Right now, as I struggle to find what I want to be the ‘right’ words for this blog post, I’m feeling pretty vulnerable. That’s because, there’s a part of me that knows if I don’t find the right words, and write the perfect post, I will hear familiar voices in my head.
“Is that correct grammar? I’m not sure. Yeah, it is, it’s fine. Uhm, maybe I should find a copywriter. But, what will they think?”
“Okay Sandra, don’t publish it. Don’t let anyone see it. Don’t let anyone see you!”
This is my encounter with vulnerability; feeling shy, hesitant and exposed.
Being Vulnerable Hurts Sometimes
The truth is, vulnerability does make you more susceptible to hurt, heartbreak and disappointment, there’s no getting around that. But when you shut down the possibility of being vulnerable, you can’t experience the joy and pleasure of life or be our authentic self because we shut down those things too. Everything gets shut down.
Being vulnerable means allowing ourselves to be genuinely seen, all parts of us including our limitations and weaknesses.
Having limitations is part of the human experience.
So, being imperfect and human are you still deserving of love, kindness and compassion?
Of course, you are.
That all sounds great, doesn’t it? But our ego tells us otherwise. That little voice in your head doesn’t put limitations and love together.
How do you trust that when all of you is seen, warts and all, that you are still good enough and deserving of that love, kindness and compassion?
On Being Vulnerable
As much as we try to guard and protect ourselves, we all experience vulnerability how matter how hard we try to avoid it.
Life will throw things at you which will plunge you into a place of vulnerability. Relationships are particularly useful and doing that.
You may feel vulnerable when you:
- Are uncertain whether you want to leave a relationship and feel heavy-hearted and afraid
- Are unsure if your partner wants to go you and you feel bewildered and terrified
- Want to ask for help when you are concerned about how you are being treated in a relationship but feel ashamed and anxious
- Are under the threat of losing your home or job and feel overwhelmed and helpless
- Notice you are always the first to say ‘I love you’ and fear that you are not loved in return.
- Are not used to doing it, naming any feeling expressing an unmet need. You’re of scared that you will be rejected or not understood.
Being vulnerable can feel unsafe.
The Vulnerable Inner Child
When you feel unsafe, being vulnerable plunges you into a place of feeling like a child.
And there’s a reason for that. Children are often shamed when feeling vulnerable and expressing difficult feelings such as sadness, distress, anger, hurt or depression. Parents who don’t know how to communicate and process their feelings often shut their children’s feeling down because they don’t know what to do with them.
You might have heard messages such as ‘don’t be so silly’, or ‘if you cry I’ll give you something to cry for’ or punished if you were angry. Over time, and if repeated such messages are deeply confusing, damaging and wounding. And as a result, you learn to be cautious with your vulnerable feelings with others to protect yourself.
This may mean you try to always be in control, avoiding intimacy and pretending that everything is okay.
In our adult lives, vulnerability means re-opening an emotional wound. That’s why it’s such a struggle to be seen in our vulnerability. It’s painful. And it’s understandable that we don’t rush to do that.
Strength in Vulnerability
Over the years, when I see clients in my counselling practice, I am always profoundly moved by how difficult it is for them to be seen in their vulnerability. They may lower their heads, use humour to deflect, blush or sometimes not turn up to sessions at all.
At the same time, my heart is touched by their courage. I see courageous people in my counselling practice every day. Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness; it’s a sign of strength. Authentically engaging with what is difficult, taking a risk and using it as a gift to promote personal growth takes courage.
So how do you trust that when all of you is seen, warts and all, that you are still good enough and deserving of that love, kindness and compassion? The first step is to cultivate these qualities for yourself. Look inside and not out. Trust you.
Showing your vulnerability to someone you trust, such as a reliable friend or counsellor, gently and safely, allows you to experience something different.
Here’s the Truth
Brene Brown writes that there is no intimacy without vulnerability. The vulnerability is what connects you, at a deeper level, to others and help you feel less alone.
When you allow yourself to risk to be seen fully, your imperfections and all, you open yourself to receive the same from others. It’s the only authentic way to live. You open yourself to joy, creativity, love, tenderness, gratitude, empathy and connection.
The possibilities are endless!
Over To You
How difficult do find it to show your vulnerability? How is this getting in the way of you being in deep connection with others? What do you imagine would happen if you were vulnerable? Counselling is a safe space where your vulnerability can be explored. If you want to explore how shame shows up in your life get in touch and book your first counselling appointment.
Or call me today on 07535 864836.
Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Sandra Harewood
Soul Centred couples counsellor Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and single women with childhood wounding that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore and discover creative solutions to their difficulties and create great relationships.
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