How often do we allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable?
How often do we feel, and I mean truly feel our emotions? And why are we so scared to express these emotions and speak our truth? In reality most people believe vulnerability is a sign of weakness. However, I have learnt through my life experiences that vulnerability is our greatest strength. Dr Brené Brown spent years researching shame, vulnerability and courage. She established that “those people who fully embrace vulnerability talk about it being necessary, believing that what makes them vulnerable also makes them beautiful.”
When interviewed by Dr Brown, these same people explain that vulnerability to them is the “willingness to say I love you first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees, the willingness to breathe through waiting for the Doctor to call after a mammogram, and to be willing to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.”
Personally, vulnerability is saying I love you, unsure if I will hear it back.
It's remaining calm while I wait to find out whether my premature baby has brain damage. Vulnerability is unwillingly saying goodbye to my three-year-old son from my bed in intensive care, not knowing when or if I will ever see him again. It's lying on the Doctor's couch having an ultrasound, excitedly waiting to see my baby's heartbeat, but for the third time in eighteen months hearing that my baby has died. Vulnerability is being willing to find hope and pick myself up again, believing that one day I will hold another baby in my arms. It's holding my Grandmother's hand as she takes her last breath. Vulnerability is moving to the other side of the world to start a new life and trusting that everything will work out. As a very blessed mother of three beautiful children, my biggest vulnerability in life is seeing them cry, realising that I am unable to protect my children from all their pain, the list goes on.
I am not unique, these are human experiences that so many of us go through at some point in our lives, and every one of us has our story to tell.
So why are we so afraid to share our pain, to ask for help, to allow others in and to be vulnerable?
As a professional Healer, I care for others and help people work through their troubles and pain. I'm very happy and blessed to be able to do this. I love that my clients and friends share their problems with me. I have always considered myself to be a very open person. However two years ago, a close friend opened my eyes to the fact that I tended to deal with my problems privately and then share them with those around me after the event. When I reflected on this, I realised I had seldom truly put my heart on the line and expressed myself completely to others during difficult times when ironically I needed to the most.
So recently, for the first time, I did what I am asking you to do. When confronted with the sad news that my dad's health is rapidly deteriorating, I realised two things. Firstly that not only have I never had the relationship with my father that I would have liked, but now unfortunately I never will. So as I emotionally prepare myself to return home to England to introduce my father to my baby girl and also to say goodbye, I have begun to express my emotions and pain to my friends. I have allowed myself to be truly vulnerable; I have allowed my friends to see me, the real me. The biggest lesson has been the realisation that there is no judgement from my friends, only judgement from myself. Simply by letting others in when I have needed it the most, by receiving their love and hugs, I have started to move through the pain more easily and much quicker. Don't get me wrong, it still hurts, but I know I won't carry the burden of my grief for as long.
To allow ourselves to be truly vulnerable, we need to feel our emotions and talk about how we are feeling.
We need to be prepared to let others in and walk towards those things that make us feel vulnerable, rather than away from them. Doing this not only starts to soften the pain, but it also lessens the time it takes us to heal. Facing our greatest challenges and vulnerabilities in life ultimately also leads to our personal growth and often enables us to receive our biggest blessings, though we cannot always see this at the time. After many years, I have eventually realised that being vulnerable is the only way to embrace life fully.