September 26, 2013

The Power of Vulnerability.

Photo: Harsha Areti on Pixoto.

This is probably the most important topic of our generation.

Not just my generation, but all generations.

Sure, we can talk about the secret to keeping your lover, how to be a better person, and the utmost feeling of spirituality. But, what is truly at play here is the power of vulnerability.

How many of us show up day after day, without our masks, and bring our true selves to the table? Yes, it is easy to say “I am telling you how I feel,” or “this is who I am,” or better yet “these are my boundaries.” Yet, the biggest misconception regarding vulnerability is you will never be completely open and honest unless you show up day after day, blemishes and all.

Do the work.

I had a bottom of sorts, recently. I wrote about it. I displayed a fear in letting my readers know that not all was well in my world. I might have even spun it in a way that it did not always pertain to me. But, the truth is, I would not write such an article unless I lived it.

Mine was an emotional bottom. It stemmed from having to suck in my pride and admit that I needed to shed some tears, some weighty feelings, and some serious issues with past grief. It all hit me at once. I can’t tell you how thankful I was that it came when it did.

The moment was pivotal.

My man and I were experiencing one growing lesson after another, we were ready to abandon each other in the midst of the discomfort, and then something shifted. We each had our own “aha” moment. We cried. We laughed. We hugged. We questioned it all. We never walked away from that deep-seeded feeling of “I am here and I am listening.” We showed up for each other. It opened the door to greater intimacy and understanding.

No way can there be more love and intimate moments than when you are being vulnerable.

Men aren’t necessarily taught at an early age to be vulnerable. I was taught to stuff my feelings and always put on a happy face. It wasn’t until I met this man who demanded (in his own loving way) that I completely surrender all of me.

I had my mantras every single day: I am joy. I am abundance. I am happiness. I am love. Frankly, I believed it every single day. Miracles happened. I experienced incredible luck and guidance. Yet, something was missing. I still had more vulnerability to uncover, learn and go through. I wasn’t remotely finished with revealing more of me. It has been scary and real and so worth it.

The power of vulnerability sounds like a dirty little word.

When someone we love or are close to is always putting on a happy face, that’s not real. When someone hides their authentic self behind layers of falsehoods and fear and surface behavior, we no longer want to be near them. If we are evolving into more authentic beings, those not being entirely sincere in their humanness are left behind.

I used to be a perfectionist. Everything had to be so perfect. From my house to my job, to my friends, to the food I prepared and right down to how my dog looked. In retrospect, it was pretty sad.

If I had been 100 percent open about what was happening with me during those dark years, I would have scared away half the people I knew. I had to write a book about all my early experiences from childhood until just a few years ago. Once it was published, I felt so naked and raw. I knew I was being judged.

I tried not to care what people thought of me, as the words I spilled onto paper about so many years of my life (lots of humorous moments too!) made its way onto Amazon.com. It was so scary and revealing. But, I had to do it. It was my own catharsis. I felt somewhat courageous in doing so. More than anything, I felt relief.

Now, a year later and I’m going through another layer of vulnerability.

I might have lost some close connections once my book was published, and that’s okay. My only purpose and intent was to give others a reason to have a voice, nothing more. I wanted to give those who read it a chance to be vulnerable and courageous and real.

That is what writing is all about for me. Owning who I am, where I came from, what I went through, how I’m behaving now, what I’m scared of, and how being so open and honest is the right choice to make.

Lose the ego.

It grips you in the most inopportune moments. The ego is nothing more than your fear rearing its ugly head.
We have all experienced insecurity. We all have moments of complete madness and crazy-making. We all have sad moments and a need to cry. We all don’t have the answers to everything.

If you are shouting from the mountain tops just how great you are, prepare to have a safety net because chances are there is a drop waiting to happen. If it does not, you aren’t real.

Why not show the world your absolute everything self? What is there to be afraid of? Judgement? Well, it happens. People judge and people fear and people blame and shame. It’s life.

The best defense in all cases of vulnerability is you yourself knowing that who you show to the Universe is worthy of every ounce of love and happiness.

Even if it takes a long time to get there, straddle the fine line of fear and joy.

If you teeter too far into one side, you’ll know it. One emotion tends to surround the other.

If you fear the inevitable, joy will elude you, and the wallowing in the dark side of the soul is too much.

If you swim too much into joy, there is fear right around the corner telling you that all this joy needs to be tempered or something bad will happen.

It is best to be balanced and real at all times.

When we worry too much about what others think of us, the armor goes up, and we don’t let others in. If we do, chances are they are also well-armored, and who wants to sleep next to someone with that much garb on? Not real.

Be vulnerable.

It is quite possibly the most powerful tool in our multitude of emotions.

We only have about three more months left of 2013. As this year winds down, we owe it to ourselves to bring our true selves to the table-everything, warts and all. We were called to show up this time around.

Let’s not allow any more time slip away before we can dive deep into vulnerability and have this most amazing human emotion of complete emotional nakedness.


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Ed: Catherine Monkman

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