I’ve been thinking on the concept of vulnerability for a few weeks now. If you’ve read Brene Brown’s ‘Daring Greatly,’ she goes into a lot of detail around why allowing ourselves to be vulnerable in our relationships, though scary, is the ultimate in transcendence and connection and meaning.
My spiritual coach always quotes Brene’s, “Shame can’t survive being spoken.” In other words, when we feel shameful, calling it out or exposing it–putting ourselves in a vulnerable position–is what dissipates the energy or urgency or fearfulness around it.
But yo. Making ourselves vulnerable or putting ourselves on the chopping block or opening ourselves up for others’ judgment or input is really fucking scary! Because I don’t know about you, but when I put myself out there and someone calls me on it, or judges me, or doesn’t expose themselves equally too, and instead tells me, “Yeah, you are like that!” I want to reel it in (and cuss them out!). I want to go back to hiding behind my insecurities, ha!
So, it’s hard, and that’s why it’s a practice.
For me, another word for vulnerability is self-trust.
I’ve talked a lot about that at JillFit, and it’s the trust you put in yourself to handle whatever transpires as a result of you just showing up authentically as you in the world.
Self-trust is showing up in your life with your likes, dislikes, preferences, desires, wants, needs, hopes, dreams, lines in the sand, insecurities on full display and letting the chips fall where they may in terms of other people’s responses and reactions and acceptance (or not).
This is really scary because what if we’re rejected? What if people don’t approve? What if they feel hurt, betrayed, angry, unloved, threatened, etc., as a result of us making choices based solely on what we want? We’ll have to deal with all of those negative emotions and man, those are uncomfortable and scary!
Totally. That’s why self-trust (or vulnerability) is so hard to do in practice.
We “get it” when we read about it, but when the rubber meets the road, what do we choose to do? Do we choose to show up as is and let the chips fall? Or do we edit and censor and appease and conform and pretend and compromise and hide behind our insecurities? Or … do we cop to it all?
So hard, right?
But I want to convince you that self-trust is the key to emotional freedom. When you are operating with the freedom to show up how you are, it’s not nearly as scary as you might think, because all experiences and outcomes–good, bad, scary, easy, uncomfortable, effortless, smooth, messy, whatever–are useful to teach you that all will be fine in the end, that you can handle it, whatever “it” is. Promise.
Your choice lies in your ability to see growth potential in ANY outcome and then actually desire to get those lessons so much that censoring your true self is no longer an option.
Here are a few things that happen when you quit second-guessing everything, stop taking everyone’s potential reactions into account and start trusting yourself fully:
- You see that what you thought you were scared of happening doesn’t come to fruition.
- And even if it does, you can handle it. You can get through it. You can figure it out. You are stronger than you ever thought possible.
- You embrace the journey and stop trying to predict the outcome or skip to the finish. You become a professional observer with constant awareness.
- You stop trying to control everything and everyone, and start being open to many different scenarios.
- You quit judging yourself for not being “perfect” and start giving yourself the benefit of the doubt.
- You begin to have perspective and don’t need to have ALL THE RESULTS RIGHT NOW. You realize that you have your entire life to work through it all.
- You realize that those who don’t or can’t accept you “as is” aren’t really meant to be in our life anyway.
- Likewise, you start to expect less from others, too, and don’t need people to “get you.”
- You don’t take it personally when relationships don’t work out because you realize it’s not an “I’m good and they’re bad” or “I’m right and they’re wrong” scenario–it just is what it is and it’s all perfectly fine.
- You see that everyone is just doing the best they can, as are you.
- You trust that whatever happens has a potential lesson in it for you — good, bad, painful, easy, happy, sad, effortless, tough.
- And you begin to look forward to those lessons — you seek them out!
- Leaning in to the struggle becomes easier because you know that all outcomes offer the chance to grow, change and improve.
- Vulnerability becomes second nature because the more you practice exposure, the more you see that no one can ever hurt you more than you can hurt yourself when you hide behind your insecurities.
- You’re forced to get 100% honest with yourself, and this includes calling yourself out for the ways in which you feel not good enough. You come face to face with your insecurities.
- Once you get honest with yourself, you accept nothing less than complete honesty in your relationships, too.
- You see that telling the truth in all things is the key to deeper meaning, connection and trust. And it’s no longer scary, but liberating.
- Your relationships become effortless because there are no secrets and no surprises.
- And you can rest easy knowing that the people in your life know and accept “the real you.” No more pretending.
- Other people will leave your life. This is actually a good thing, because they better off too, because now they get to seek out and spend time with the people who they are completely in line with. Self-trust is an automatic and perfect sorting system. Everyone gets to spend time with the exact people with whom they relate.
- Practicing self-trust requires you know YOU. And when you work to know yourself, you can get consciously better at living in your integrity.
- In practicing vulnerability, you realize you are ultimately better off — whether the outcome is easy OR the outcome is tough — because you realize how strong you actually are.
Where are you with this stuff? Are you at the intellectual level where you “get it” but have a hard time implementing? Or are you slowly allowing others to see you, experience you as you are, and watching what happens?
It’s a practice. And the experiential part happens when we actually do when the rubber meets the road–what we choose to do, say and be when the moment arises that we have the opportunity to trust ourselves, trust the process and show our vulnerability.
Think on it. Try it on. Do your best.
Some tweetables for you: