Sooooo this being vulnerable thing… it’s kinda hard! You know what’s harder…. remaining vulnerable. As I explained a few posts ago, vulnerability is opening your self up to the risk of being hurt. So what happens when you take that risk and you ARE hurt? Do you shut down with this “I told ya so” attitude, or do you keep moving forward promising to being vulnerable yet AGAIN?
I’ve practiced being more vulnerable this last couple weeks and I can tell ya, getting to that point where I knock the little devil off my shoulder and open myself up has been hard. For me, and I’m sure you too, one of the hardest areas to be vulnerable is when it comes to expressing how things make me FEEL. I emphasize the word FEEL because a lot of the times when we are asked how we feel about something we ignore our internal feelings and we express according to the outside factors.
I go to counseling once a week and she is constantly asking me “So how did that make you feel?”. For the longest time I would unknowingly skip over the question going off into some jibber jabber sounding sorta like this, “Well I felt like he didn’t care about my feelings”, “I feel like I am doing a good job”, “I feel like he is just so inconsiderate” “I feel like he was really thoughtful” …. and then continuing on with some long winded story totally distracting her from the fact that I never answered the question….you know how it can be!
None of that describe my internal feelings. Did I express sadness, excitement, isolation, caring? Not at all. When I became more aware that this was what I was doing, I started to realize that it’s soooo much easier expressing our “feelings” about outside factors then it is to express what’s going on inside. It’s easier to judge or attack someone/something or even just hold in my feelings all together, assuming they don’t matter, then to expose myself leaving me open for possible attack or rejection.
One of the things I have realized over the years is that I want to develop deep meaningful connections with people. How else to do that then be vulnerable? Attacking, judging, staying silent, and assuming aren’t leading me closer to those connections though. It only takes me further away.
Relationships are about making connections. There’s no stronger connection then to be able to fully show up for each other. Here’s the thing though, how can you allow someone to show up for you if you aren’t exposing your true self? How can you show up for others if you aren’t expressing appreciation to their vulnerability. Just because we are vulnerable doesn’t mean the other person WILL in fact show up for us but at least through that we will know once and for all. If there is no connection we can then can conclude how the relationship is truly serving us. Or not serving us.
I am not used to this being vulnerable thing. Remember, I came to view it as a weakness. I became an assumer and assumed that my feelings didn’t matter or that someone else should know how I feel without me saying it. I became an attacker and attacked others for how I was feeling or got angry because I was letting them get to me. I became a judger and judged myself the most because if I felt rejected, I was “stupid” for opening up in the first place. But realizing that I want deep connections, I know that there is no other way than through my vulnerability. Being vulnerable is one of the beginning steps but REMAINING vulnerable is the key to success.
Now when I am in counseling and she asks me how I feel, I consciously think about how I FEEL or felt and express that instead of some long winded story. When I want to send an angry condemning text to my fiance, I’m working on replacing it with my feelings instead. When I am going through WHATEVER I’m going through, I’m working on sharing on my blog, for what it is. It’s important for me to build meaningful connections with people.
It can seem pretty easy (or course only once you actually follow through) to think “I’m gonna be vulnerable in this moment” but its can be gut-wrenching to think “I’m going to continue to be vulnerable even though I just got hurt”. Especially when you’re trying this thing out to see where it takes you. Taking the armor off isn’t easy. It’s heavy and you can’t always do it alone but as you keep going taking off layer after layer, eventually you’ll be fully naked. One of the scariest things in the world and takes lots of strength… But know that being naked is your TRUTH and you’ll comes to be a thousand times stronger then you ever were with that heavy load of crap covering you up. Full expression is your truth. Its how you came into this world. It’s the real you without out the cover-up. Believe it or not, more often than not, people prefer you naked. 😉 When you show you aren’t afraid to be naked you make others feel comfortable with being naked too!
ok, ok enough of the naked analogy before this gets x-rated… but you get the point! So here I am, taking off more layers! It’s gonna be a bumpy ride but those are the most fun right?
My question for you…. How are you allowing others to show up for you? How are you showing up for others? Remember, relationships involve the showing up of TWO (or more) people. Can you take a step and show your vulnerability?
I challenge you to step outside your comfort zone today!
Vulnerability leads to connection. Connections allows us to see we aren’t alone. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and share your thoughts or story in the comments below so that you can open the opportunity for a connection with someone else.