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The Benefits of Being Vulnerable. {No Feeling is Final.}

No feeling is final

I saw an old neighbor/friend  in the grocery store recently and I ducked into the next aisle to avoid speaking with her.  The last time I had seen her, I was a bit of a hot mess and was embarrassed to confront the vulnerable version of myself that I had shown her during our last interaction.  That day had been a classic bomb–I woke up to an over-drafted bank account, my car was on the fritz and I had just gotten into a heated argument with my boyfriend–and then I ran into her.  Biting back the tears, I knew she could tell I was struggling, but I was afraid that the slightest inquiry from her would open up the flood gates and I wouldn’t be able to recover.

I often think about that day and how I held back on the honest answer to “how are you doing?”  I was upset, she knew I was upset, yet I maintained that strong front.  I look back in embarrassment about how I wasn’t honest with her or myself.  I was scared to be vulnerable because I wasn’t sure what would come up for me. Who knows what kind of help or gentle encouragement I could have gotten from our interaction, if I had just opened up a little and let her in.

It’s only after moments like these that I have learned a few things about vulnerability:

Vulnerability is the act of allowing yourself to be seen and heard. 

In the moments of my own tenderness (when I was feeling unhinged at the grocery store or less than adequate on a date,) I was able to see that we all have emotional soft spots, no matter who we are.   The sooner I embraced that life was full of growth opportunities which are a direct result from being vulnerable, the calmer I felt because I knew I wasn’t alone.

Being vulnerable is an ongoing process that we fine-tune over time.  It’s awkward, uncomfortable and it’s totally necessary in order to move forward.  It is only when I figured out how I personally handle vulnerability that I experienced true personal growth.  I realized I could ease up a bit on the inner critic and express my feelings as they came up.

Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it’s a gift.

It’s about being who you really are.  In order to really connect in life, we have to be open to accepting all parts of ourselves–especially the ones that are cringe-worthy and not pretty; revealing ourselves to others is a result of that kind of acceptance.  I know it benefits everyone when I show the world who I really am because it builds bridges with others in a way that only exposing real emotions can.

And being vulnerable is not as scary/hard/dreadful as it may seem; we all fear rejection, but stretching our comfort zone and taking the leap again and again builds a strong level of confidence.  Courage is what we get after we do the scary thing.

Self-acceptance is the key to getting through the  feeling-vulnerable spot.  

I learned that when I accept me, it won’t rock my world when others don’t.   When I stand honestly in my vulnerability, I can see the vulnerability in others and relate more to them; it’s a common thread that connects us together.  We are all vulnerable in many different ways and when we share it, we allow others to do the same.

We learn more about ourselves when we’re being vulnerable because there’s no more hiding.  I know it’s hard to be open and show who you really are, but with each step forward it gets easier.  As you understand yourself better, you are more able to show that to others.  This includes showing your joy, too.

Rather than sheltering our feelings,  what if we could open up and reveal our true selves without rejection or fear?  How would being more vulnerable change your life?





The Benefits of Being Vulnerable. {No Feeling is Final.}2018-03-29T20:23:20-04:00

Opening Up: 3 Paths to Liberation. {And How I Survived Heartbreak.}

How do you open up more in your life when all you want to do is shut down? Click through to read about what a bad break-up taught me and how one distraction was a catalyst to moving on.

I went through a really bad breakup a few years ago.  Everyone experiences heart break at some point in their life and this one was a doozy.  We were engaged, we lived together, we were planning for a future, and then all of a sudden…we weren’t.  It was not pretty–there were lots of tears and hard conversations and promises to myself of ‘never again!’  It was an experience that ushered me into a new space: closed off and numb.

I fell into an emotional rut;  the doors slammed shut on my heart and my mind raced with fear. I was desperate to escape the pain and the only way I knew how to deal with it was to close down.  This devastation continued on for weeks until a kind friend saw how I was struggling and suggested I try yoga.

I would have become a circus clown if it promised me some sort of relief, so off to yoga I went!  The first couple of classes were so uncomfortable.  I had no idea what I was doing and I was sure I was being tortured.  I felt awkward and clumsy but it got me thinking differently about things.  It took the focus off of my sadness–the discomfort of the new practice helped open me up.

Retreats encourage it, gurus teach it and the lonely need it, but what does it actually mean to open up?

Mentally:  Wayne Dyer said, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”  When I was trying to patch myself back together, going to those yoga classes forced me to try something new and be vulnerable.  I learned I had to do something different in order to feel different.  Expansion can happen in many ways–with a class or a daily mantra–the key is to try something new.  Get out of your routine.  Stretch your limits.  If you feel a little uncomfortable doing it, you’re probably on the right track.

Physically:  Opening up physically is about release; it’s about letting go.  I cried a lot and then I got tired of crying, so I started talking again.  I started chatting with strangers in the grocery line; I would make eye contact with everyone I encountered to try to connect.  Physically taking action in a new way helps open you up.   Even the clothes you wear can make a difference–avoid the tight and constricting options.  Loosen up and enjoy a lighter vibe (goodbye suit, hello sundress!)

Emotionally: Opening up emotionally can feel awkward, uncomfortable but it will challenge the way you’re used to feeling. When opening up emotionally, dive in or go slow, just make some kind of move.  Express your love. Ask for help. And be prepared for what comes next: we all resist change and opening up emotionally will bring change.

God knows I was digging my heels in– I had thoughts like: what if that was it? What if  I never feel that way again?   I learned that the relief of expressing myself far out-weighs the risk of going out on that limb. Yielding to new territory can be drastically uncomfortable but those new feelings in the body are good.  They wake you up.

Courage comes after you do the scary thing.

So what is the point of opening up?  Being open is the easiest way to experience life more fully, to welcome others to share experiences with and it provides the opportunities to change and grow.  This is just the beginning of what can transpire.  Being open is about making room in your life for what you really want.

What do you need to do, to open up more?






Opening Up: 3 Paths to Liberation. {And How I Survived Heartbreak.}2018-03-29T20:23:22-04:00
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