Have you ever confessed something you were ashamed of to someone close to you? Have you admitted you were wrong in a difficult situation? Have you opened yourself up to someone when you felt you were in a fragile or wounded state?
If you have, you have already practised being vulnerable. Being vulnerable allows us to be our softest, most authentic selves, whether we are the CEO of a top business, a student pushing through exams, a working parent with three kids or a tough sportsperson. Or even for myself, a chiropractor in Delft doing my very best to help my clients. It shows a side of us we all have, which we may at times guard and protect. Even a dark side of ourselves. But it means putting ourselves out there, putting ourselves in a place where we don’t know what the result may be. We are exposed, honest with ourselves, and honest with those we share our thoughts with. It reminds us that we are all human.
Ultimately it takes courage to let our guard down and open up. It’s a show of love, creating and growing bonds or connections and an opportunity for healing within.
Recently I had a conversation with my girlfriend about a topic regarding our future together. There were some aspects of myself I had been afraid of showing her previously. But I knew that we would end up down the same path we had gone before if I didn’t show this part of me. An aspect of our relationship and love, unexplored and unknown. I opened myself to her more than I had before. I made myself vulnerable.
The result was she responded with more love and understanding. Our level of communication and care for each other has grown in strength - even more than we first met. It has allowed me to show even more of my authentic self in our relationship. A side of me where I feel less judged, not by my girlfriend, but more by myself. I am allowing myself to be my absolute most authentic self with her.
For me, being in a place of vulnerability was a place of healing. What felt like a place of difficulty and discomfort turned into a place of safety and deeper connection. Letting my guard down and opening myself up was freeing. It felt like something deep inside needed to get out. It was stress my body no longer wanted and fought to get rid of (despite my fears).
Being vulnerable to what I had done wrong in my relationship was hurtful. However, it was a weight that I had been holding onto that had now been released. I now have the opportunity to give so much more than I have before. My heart is wide open with her. I let her deeper into my world, my thoughts and my fears.
Whether internal or external, being in a place of safety is where we can be our true authentic selves and is often the place where we will heal best. However, it takes bravery, and it takes courage. We have to open ourselves up to the possibility of being rejected. We have all been rejected at some point, and it never feels good. It reaches deep into the essence of who we are as humans and our sense of community and belonging in ‘the tribe’.
In the primitive stages of humanity, being kicked out of the tribe could mean total isolation, starvation, being preyed on by other animals and ultimately death. So, we can definitely see why somewhere ingrained within us may be the fear of rejection. Being vulnerable can quickly bring this subconscious or primal fear to the surface. That’s why practising being vulnerable can take some work. But ultimately, it’s the key to freedom.
At some point in all our lives, we can think of a time when being vulnerable and getting something off our chest was very relieving. Innately our bodies don’t like to hold on to stress. Have you ever seen how wild animals ‘shake’ off trauma and stress? Watch how a polar bear recovers after waking up from being tranquilised by biologists. It completes the cycle of trauma and lets it free. Somewhere along the path of evolution, we lost that.
Any form of healing is allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. Maybe we have sought help and a better life by seeing a chiropractor. Or we softened our guards to allow others in by sharing our true thoughts, feelings and desires. These are examples of where being vulnerable has facilitated an opportunity for healing. We have a choice. We can choose to be courageous and release the burden of stress our bodies have been so innately trying to free. Or we can choose to hold on to it, try to cover it under layers of stories and untruths in the hope that it may go away. The choice is ours; we are all responsible for our own healing.
So, when we talk about being vulnerable, it’s essential to know what being vulnerable entails. This is something that requires trust. It’s about sharing our thoughts and feelings with people who have earned the right to hear them. People who we’ve developed relationships with that can bear the weight of our story. Creating a space to build more trust and build stronger connections.
After re-reading this blog post, I realised how often I used the word BEING. Being our most authentic selves means being totally present with who we are and the people we are with at that very moment. We all crave to show the world our true selves without the masks and protective layers. To be our very natural selves means being unrestricted, untethered and free. Do you feel BEING vulnerable can do that for you?