What I learned about being vulnerable

2019 was a year of ups and downs and lots of flows. It was a year filled with honestly some of the craziest stuff I have ever encountered. I felt a ton of rejection, more than ever (in multiple ways) and I had to learn to be the most vulnerable human I ever thought I could be.

In 2018, I shared a lot how that was the most challenging year for me and honestly I wouldn’t replay that year ever. So for 2019 I told myself it was going to be my year. I was going to change a lot with my health, friendships, career and more but it gave me a lot more than I expected in so many beautiful ways. But that is another post…for another day.

Today I want to speak on vulnerability.

Brene Brown defines vulnerability as “the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.” In her Daring Greatly book, Brené Brown describes vulnerability as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” It’s that unstable feeling we get when we step out of our comfort zone or do something that forces us to loosen control.

Whew, Brene said it pretty damn well.

This year I felt exactly how it was explained: uncertain, risky and emotional.

And normally I have always felt as though showing this was a showcase of weakness as many do. However, if we think of times that we have felt vulnerable or emotionally exposed, we actually remember many times where it took great courage. A LOT OF COURAGE.

I knew if I wanted to grow in 2019, I had to grow in my own journey with being vulnerable but I guess part of me didn’t really understand what that was actually going to mean.

Many times all of us wake up and become ready to guard ourselves from anything that would cause shame, fear, weakness, uncertainty or anxiety. It is usually because we are striving to be perfect (whatever that actually means!), numbing the pain or trying to avoid anything that would disrupt joy (like anything that could go wrong!)…. do any of those sound familiar to you?

I know them all to well – even when it is hard to admit myself.

When we arm ourselves with these feelings every morning, we feel as though it will make us safe, save us from hurt and we feel in control….but truly what we are doing is more harm than good.

What we don’t realize is without vulnerability, there is no love, no belonging, and no joy.

I learned the following about being vulnerable:

  1. It is hard, really hard: but…so worth it! Opening up and letting your guard down takes small steps each and every week..but with each step, you learn to grow and let a piece of you shine. And from experience I promise it is worth it.
  2. I cry a lot more than normal: Well….here is the thing, when you become vulnerable, you feel emotions you have been holding back. I cried over a relationship ending, I cried at a SLB event, I cried over rejection (it happens!) and more. It actually was something I shouldn’t have held back on for so long, it was cleansing and really helped me let go of a lot I was holding in.
  3. The risk sometimes doesn’t go as planned: Ha! Why do we always think we can plan stuff? By being vulnerable you open up so many doors, wounds and more. Sometimes when you are open, you can think it will go just exactly how you want but more times than not – it doesn’t. However what I learned what that being vulnerable meant I left it all on the table and was not short of me…and that is something I can look back at even when things didn’t go well and be happy about.
  4. People will be there for you through it all, if you let them be: I teach, I help people and I am there for others. Throughout the past couple of years those close to me have been going through LOTS therefore with my personality, I want nothing more than to pour my love into them. But when it comes to me, it has always been hard. 2019 I let people in to see me at my most vulnerable…you know that uncontrollable cry or that need to just need people around you? Yeah I needed that, I probably did for years – but letting people get close to me, opened me up to allow others to love me like I love them…and boy it has been beautiful.
  5. It isn’t a sign of weakness: For so long I felt as though it meant I was weak if I was vulnerable with people but what I learned what it opened up new relationships and understanding than ever before.
  6. Respect for myself and who I am: I grew to respect myself more than ever before. I grew to be honest with my own needs, my self-worth and let go of things that didn’t do this for me.
  7. Putting yourself out there is truly beautiful even though it can be scary: Rejection is scary, its a fear we all try to avoid but when you let go of thinking of all the bad outcomes, you are opened to new beautiful things that would never have been discovered.

Here are some things to keep in mind as you practice “daring greatly” in your own life:

  • Recognize that facing vulnerability takes enormous courage. Take small steps (like asking someone what they are thinking) and be proud of your bravery when you do.
  • Let go of the constant worry about what other people think of you. Most people are focused on their own internal struggles, not you.
  • Feeling overwhelmed? Focus your attention gently on your breath and the sensations in your body for a few moments before returning your attention back to the task at hand.
  • Don’t worry about being perfect-in fact, don’t even consider it. No one is perfect, and the more you hold yourself to an impossible ideal, the more easily you will give up.

I challenge you to really grow in vulnerability because it truly is beautiful!

Check out my video with Libby Rapin on vulnerability