Vulnerability is scary - for all of us!
Let me tell you something ladies, there is no human being on this planet that does not have a fear being vulnerable. The only difference is that some of us have mastered the art of stepping into our vulnerability and we have done it enough times that we are comfortable with being uncomfortable.
When it comes to relationships, vulnerability is one of the most important ingredients that needs to go into the pot.
Most of us think that being vulnerable is only related to your feeling and letting someone in but, true vulnerability is much more than just sharing a few feelings and getting naked in front of someone.
So, what does true vulnerability look like?
Being yourself around the other person without worry, fear of being judged or how overthinking about how the other person sees you
Sharing how you feel about someone
Telling them how they make you feel
Communicating when someone did something that has upset you or that you are uncomfortable with
Allowing someone to be there for you in your times of need/darkest times
Opening up to share your fears, emotions and thoughts with someone
Being comfortable with receiving compliments, gifts or more
Why we need to learn to practice vulnerability?
The first thing I am going to share is perhaps the biggest lesson that I have learned when it comes to vulnerability and that is...
True love, intimacy and deep connection can only be experienced when we are open to being vulnerable.
When we are open to allowing another person to see the rawness of who we are, our fears, the deepest parts of us that we are afraid of because they are too painful, we allow for one thing - HEALING.
Stepping into our vulnerability is a cathartic experience because it allows us to begin trusting, letting someone in, sharing, giving and receiving in love.
Vulnerability allows us to step into the light and heal pain from our past that we have been carrying around with us and labelling "our baggage". I mean, how many times have you thought to yourself, 'I have way too much baggage'? Being vulnerable allows you to stop seeing yourself and your life experiences as a burden and start seeing yourself as a human being that has lived a life, with moments of joy, pain, hurt, trauma and more. It allows you to see yourself from a different perspective and therefore, love yourself.
Vulnerability is where true emotions are felt. Now ladies, emotions are not good or bad and we need to get into the habit to stop labelling them as that. We often hold emotions within us and are afraid to express how we are feeling, to cry, to show our moments of vulnerability because we have labelled it as being weak. Emotions are your strength - they are your guiding force. They light the way for you to show you what needs healing, what gives you happiness, what triggers you and what you do and don't like.
I always suppressed emotion because I thought it showed weakness (that was what I was also taught as a child) and as an 'independent and empowered' woman I didn't want to come across as being weak - I didn't want to be that damsel in distress. I always wanted to come across to others as though I had my sh*t together. I thought that if I showed emotions I would be judged and so I hid it all in a deep, dark corner within me. The thing about emotion is that it is energy in motion. If you trap energy it will build up its resistance, look for a way out and eventually explode - it is a volcano waiting to happen.
That is what happened with me. My trapped emotions showed up in the form of extreme anxiety, depression and codependency and even then I wondered, "why is all of this happening to me?" I circled around that band wagon for almost half my life!!
Why is it challenging for us to be vulnerable?
Most of us see our life out in front of our eyes - we can observe our behaviour, what we think and how we feel but when it comes to understanding why, we have question marks and blank spaces in our mind (lol).
So, let me explain this...
1. Let's travel back in time
Somewhere in your childhood, you have been taught that - showing your emotions, being yourself, sharing how you feel, being too happy, crying or being upset...all have a negative consequence. Your parent may have yelled at you for crying, told that 'big girls don't cry', told you not to be too happy because 'bad' things can happen, you may have grown up in a traumatic environment or you may have been bullied in school or been judged for being yourself.
Whatever the experience, you have been taught that there are negative consequences attached to being and feeling vulnerable. And so, of course we will can't be vulnerable around someone because that is what has been instilled in us - fear. Fear that he may not approve, that he may leave me, I'm not good enough for him, fear of being rejected or perhaps seen as being childish.
2. Your past does not define you
We have all have had our fair share of
heartbreaks, hurt or rejection. It is never a nice thing to go through, I get it. For most of us, we forecast our future relationships based on the ones we have experienced in the past - if you have been rejected once or twice, you begin worrying that it is always going to happen to you and you start projecting something before it has even happened. Well guess what? It happens again, and again. Because that is now what you have set as a standard for yourself and it is now also hard for you to let someone in because you fear being rejected again!
3. Toxic female 'empowerment'
Now ladies, as much as I am a champion and advocate for women's empowerment, there has for many years been a toxic 'empowerment' message being spread across the globe - the idea that as women have have to have it all together, always be strong, always be independent, that we don't need a man. The truth is, we never need a man but we always desire a partner. Embodying a toxic version of what it means to be an empowered woman is just damaging our ability to experience our true femininity. It blocks us from tapping into our feminine energy which, in its natural essence is an energy of surrender. To be able to surrender, we have to trust in our vulnerability.
By embodying toxic versions of what it means to be and feel empowered we block our energy to give and receive love and intimacy and this is where a lot of us start feeling stuck in our relationships!
When I learned how to do this (to surrender), it changed every thing in my life for me. I became present, learned to trust myself more, learned that is is ok to feel vulnerable sometimes, that I will never know everything, I may not always 'look strong' on the outside but that true strength is the one within, I learned how to give and receive, that emotions are my strength and vulnerability my super power!
How can we learn to become more vulnerable?
I understand that becoming more vulnerable is easier said than done. I have walked that walk and it has taken many years of practice for me be able to do this - and even now, it is not always easy. It isn't meant to be easy, but that is the beauty of it!
The starting point for you to begin practising being vulnerable is always going to begin with healing the pain from your past. THAT is what is truly going to hold you back from stepping into the unknown spaces because you are afraid to trust in yourself and, you are afraid to trust in someone else. We have to go into the spaces where the wounds are, face and feel those fears head on - that is the true definition of strength for me because you will never come out of that space the same woman!
It is time to start kindling and nurture a relationship with yourself. You can only be vulnerable with someone else if you have learned how to do it with yourself. The challenging part is not being vulnerable with someone else but being vulnerable with yourself! You have to learn how to get brutally honest with yourself about how you truly feel and what you desire. You cannot share an intimate relationship with someone if you yourself don't know what you want from it, how to give and receive love or be open and vulnerable.
I always say, everything in life starts and ends with you.
Until next time...