I'm not always willing to be vulnerable. Sometimes I clam up so tightly that no one can see inside and I portray being fine and I need to be alone. Other times, when I feel my edges soften and I can recognize my own humanness, I can step into my own sore spots and share them with others and this increases connection and leaves me feeling less alone in my journey.
A few moments cropped up over the past few weeks where I was both willing and unwilling to be vulnerable and the feelings surrounding the circumstances were met well when I opened myself up. I don't think it's always appropriate or even safe to reveal ourselves always, but when the circumstances and timing are right, they are really right. Vulnerability builds trust.
Somehow I have this 'I can do it myself' mentality. This could be a product of my being first born of three girls or becoming emotionally aware or mature at an early age and therefore adult-ized by the age of 12. It could also be my stubbornness...but more likely it is my shame. It was easy to not feel any of this shame when I was working for someone else more regularly....when more of my life and schedule were not up to me to decide...but, nowadays, it feels harder to hide my fears of failure and even rejection. I'm trying things and needing to rely on myself more...which means that more comes up.
I know that it is not helpful for me to wall up because I'm too scared to let people see the messy parts. That I'm afraid of my parents getting older. That I'm afraid of situations that I feel like I have little/no control over. That I am nervous about becoming successful (whatever that means at any given moment). That I am lonely sometimes and crave connection so badly but am sometimes fearful of it. It doesn't help to always keep those things to myself...so this blog is one way to reveal things about my process, but I also had a few affirming interactions this week that helped me feel that vulnerability is beautiful.
A dear friend and I (this relationship I care about SO deeply) had a miscommunication or a misunderstanding or I don't know....maybe I just miss her or was projecting. I wanted to tell her that I missed her but I could feel myself walling up, thinking....I don't need anyone, I can do it by myself, I am capable...etc. etc....which was only coming from a place of self-protection and potentially just that I missed days when we could just enter each other's across the hall rooms in the morning and walk to kitchen together to make coffee....life changes and so do circumstances and friendships. Sometimes my stubbornness wants connections to stay the same and my fears of abandonment pop up.
After lots of skirting around and saving face, I eventually softened and revealed the truth which was that I MISS HER. We got to spend some quality time together this past weekend and it helped me see that even though circumstances have changed, the love and connection for one another is still the same and very much in tact. Just tell people how you feel....it's a reminder to myself.
Another opportunity to be vulnerable happened with a new co-worker. We shared in a very safe space with one another present-focused feelings we were having...in the moment, slowed down. "I feel intimidated by you..." "I feel like I want to impress you..." "You are already impressive to me." The mirroring and open dialogue felt real and important...and something I had not done previously but I was relieved and glad for the opportunity to be so open. It inspires me to be more open in my communication with others...to know that I can...that it is possible. To share myself...even the messy parts.
AND a women's gathering on Friday night where we offered bits and pieces of ourselves. I won't reveal too much here, for the sake of confidentiality...but the essence of the experience was total raw and real honesty. "I am comparing myself to everyone in this room..." was uttered allowed...and the curtain of perfectionism was immediately lowered and I was humbled. So, So humbled. Before arriving, I had texted my friends "I'm really nervous about going to this gathering with a bunch of women I don't know....what if they judge me?" Not only did they receive me and each other with warmth and acceptance...it turns out that we were all in agreement about this fear. Will they judge me? Will they accept me? Will they like me?
And so, here I am....with a willingness to be a bit more vulnerable when it feels safe and appropriate. To discovering more about myself with love and openness. To work through shame I have about my body, being a woman, numbers, money, directions, my messiness, my sometimes forgetfulness and lack of organizational skills and sometimes when words get stuck in my throat. Willingness is a good thing and I do believe that I am exactly where I need to be in my journey at this point. Perfectly imperfect.
Till next week,