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Being Vulnerable Can Expand Your World

I am actively taking the risk of being more open, authentic and vulnerable. I started first on this blog and now in my day to day life.

I’m not going to lie… being open and vulnerable has been painful, very painful. I’ve learnt and I am still learning some really hard lessons. And many times I have just wanted to isolate again purely because it’s safer (less terrifying) and easier :o(

We know it’s a risk to be vulnerable. You risk being misunderstood, labelled and rejected and I’ve experienced all of that, but I also experienced being embraced, accepted and loved for what I once denied and hid about myself.. and that feels good, really good.. and that is my motivator to keep putting myself out there :o)

I have experienced people that ‘get me’ and have encouraged me, as a result I am learning more about myself and I am accepting of sides of me that I didn’t like or want, but if it don’t embrace those parts of me I realize I am rejecting myself.. I am not loving all of me..

To be vulnerable you have to love and accept yourself … all of yourself.

Enjoy this great post on vulnerability by WENDY MIYAKE

Love and baby steps,

SG x

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” ~Brene Brown

Vulnerability has never been my strong suit. It’s no wonder. In order to be vulnerable, you have to be okay with all of you. That’s the thing about vulnerability that no one tells you about.

Being vulnerable is not just about showing the parts of you that are shiny and pretty and fun. It’s about revealing what you deny or keep hidden from other people. We all do this to some extent. I bet you’ve never said to a friend, “Oh my god, I just love that I’m insecure.”

But that’s the point, isn’t it? You’ve got to love everything, if you want to be vulnerable by choice.

Most of us have probably experienced vulnerability through default. More often than not, we are either forced into that state through conflict, or we are surprised by it after our circumstances feel more comfortable.

Few of us consciously choose vulnerability. Why? The stakes are too high.

If we reveal our authentic selves, there is the great possibility that we will be misunderstood, labeled, or worst of all, rejected. The fear of rejection can be so powerful that some wear it like armor.

My first real experience with vulnerability came when I was twenty-five.

I had just accepted a position as a literature teacher of juniors and seniors at a local high school. This was quite possibly the most intimidating situation I had ever gotten myself into thus far. We’re talking teenagers here, the most extraterrestrial of all age groups!

To make matters worse, I asked my parents for advice. Being longtime elementary school teachers, my parents had a plethora of horror stories to share about unruly students, unreasonable parents, and teachers who could not control their classrooms.

Each story ended with, “And that’s why she quit and ended up going into retail.”

I didn’t want to be a quitter, so I listened well when they told me that I needed to be strong from the get-go, that I needed to show my students who was boss.

In the words of my father, “You can be a bitch and work your way down to nice, but you can’t be nice and work your way up to being strong.”

I took my parents’ advice to heart. In the first week, I flunked seventy-five percent of my students on the summer reading exam. I yelled a lot to control the classroom environment.

And when my students would complain about an assignment, I would say to them, “Remember, this class is not a democracy, it’s a monarchy and guess who’s queen?”

When I read those words now, I can’t help but cringe.

But at the time, I believed vulnerability was a liability. I was okay with being the dragon lady. It was safe.

And under that façade, no one knew how terrified I actually was. So I wore that armor as if my life depended on it.

If I had my way, I would have kept my guard up for the rest of that year. But my students were much smarter than me. They must have known on some level that, in the presence of true vulnerability, no one could remain closed off.

Perhaps no event demonstrated this better than when the senior honors project was in jeopardy.

It was not traditional curriculum, and thus it came under scrutiny. My seniors were visibly upset because they had worked so hard on their group papers, and they were looking forward to their presentations in which faculty from the school as well as from the university would be present.

When they expressed their feelings so honestly and openly, I could not turn away. Now, I wanted to fight not only for the project but for the students themselves.

When I thought we would have no choice but to abandon the whole thing, I remember telling my students that I wanted to quit. For the first time, I was very honest with them about how I was feeling and what I wanted for them.

I was, perhaps, the most vulnerable I had been all year. And that moment of vulnerability paid off big time.

When I left the school at the end of the year, I received many letters from my students. In them, I discovered that they were touched by the fact that I had fought so hard for them, that I was honest with them, and that I believed in them so passionately.

At the time, I probably said to the universe something like, “Ah! You tricked me! This was supposed to be just a temporary job until my real life began. I wasn’t supposed to invest in anyone or be committed to anything or care about anyone.”

But I was very connected to these students long before I even knew I was. Needless to say, they got their senior project. But I received something so much greater. I learned what vulnerability looked like and felt like. And I was the recipient of all its rewards.

Over the years, I have continued to experience that place of vulnerability. I cannot say that all my experiences have come through choice, but I do try to enter that state as much as I can.

While I am far from being an expert on this subject, I have come to some conclusions that I hope will be meaningful to those who want to choose vulnerability:

1. VULNERABILITY IS SO MUCH EASIER WHEN YOU LOVE YOURSELF.

Think about it. When you don’t love all of you and are afraid to show people the less than stellar parts, the space between you and vulnerability is like the Grand Canyon. You will need all the courage you can get to make the leap across.

