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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?

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

Who do you perform for? You’re not an actor. {Unless you want to be}

Who do you perform for in your life?  Click through for the easiest way to drop the act and be yourself.

I  have a lot of roles to play out each day.  You know what I mean–the lover, friend, therapist, all around fixer etc.  I wear so many hats that sometimes it fees like I’m performing different roles in a play.  It’s normal to be different things to different people, but what happens when those things begin to take on a life of their own–when it feels like you’re being a different person altogether?

It can be downright exhausting when you realize who you perform for.  Does this sound familiar: you can’t be a little off color in front of your parents because they’re old school.  You have to talk about politics with your boss so he doesn’t think you’re a brainless nitwit.  You are the sexy, nothing-bothers-me girlfriend.

And what’s funny is that a lot of the time, people can see through the crap. They can see that you’re spinning life through a particular lens that doesn’t suit you.

When did we start trying to be different things to different people?

You've changed

I was recently listening to a conversation between girlfriends, who were talking about these sorts of roles.  It was obvious they were polished o the outside and seemed to have it together, but they were complaining about having to play the game.  They’re moms, wives, sisters, friends and caregivers among many other things.  They tweak their temper not to upset others. They twist and contort their opinion to keep the peace.  They tamper down their personalities to smooth things over.  It’s something they were taught early in life–to be polite, to not rock the boat, to be seen and not heard. How utterly boring.

What if someone just told them to stop doing that?  To just take a deep breath and be themselves?

Being yourself wholeheartedly means being vulnerable.  It can be uncomfortable when you are the full throttle version of yourself, it’s scary and you can be rejected because people may not like you at that moment.  But what if that was ok?  Afterall, you can’t please everyone.  And guess what?  If you turn those people off, those are not your people.

And there’s also a lot of other wonderful things that come with being yourself like relief and ease.  You can relax.  You automatically create room for other like-minded friends.

As I get older, I realize that I care less about what other people think about me.   Don’t get me wrong,  that pit in the stomach feeling still happens–wanting to seem like I’ve got it together!  I’m making it happen in life!  And it’s all easy!  But nothing could be further from the truth, we’re all feeling our way through.  But I find it’s a lot easier to manage things when I’m not lying to myself about it.  I think it’s a combination of maturity and understanding that everyone else has that same fear of just wanting to be ok.

What I often forget though, is that people connect on the things we usually try to hide.  The quirks and the weird things that we think other people won’t like, are the most endearing part of who we are.  We all want to seem more ‘normal’, where in reality it’s that freak flag that really draws people in.

We all play roles in our lives, but hopefully there comes a point where the role you’re playing and who you really are come together.  It feels good to be authentic and make no apologies for your presence in the world.  Try it out, you might just be surprised.

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Who do you perform for? You’re not an actor. {Unless you want to be}2018-03-29T20:23:28-04:00
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