Have you ever met someone who seems to express a lot
of drama and emotion, and they seem VERY vulnerable?
They share a lot about their past and their pain. Isn't that
vulnerable? We may think so at first glance.
I'm a big proponent of feeling our feelings, and so when I
witness others crying and expressing what they think and
feel, I'm tempted to believe they are being authentic and
But what I've learned is that this is just another subconscious
way to protect our heart, especially if we have a high drama
need. When we are truly vulnerable,there will be a true
humility and willingness to shift and move past the addiction
to pain and suffering.
The tears and drama and getting upset can be a road block
to letting others close to our true heart. The drama is a metaphor
that sends the signal, "STOP! Don't get too close to my heart or I'll
have to rage or even throw a tantrum. I want you to think that I'm
too much, that I will overwhelm you."
An interaction like this may hurt and shock the person on the
receiving end, leaving them scratching their heads in bewilderment
and indeed thinking this person is over-the-top. And although their
energy is a lot, it's all a self-protection mechanism.
What is true vulnerability? Dr. Brene' Brown, well-respected
shame researcher and vulnerability expert, defines it as
"Uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure."
Just as I've been realizing how little I was willing to really
feel my feelings, but instead numb my pain, I am learning
how I haven't been that vulnerable in my writing, speaking
and relationships overall.
I've worn a mask of invincibility, that covered up my feelings.
I've been a master at deflection and minimizing my emotions,
unbeknownst to me. I guess I wasn't ready to see this until now.
Here is a simple visual example: I feel overweight, and I really
feel uncomfortable if my husband, Steve, tries to lift me. So
if he should have the courage to try and lift me, I immediately
squat to the floor so I make it really hard for him to move me.
This is self-protection because I don't want him to think I'm fat
because that makes me feel ashamed. To be vulnerable, I'd let him
lift me up and feel the shame and discomfort of my heaviness.
Shame isn't the thing to be suspicious of or think is weak. It's the
hiding of our shame that we need to be cautious about. This
cover up scheme will leave us feeling hurt, defeated, rejected,
small, and unlovable. The shame will dig its heels in deeper when
not acknowledged and owned.
What can we do? I'm just getting as real with myself as possible.
When we do this, we can truly connect with others. The less self-
deceived I am, the more I can help myself and others.
Try it for yourself. Make yourself uncomfortable. When we begin
practicing vulnerability, we will feel uncertain, emotionally exposed,
and like we're taking a risk. We will feel weak, but remember it's
our weakness, not our strength, that connects us. And we are all
good eggs, no matter how many cracks we have!
To our vulnerable hearts (much love to you),
PS: Are you ready for something different? I know I am. I am
ready to embrace life in all its "ugliness and messiness," and
therefore none of it is to be avoided.
PSS: Please ask me about the monthly Frontier to Freedom:
Feeling Your Feelings workshop offered on second Thursday
of each month (next one is 8/10) if you enjoyed this article.
Just reply to this email.