But when you love yourself, and I mean all of you, you don’t worry so much if someone else doesn’t. And when you’re less afraid of rejection, you step right into that place of openness.

2. VULNERABILITY TAKES PRACTICE.

You don’t just learn it once and then—ta-dah!—you’re easily open to everything and everyone. My experience at the high school was very profound, but even now, many years later, I still have moments where I’m more guarded and less willing to share the real me.

Thank goodness life continues to give me opportunities to consciously choose openness. And most times, I do.

3. THE REWARDS OF VULNERABILITY ARE IMMEASURABLE.

When I have chosen to be open, to show my authentic self, my students have met me there. And when they’ve met me there and formed that connection, there’s nothing they can’t accomplish.

With vulnerability, you experience true connection—true love for yourself—and you begin to attract people to you who are inspired by your openness.

While it’s not easy to be vulnerable, you’d be surprised how loving all of you and then sharing it with another can help you to connect with anyone. In my own life, I’m continuing to open up to my students.

I’ve been showing them a little more of the complexity that is me. They now know the ugly truth that I don’t do math. They know that whenever I need to half a recipe, my twelve-year-old nephew does the fractions for me.

Shameful? Perhaps. But you know what? I like that girl and in the end, so do my students.


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Walls

“It’s funny: By putting up walls, you think you’re protecting yourself, but you get to live less.

If you’re hiding behind a wall, then you can’t see over it.

You’re depriving yourself of so much if you’re trying to be too aware of what you’re putting out there.

If you feel someone breaking those walls down, let them.

Those are the people that you need to find in life, rather than people that you’re just comfortable with.”

~ Kristen Stewart (via rkisunbroken)

Tear down these waaaaalllss!!! - Patrick Booth You can help break through walls of injustice by pledging to donate $1, $5, or $10!

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Being Vulnerable

As hard as it was I went back to the group today. I’m determined to push through my fears of social connection.

I have to.

I am determined to show up and be vulnerable and I know with that I risk possible rejection and ridicule.

I guess it’s a sure way to find out who accepts you, as you are – with all your dysfunction and quirks.

Often at the group I mention my experiences. My hypervigilance, my fears, my heightened intuition, my fears of men.

It was awkward today…  I’m finding a few of the men hard for me to act at ease around. I can talk so easily to the others but I am so anxious around them that I can barely speak or look at them.

It’s much easier to stay home and avoid people.

Two of the men have now rejected me rather than try to understand me .. even when I tried to explain.

I’m crying as I write this, because it’s painful.

If I sense a man is a threat to me and I withdraw or get awkward… they sense that and then it’s uncomfortable all around.

I’m sure I’ll find a man that will understand that I’m terrified rather than rejecting .. and he will still accept me and try to love me anyway, even if I try to push him away and sabotage any friendship or possible relationship.

On the plus side – it’s good talking to the women.

So I guess that’s the risk , I am going to be rejected and ridiculed by some and accepted and understood by others.. painful as it is, it’s a sure way to find the right people..

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Own Your Story

Love this by Brene Brown. We all have a story, a past and shadow aspects of ourselves in our psyche. Getting honest with yourself and having the courage to face personal challenges is shitty work. It’s often exhausting, confusing and painful.

It’s a risk to be honest and vulnerable, we all have our dark side and our little secrets that we could expose.

Being brave enough to acknowledge them (bring them to the light) is the start of healing them.

Recently I joined a friendship group for people with social anxiety. I am the vulnerable one in the group, the open book – I’m sure most of the time I look like a complete goof because I say things others wouldn’t dare. Stuff that’s usually hush hush..

.. It’s a risk being open … but every week after the group ends someone stays on and chats with me, often for 3 hours or more.

I love it and I think somehow I’ve made them feel completely safe to be open also.

We all seem to help each other in our own unique way :o)

So get out there and be you, flaws and all..

Love & baby steps,

SG x

 

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The Shame Game

Are you playing the shame game.. ?

Keeping secrets, hiding a drug problem or disguising alcohol abuse are all warning signs that you could be.

Feeling embarrassed, guilty or remorseful will ensure you keep playing.

the hair, the dress... #illustration #painting #drawing

The Negativity of Shame

Shame can impact every aspect of your life so it’s important to know how to recognize it. Research professor Brené Brown, Ph.D., LMSW, says, “Women often experience shame when they are entangled in a web of layered, conflicting and competing social-community expectations. Shame creates feelings of fear, blame and disconnection.”

It’s easy then to see why shame is particularly prevalent in psychological disorders or drug and alcohol abuse. The internalized feelings of blame, guilt and fear promote the destructive spiral that takes a regular behavior and transforms it into an addiction. Similarly, shame goes hand in hand with denial, a defense mechanism that enables an individual to avoid the reality of a situation. This in turn prevents them from seeking the help they need.

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