Being vulnerable is probably one of the hardest things I’ve had to faced in the last couple of months. For the past several years, I’ve kept every emotion and feeling to myself. I got really, really good at faking a smile, at pretending everything in my life was perfect. Whenever someone asked how I was doing, I responded with GREAT and if they asked anything further I could come up with something good going on in my life, so I wouldn’t have to talk about anything else.
I can’t quite recall when I didn’t let myself be vulnerable with others. Maybe it was the pressure at school to fit in, being fearful of what others would think if I was myself, finding out that I was cheated on and not feeling worthy enough, or being told to stop crying by a loved one whenever I did show emotions. All I know is that I shut down and I didn’t let anyone in.
I remember as a child and from family videos, I laughed, I cried, I showed all my emotions. Today, people around me probably think I don’t have any feelings at all. I don’t get excited when I hear great news, I don’t cry in front of people when I hear a sad story, I don’t show any affection whatsoever, and I would get uncomfortable when others touched or hugged me.
Little did I know that being so closed off was part of the reason why I was miserable, why I wasn’t happy with my life, and why I felt sad and alone.
Someone recommended that I lookup Brene Brown’s talk on TED about vulnerability. In this talk she mentions when you asked most people to talk about love they will tell you about heartbreak, when you asked about belonging they will tell you a story about being excluded, and if you asked them about connection they will tell you about being disconnected. As soon as I heard these words, I instantly related to this. Then I realized whenever someone asked me to talk about my past, I always picked a story that brought me pain, I never spoke about a time of joy and happiness.
Brene then talks about embracing vulnerability, it’s not comfortable but it’s necessary. She says “vulnerability is the birth place of joy, love, creativity, and belonging”, when I heard this, I felt it in my heart, I knew that I was not being vulnerable at all. When we numb vulnerability and we numb fear, shame and pain we are also numbing joy, gratitude, happiness and this leads to misery.
GOSH, whatever shame and pain I was trying to numb caused me to numb all these others areas like JOY, HAPPINESS, and LOVE! I was not letting myself be seen, I was hiding from the world. I had a feeling of being worthless for such a long time and not feeling loved but it was because I didn’t believe I was worthy and I did not love myself.
I remember for the longest time always being bitter, upset, sad, lonely, jealous, and not being good enough. No wonder I was stuck, I was never thankful for what I had and never showed appreciation for life in general.
I’m still a work in progress, but I can tell you today I am more vulnerable than I was yesterday. I like to express myself in writing and that’s one of the many reasons I wanted to start this blog. I don’t want to hide my emotions anymore, I want to let them all out.
The other day, I was feeling very sad. All I could think about was my father and how in a couple of weeks it would be Father’s day and I wouldn’t know what to do on this day. I just wanted to cry but I couldn’t. I told my roommate a little about how I was feeling (in the past I wouldn’t have said anything), and I asked if she wanted to go see Me before you, so I could cry.
First off, I loved this movie because I could relate to both characters. Secondly, the ending had me in tears because it somehow reminded me of my father. The main character Will tells Lou to live boldly, and I just had a feeling that’s what my dad was telling me, to appreciate life and to live it to the fullest.
I am telling you all of this because I cried, I let every single feeling of sadness out of my body and I wasn’t ashamed of my friends seeing this. On the way home, I cried some more and even though I was still sad, it was necessary for me to go through the emotions instead of hiding them. This may sound silly but at our leadership meeting at work, I mentioned that I was feeling sad on the weekend and I purposely went to a movie to cry. It was a great moment for me because I would have never ever told anyone that.
This is proof I cried and I am not ashamed! 🙂
It stinks that it took this long to realize it, but I now know that I am enough and I am worthy. I have a purpose in this life to help others and I hope that on that journey I always find joy, happiness and love.
BE VULNERABLE. Show others who you are, do not be ashamed or fearful like I was. Be YOU! I want you to know that you are awesome and you are worthy to me and this world.