How vulnerable are you really?
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 vulnerable.
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.