Vulnerability is a scary, scary thing for most people, including myself. For some, sharing feelings, thoughts, and emotions comes easy–for others, the process can be downright terrifying.
To me, vulnerability feels disruptive. It creates holes in the facade that I have created for myself–you know, the one where I smile and fake it, and show everyone how perfect everything is–including me.
It creates a deep sense of fear–a desire to just run from the situation–or do whatever I can to diffuse it. Maybe it means I tell a joke–poke fun at myself and change the topic. Maybe it means that I go quiet and stop participating in a conversation. It looks different, on the outside, depending on the social context.
But. On the inside? It feels the same. My heart beats faster. My ears start pounding. Bravery starts to bubble up and then the fear squashes it right back down.
If you look into my eyes? You will see it. (And I don’t want you to see it.)
Being vulnerable requires courage–bravery–strength.
Safety and connection.
Things that I, on a daily basis, struggle with.
Therapy has forced me to take steps into vulnerability. And I have.
But there is so much farther to go.
Learning to let go of the fears–the judgement, the abandonment, the criticism, the disappointment, from others? That feels, at times, so, so impossible.
I have that pleaser personality. I am a perfectionist. I want other people to feel comfortable and happy, not concerned or uncomfortable because I am secretly not okay.
I can’t find the balance–how much is too much to share? Who is it safe to share it with? What if there is nobody I can tell?
This–this is why my therapist is so very important to me. She is my safe person. But, lately, I have been trying to give myself permission to just accept my feelings. Last night, I found myself feeling all of those sad, lonely feelings and, predictably, I had a strong desire to reach out and just know that someone could hear me.
But, I didn’t. Instead, I told myself that I was tired. I hadn’t slept well the night before. These feelings always show their faces on days like this. I would feel better in the morning.
I went to bed. I fought the urge. I felt proud, in a sense, that I didn’t reach out…that I wasn’t too needy.
But, I also felt sad. Unheard. Lonely.
Vulnerability–it brings back my inner child. The little girl, sitting on the ground, hugging her knees with her eyes clenched shut. To say what I feel, to expose myself to the possibility of….SOMETHING…it is the equivalent of that little girl, opening her eyes wide and inviting the scary, terrifying world back in.
When she is sitting on the ground, eyes shut, hugging herself? That is safe.
It might be limited. But it can be controlled.
It might be lonely. But it is known.
Within it exists the potential for everything. Anything. Wonderful, wonderful things…or awful, soul rocking things.
Finding the strength to lay all of that on the line?