Jumping into Vulnerability

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I regard myself as an independant woman. I look after myself physically, mentally and financially. (I wont go into the state of my finances!). Yet…I love the idea of being looked after. I love the thought of being held and protected by a man and I’m not sure how honest I’m about this? I wonder, as I reach the latter half of my 30’s without having trodden the conventional marriage, children route as of yet, how I may appear to others as a woman and prospective ‘partner’. Strong?..Brave?..Exciting?..Controlling?..or just plain Terrifying!

I like to portray myself as being totally together. I have my own business, I travel regularly, I’m prepared to and am excited by the idea of evolving as a woman and human being. Others may look at what I ‘present’ and believe Im there…I’m sorted…I know exactly how to navigate my life. But heres the thing…sometimes, I just don’t know what to do. I can’t hold myself up and keeping up the pretence of being ‘sorted’ is exhausting! I rarely raise my hand and ask for help and if I do I feel shame around it. Am I the only person who feels this way? I’ll take a wild guess at no.

Why is it we feel we cannot be seen as exactly who we are? That is being totally honest and vulnerable?

My belief is that we feel like…if people see us for who we are…exactly who we are…they will judge us and even reject us. So we build walls. Big ones!

If I was to write ‘Sophies Bio’ as I would like to be seen…I would probably only mention the amazing, inspiring parts of my life. In fact I wrote one recently…and honestly, I wish I was me! I only showed my best bits though..my ‘show reel’. Yes life is great, I am passionate about living fully, my work, inspiring others. But there was definately no mention of feeling lost at times, feeling so lonely it is painful, seeking validitation from others. I’m not saying we should confess this on our job applications and CV’s..however…what about in our daily life? What is the cost of editing ourselves this way? Showing only the presentable, neat parts of ourselves.

I believe by doing this we loose connection…not only with authentic selves but with the people around us. In my experience my most enriching conversations/connections with friends are the ones where one or both of us fess up. Admit we are scared, nervous, feeling unworthy. We can support each other in these times. We can learn about ourselves. We can maybe even help others.

Brene Brown carried out a study on ‘The Power of Vulnerability’. Her Ted talk went viral in 2010. If you have yet to see her talk I encourage you to do so. She challenges our belief that sharing vulnerability equals weakness. In fact daring to bare can feel truly liberating and powerful.

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So…how do we begin to explore and get friendly with this aspect of ourselves? Well first we have to notice we have these feelings at all. Hopefully if you are reading this blog you have already discovered this. When we notice these feelings come up what are our coping stratagies? How do we numb the pain? Drinking, eating, social media, retail therapy, sex.

“Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.” – Eckhart Tolle

Can we..instead of rejecting the feeling or covering it up…sit with it…make friends with it. Even if its just a minute longer before we pick up our I Phone or get on Facebook?. I love how Louis C K talks about this subject.

Tibetan Nun, Author and Teacher Pema Chodron teaches Thong Lin Meditation where we breath in suffering either our own or others and breath out relief. We can use our own pain or the pain of others as a subject. So instead of fighting the feeling were actually breathing it in.

If any of this rings true to you (or not!). Id love to hear from you. Have you started to show up ‘as you are’ in your life? Please share your experiences/thoughts/questions. As I said this is something I’m working on and I definatley don’t have all the answers. But I do know that by becoming friends with all aspects of ourselves, loving all that we are (our dark and light) and showing up genuinely in the world we live. We stand a much better chance of connecting with others and sharing this crazy life journey…which is all that counts in my book!