from it. This is how I’ve grown from it or this is going on.” We’ve heard people shy away from being vulnerable because we can make excuses for it. As we’ve talked through this more, we’ve been seeing that we shy away from being vulnerable with excuses, “They don’t need to know that about me or my life, or I don’t want to be an open book for everyone.” There’s truth in that if you let your inner circle into your innermost parts. I agree that you don’t have to share your heart with everyone to the depths of your soul.Vulnerability is the gateway to being understood. Click To Tweet
That’s the sermon piece. That’s the piece that there’s the right time and the right place for sharing, and that doesn’t mean every person in every situation. If we are open to sharing, that’s what matters. We’ll know when the right time is, but if we’re never open to sharing those intimate pieces of our story. The one thing I would add to that is it doesn’t have to be someone in your inner circle. It could be maybe someone you met for coffee and something they shared where for some reason, the spirit sparks, this piece of your story in your mind you’re like, “This could be encouraging to them or helpful at this moment.” That’s also an important part of it is the posture of being willing.
Try to be spirit–led in, “I don’t want to share this, but God has prompted me to.” The other thing I would say is we’ve heard people say like, “I feel like everyone has this perception of me that I’m perfect.” If people have that perception, you’re not sharing. I don’t think they could hold that perspective of you if you’re sharing your struggles and hang-ups. All that to say, I’m proud of you for going there.
I’m proud of you as well. Before you get to this example that I’m excited to hear and have you share, the other thing to add is that a big part of why people don’t see a true version of others is because they’re basing their view of others on images or posts. That’s a danger of social media is to associate what you see in a virtual setting as who they are and all of that is interpreted. We’re interpreting all of that and it’s not even real–life person-to-person. It’s a check on us to be like, “I don’t want this to be influencing my view of this person. If it is in a negative way, then maybe I should not be consuming what they’re putting out there.”
The second is like, “How can I strive to be as honest as possible in what I share or what I produce that’s true to me, to what I believe and what I think or who I am or what I’m going through?” It’s a double challenge for us in that. Speaking of vulnerability in your life, I’d love to also share a little context in that. This was a theme for you and we’ll share a little bit more of this. I love how spirit–led you are on that because with that theme, there was an intention by God and what he brought even and that’s a testimony in your story you’re going to share. I wanted to preface with that I’m proud.
I’ll probably get emotional.
It’s something else I love about you.
Vulnerability has been my focus. One of my challenges was to be vulnerable in whatever shape that takes because I do consider myself an open book. I’m like, “If people want to know, I’m happy to share.” I’ve learned to not be embarrassed about my circumstances or my past choices because those are in the past and I’ve learned from things as we all have. With that, I experience anxiety when I am in people’s weddings. We don’t have to dissect all of this and a lot of that stemmed from the year I graduated. I was at fifteen weddings. For whatever reason, that triggered me towards the end of having a lot of anxiety around being in front of people. I’ve never liked to be in front of people. With that, I would fight through it and I would commit a year in advance and then I would think about it at least every day, leading up to, “I don’t want to walk down the aisle.” It’s not even about me and that’s why it was frustrating.
For those of you who experienced anxiety, I’m sure you can relate with, “This is frustrating because it’s not about me and it feels like it’s becoming about me because I’m worried about whatever.” I had a dear friend give me a call and she asked if I wanted to be in her wedding and I was and am honored. I had goosebumps when she was asking me. I was like, “This is cool.” I had a little maybe ten-second pause after she asked of, “Do I say yes and don’t bring her into what I’m experiencing? Do I bring her in, loop her in, be vulnerable and share?” There was a real fear of, “She could be mad at me, or what do you mean?” Think differently of me because of my experience with anxiety around being in weddings.
I decided to share and did the whole, “It isn’t about you. It is not personal. I want to bring you into this space of this is what I experience and I am for you and your partner.” Without skipping a beat, it was right when I stopped talking, she was like, “I want you to be a part of it. To whatever capacity you’re comfortable with being a part of it, that’s enough for me.” I feel like that’s the start to the path of redemption for me and that sphere of experiencing anxiety being in weddings. I felt the grace of God extended to me, “No problem. I understand everyone has their thing. What are you comfortable with?” I felt heard, seen, better known. I’m grateful.
It’s beautiful. Thanks for sharing. I love that story, that testimony of the power of vulnerability because we’re focusing on it, or talking about it doesn’t mean it gets less scary. It’s always in that moment going to be scary of like, “This person could say something hurtful. This could be a dividing versus unifying thing. This could be blank and blank.” Whatever it is, fill in the blank to have the courage to do it and to follow the lead of like, “This is what I needed to do here.”
Even sharing now, I’ve felt myself getting hot and what are people going to think? “What do you mean you don’t like to be at weddings?” Honestly, I asked myself the same question as, “It’s not about me. I get to wear a cool new dress. I got to support my friend.” For all of those things for whatever reason, I experienced anxiety around that and I didn’t want to lose months of sleep over something that could be cured in one conversation, which it was. Something to say, if my friend had a negative reaction, that wouldn’t be a reflection of me and my vulnerability. It would have been a reflection of her. It’s a sweet thing to remember this person loves me and if this person loves me, I’ll be met with love and grace.
In those situations when we aren’t, we can always extend grace to people in that. I can’t remember who said this quote but it sparked to my mind, “We suffer more in imagination than reality.” One of the biggest benefits of vulnerability is we can end that imaginary suffering of scenarios because we get it out there and we play out the scenario in real life, which eliminates a lot of the mental suffering that can come when we fail to act. It’s not saying every situation will be that way, but that’s the benefit of being vulnerable. Speaking of vulnerability there’s something else that you’ve been vulnerable with.
I feel like this whole episode is on vulnerability, which is right on.
We’re living it. We’re practicing what we preach.
The start of quarantine in April or May, however long ago that was, a lot of women from past circles had been reaching out and sharing. I felt like one of the common themes was women settling whether that be with, “I don’t work out anymore. My body is it is what it is. I’m dating this person, but I’m not always happy.” For the record, relationship is not about happiness. The point was like, “I don’t know if I’d be able to find anyone else or I’m in this job and it’s okay.” I felt called and prompted by the spirit to do something for women and I kept coming back to Jesus was all about the one. Whatever it was, even if I could affect one woman for better, then that would be enough.
I’m off of all social media. I was praying through what avenue made sense. I landed on a weekly newsletter and I send out a weekly newsletter and it’s outlined by Stay the Course, Stay Curious and Stay Light. The hope is to encourage and empower women on the journey from someone who is also on the journey and a place where we can share what has been helpful in bringing our best selves to the day. Staying curious, what are we learning? How are we considering all sides of an issue or a topic? Stay light is how can we laugh? Lanny Hunter, one of our friends said, I’m paraphrasing, but he never travels any too great distance without someone who can laugh. Humor is a beautiful and important gift.We suffer more in imagination than in reality. Vulnerability eliminates a lot of that mental suffering. Click To Tweet
What is it called?
It’s called Worthy A Weekly Reset. It drops on Monday mornings right to your inbox. It’s been challenging and beautiful. It’s been rewarding. I’m grateful to be a part of it.
It’s sweet to see you go from spark idea and then marinating on it and then taking action and being vulnerable. Lo and behold, here we come. Our topic is vulnerability. Here we are, we happened to have a show, which is ironic but also divine in a lot of ways. If there are women out there that would like to be involved, is there a place that they can go to?
Yes. I don’t know off the top of my head the URL. (https://www.GetRevue.co/profile/worthy/)
I’m excited to see what comes from Worthy and how you continue to encourage others. What’s cool is we are more blessed by trying to bless others. If I’ve learned anything from podcasting and writing, it’s that I’ve benefited ten times more than others have. I’m excited because that will be true with you and worthy as well. It already has been, which is sweet. I love hearing from the women that it has reached and impacted. It’s the coolest thing. If you’re a woman out there, hop on it.
The last thing I’ll say about it is it’s been overwhelming in a sweet way to see how universal a lot of our struggles or circumstances are as women. I asked for some feedback and a lot of the feedback was on body image and that was ranging from 19 to 60 years old. It’s cool to know that. Speaking of vulnerability, by putting something out there and then having all these people say, “Me too,” that’s been powerful.
You’re not alone. We are not alone. To end, we thought we had to mention the habit we are working on building. What habit are you working on building?
I’ve been working on building a few.
That’s you. The one I’ve been most consistent with is water intake, and it does take intentionality. I feel better on the days I get my number of ounces and I try to get 100 in each day. There’s no universal consensus on if it’s, “You’re supposed to drink your body weight in ounces or half your body weight.” I landed on 100 ounces besides more frequent bathroom breaks, that’s the only negative thing. I feel my brain is clear, my skin is brighter and all the wins, and I know I’m taking care of my body. What would you say?
The habit I am building, I haven’t thought about this so let me think. I would say two things that come to mind. The first is trying to get better at entrusting things to God. What I mean by that is relying on his power and timing and not my own. It is a hard thing for me to do. I like to hustle and I like to put in the work and the hours and the effort, and try to make things happen. I don’t think that is the best posture for me or for people trying to follow the way of Jesus. For me, it’s being okay with accepting where I’m at and being diligent, but not being not entrusting the results to myself. That habit is more mental than anything. It’s a mental discipline. The second would be for us, I would say the habit of being conscious of our connection. I hope I’ve been getting better at that. That’s an important thing in a relationship, you are much more in tune than I am by nature. It’s a strength of yours and a weakness of mine. It’s been fun to try to be more conscious of that and try to adjust as needed in that. That’s the two that would come to mind.
I feel I’ve seen you grow in both of those areas.
This has been fun. We’re both hungry and thirsty. Couch combo numero tres is officially done. Until next time, my love.
I love you, Thane.
I love you. We hope you all have an up and coming week.
This is Thane here following up with one last thing to note. If you would like to get a curated list of all the content I’m learning from, whether that be books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, quotes I’m pondering or even some sermons I’m enjoying, In-Thane is a monthly newsletter that brings vetted content that I know you’ll enjoy. Go to ThaneMarcus.com/inthane to sign up and you’ll be sure to receive the next one. Each edition of In-Thane is released on the first Sunday of the month. This is a once a month newsletter that I hope you enjoy and benefit from as much as I have. Here’s to learning and growing one day at a time.
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About Evan Ryan Ringler
Evan Ryan Ringler is my wife. (Woot Woot!) She is one of the most thoughtful, caring, and intentional individuals I have ever met in my life, which is why I had to wife her up! In all seriousness, she is a powerhouse of a woman that I can’t wait for you all to get to know better. She grew up in Overland Park, KS, and quickly gravitated to her natural athleticism, centering in on the sport of soccer.
She competed for four years at the University of Arkansas on the soccer team before graduating with a degree in International Relations. After graduating she spent time at Garmin and Children’s Mercy before deciding to move to Denver for a new adventure in the Rockies. After almost two years as the Rocky Mountain Regional Manager for Life Equals, she decided to venture into her own pursuits as a consultant, pouring time into a few other passion projects she has as well.
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