Do you have moments where you know if you changed your tune or listened a little longer instead of reacting the situation might have gone differently? Have you found yourself defensive or quick to dismiss others? What about keeping metaphorical and energetic walls up because to be seen and heard is too intimidating? When we speak our truth, open ourselves up, actively listen and truly share from the depths of what we know to be our truth and others, it may feel like someone has sucked the air out of the room or a welcomed invigorating release.
In most cases, it allows others to bring down their energetic walls and their ego. Vulnerability acts as a catalyst for understanding and may potentially lead to reconciliation.
Vulnerability as quoted from THE vulnerability researcher Brene Brown “is not winning or losing, it’s having the courage to show up even when you can’t control the outcome”.
Simply, humans want certainty and control. We want to know what will happen even if it is not in our favor, but we want certainty that it will be in our favor. We cannot have either, truly.
In moments where you open up to loved ones about a heavy subject or your truth about a topic – you don’t know the outcome for fear of it being rejected, dismissed or potentially making matters worse. What is WORSE is internalizing it and letting it fester. This could be with any one of your relationships, but it is sometimes the people closest to us including ourselves that get hurt and effected the most.
According to this infographic from Funders & Founders, it is estimated we interact with about 80,000 people in a lifetime. Whether it is more or less, it’s worth reflecting on how do you show up in your interactions with others? Are you defensive and stand-offish? Do you feel authentic in your interactions? What about to the people who are closest to us? Looking back to our upbringing and guardians, parents who raised us, we may find our root causes of being guarded, with holding our voice, and putting up literal and metaphorical walls since then , or moments in between childhood and adulthood that we experienced.
Many times, trauma, abuse, perceived wrongs can have you telling the same story and projecting your fear of being hurt from the past into the future, so that you avoid getting too close to others. However, MANY times it is the breakthrough that is needed to: meet new people, cultivate a healthy relationship with your family, create much needed boundaries with your co-parent or tell your friend about how a particular incident made you feel.
Cultivating vulnerability in your relationships may first start with accepting that we all have issues, wounds, perceived flaws and contradictions, and habits that may be less than perfect. The following tips may assist you in unblocking what feels stuck and moving you and others into a space where walls are lowered to see and hear one another.
To be vulnerable, open and share what we are feeling we need to first understand and reflect within ourselves and know ourselves. Other supportive figures in your life may assist you in coming to that understanding through talking it out.
Without falling over emotional walls with others, we first need to understand what we’re feeling, so that we may articulate and express ourselves as accurately. Points to review and consider:
1. Know yourself
Become more aware of what triggers an emotional response or causes you to shut down or have a strong emotional reaction.
Write daily journal prompts of what triggered you and how you thought/ reacted in that moment and after. This will help you to look at those thoughts and see them on a paper in the light of day. Have grace with yourself.
2. Start slow
Ask questions to understand instead of riding the wave of adrenaline defensiveness and ego that can shut a situation down or escalate it.
3. Lean into intuition
Don't think when to be vulnerable, feel it. Usually, the feeling of wanting to share will come up and tell you. The next step: Do you feel you should share in the moment? or do you know and feel it would be better later?
Do be careful of feeding into any trauma responses when thinking about whether to share or not. Feel into your first heart instinct. Additionally, are you sharing and responding reactively or thoughtfully?
4. Share your fears
Depending on your circumstances and the people you are conversing with, share even if you believe your fears are irrational. It clears up misunderstanding and feelings that may impact your responses and reactions.
5. Ask for what you need
Asking for what you need from your relationships gives those an active choice to do so. Your needs are your boundaries. Whether in your personal or professional relationships when you don't state a boundary and it's crossed, tension or resentment usually ensues. You need to communicate those needs. Does that mean that everyone will abide by them? Absolutely not. Depending on your situation and individuals involved, it would be in your best interest to leave where boundaries will not be respected.
If you struggle with believing if you should honor your higher self or are having trouble tapping within, you will find those answers inward. I honestly believe nobody knows you better and more than you do. If you need assistance diving into that process, A trusted licensed therapist or healer is also recommended.
Empowered Vulnerability by: Andrew Norris