A while ago I was confronted and someone told me that I struggle with vulnerability and that person wasn’t lying, I do struggle with it. I do not like to be vulnerable. I’m often not vulnerable. I was one of those people who you would feel very connected to but know nothing about and I liked it that way. But I realized it was costing me a lot. It was costing me deep connections and sisterly bonds. I wasn’t allowing myself to love or be loved properly. I would meet wonderful people, but it wouldn’t go beyond surface level. So, I had to teach myself to trust myself & learn how to be vulnerable & I will teach you some tools I learned along the way.
This episode is for…..people who struggled with trusting themselves after a difficult breakup. Those who experience a traumatic heartbreak often forego vulnerability because they suspect vulnerability is the cause of their immense pain. It is for Children of terrible caretakers, where they want to be vulnerable but struggle because they never felt safe nor had a space where they knew they were loved unconditionally.
When you decide to be vulnerable you should plan like you do everything else. This plan helps you understand yourself. It helps you define your boundaries. It also helps you define your markers of success.
So how do you plan for vulnerability:
· You understand pain with a proper framework
· You understand the source of your pain
· You understand vulnerability
· You know when and what to share?
· what to keep to yourself?
· Finally, how to erect firm boundaries.
Pain is inevitable. It is essential like air. It is what make the sweet moments sweeter. It also informs you on what you need to work on. What prolongs emotional pain according to Dr. Steven Stosny are, “repetitive memories, which, ironically, evolved to keep us safe in the future.” It is an evolutionary trait; however, misused it causes immense pain. What I mean by misused is when you are constantly looking at the past to find new ways to be upset with yourself-you’ve mis used it. If you are looking at the past to make yourself wrong, bad, or asinine- you are misusing it. When you’ve used your idle time to replay the past to make yourself feel the same way you felt in that moment- you’ve mis-used it. There are better ways to understand your past, be vulnerable, and still feel protected.
Your past and pain
Your past is a moment. When you look back, you do so for direction. You see where you were flexible with your boundaries. You see where you may have overlooked red flags. You ask yourself what made me bypass that? Was it loneliness? Was I trying to prove my worthiness? Meaning if this person liked me, then it meant something good about me. Was I trying to rewrite the story my caretakers gave me? The story of me being bad, ungrateful, unworthy, or useless? Am I trying to rewrite their story through my actions? Meaning, if my mother was a single mother, I am hurriedly and anxiously tying not to be? Was I trying to achieve certain life goals to make everyone comfortable? Meaning, if you were married by now your friend and family would not be concerned for you. Did you truly believe this was the only opportunity for romantic love? Meaning, out of several billion people you truly believed you had one shot with this person who offered nothing? Or you all were incompatible? Ask yourself what are you doing with your pain? Are you weaponizing it against yourself as proof you deserve the shit end of the stick? Pain always points, so look at where it is pointing towards, grieve, and construct a boundary.
Next, understand the purpose of your armor. It was there to protect you when you had no boundaries. It was there to protect you when you had no tools. This episode will provide you with both so that you can take that armor off and experience the full range of humanity.
Next point what is vulnerability?
Emotional vulnerability as defined by Brene Brown as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure” (2012). It is an act that is extremely courageous and nearly everyone struggles with-especially me.
Emotional vulnerability is vital because it leads to gentleness. When we allow for emotional vulnerability, we feel the anxiety, we know the risk , and we know the stakes. So we give ourselves compassion and grace. When we see someone else be emotionally vulnerable, we recognize that boldness and as a result we tend to be kind, more patient, and more understanding because we know how fearful it can be for us. When two people allow space for their authentic self to show up, there can only be one result, a deeper and gentler bond. And that is what you want! You want to be your authentic self and you want others to be that too !
So, when should you share yourself?
You should always share yourself. Always, always, always be yourself. If you have a funny story, share it. If you relate, share it. If you understand, share it. Been there, share it. People deserve to know who you are. What you are. Why not allow folks to experience the star that is you? Why not allow people to bear witness to you! You are charismatic, friendly, humorous, intelligent, well-rounded. When people meet you, they leave feeling good about themselves. Why not?!
When you are at your job, on a date, or are meeting new people its ok to share baseline information. Meaning its ok to chime in with a funny story, situation, and show your personality. However, these people have not shown you their character yet and what they have shown you is typically their representative. It is the best of themselves and not who they are when they are not thinking.
So questions to ask yourself before you decide to be vulnerable:
· what is appropriate for this situation?
· Have they proven to be trustworthy?
· What questions are they asking me?
· Are they sensible ones?
· What knowledge does that give them?
· Can they sense my personality, character, or interest through these questions?
· are they inquiring for other reasons?
You don’t have to be suspicious, but you should be aware. Instead of bonding mindlessly and hurting yourself becaus