What Makes You Vulnerable Makes You Beautiful
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” -Brene Brown
Being Vulnerable has never been my strength. It means you have to be okay with you….and that is the thing we never understand or nobody tells you about vulnerability.
Being vulnerable is not about showing your best angle or side; and it is definitely not about being camera ready. It is about opening your box of secrets and living outside the box. Revealing all the things you hide or deny from others. Everyone has a box of worms that they do not like to let open … Who knows where those worms will wiggle to…. And when was the last time you heard someone say ‘Yeah love the way you are insecure about that!’.
But that is just it... Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about dancing in the rain. Life is about letting go of who you are so you can become who you want to be.
Most of us usually experience vulnerability at some point by default, either forced into a situation of conflict or surprised by a jack-in-a-box jumping out and saying ‘Boo, got ya!’
Choosing vulnerability consciously is a difficult choice but a powerful one. The stakes are high and the bar rises to what feels like impossible heights when you choose vulnerability.
I mean if we are real and authentic there is a high chance we will be judged, criticized, rejected and misunderstood.
It is inbreed in us as humans to fear rejection, want attention, crave affection and dream perfection. I think that you have to believe in your destiny; that you will succeed, you will meet a lot of rejection and it is not always a straight path, there will be detours - so enjoy the view.
In my effort to be authentic, I'd like to talk about something difficult I went through as a new mother. The first 6 months of being a mother, I went through the most overwhelming and challenging period of my life that I've ever experienced....
Laine was Born…. I was in beautiful Vienna, Austria; one of the most liveable cities in the world. Snow was falling and I had a most beautiful family I could wish for. But through all the beauty I could not see the sun, only clouds. I became overly obsessed with worrying about everything and anything out of my control. I had trouble sleeping, I felt black... and why, I had no idea!
Over the next few months, I felt worse and worse. I felt guilty because I had a wonderful baby, a loving husband, and a great life on paper, yet I was inexplicably falling apart. Although I had loved taking care of Laine since she was born, it was exhausting to look after a child. She had colic and cried for 3 to 5 hours a day and there was nothing I could do to help her, except wait it out. I had no family, they were all back in Australia or in another city 3 hours from us in Austria. I dreaded hearing her cries and having to get out of bed and face the day. I felt utterly overwhelmed and exhausted. I missed my family, my friends, and my own country where I could speak the language. The smallest decisions seemed like insurmountable obstacles, and tears came like Niagara Falls. I felt certain I would / had disappointed everyone and anyone who were my friends and family.
My self-confidence had disappeared and I felt completely overwhelmed. I would see all my friends as new moms and read articles about amazing influential mothers and think, how are these women doing so much? How can they handle everything--job, family, life--and get it all done and seem so happy? What is wrong with me?
When you're feeling down, you often compartmentalize it. You have to get out of bed in the morning, so you try saying… ‘Today is a new day, today is a good day’… and get through as much as you can. You try to put your sadness out of your head and take one moment at a time. I didn’t want these feelings to bleed into my whole life, so I tried to keep them contained as much as possible.
It came in waves. Sometimes I'd feel better, almost like myself again. Other times, I'd feel so overwhelmed with sadness and hopelessness.
I felt like a failure. I wanted to be a mother like my own mom, who made my life so beautiful and colourful and I felt that I was not providing this and Laine deserved more and a better a mother. I always loved playing with children but now that I had an intelligent and beautiful baby girl, I suddenly could not handle motherhood. I felt exhausted and like a fish out of water.
The funny thing about depression is that you don't know that it's depression. You just think it's your actual life that you really are a terrible mother, that your husband really will stop loving you, that friends do think you're boring.
Thankfully, once the depression ended, my energy and confidence came back and I now enjoy being a mother to a beautiful little girl and having a family warms my heart and brings so much joy to my life.
However I wanted to share my experience so other wonderful mothers who go through this will recognize it for what it is, and get help if needed, instead of just thinking that it's them and their own life or failure to handle motherhood. I would recommend getting support and know that you are not the only one who has gone through this…. If I could spare anyone going through what I did, I would for sure want to.
I also now empathize and respect anyone who may be suffering from depression and realise it is not something you can tell some to just "shake it off" or "snap out of it." People are heroes for getting through it. I am glad in one way that I have had this experience because if any of my friends or family ever goes through a depression, I hope that I will be able to better help them to find their light again and get them through it.
Here are five ways to experience the power of vulnerability so you come alive to your most authentic self:
1. Be real.
If you’re scared, say you’re scared. If you don’t know, say you don’t know. If you made a mistake, say you made a mistake. If you feel hurt, say you’re hurt. If you’re in love, say you’re in love.
2. Act with no guarantees.
Ideas are safe. The idea of true love, the vision of a better world, the image of your perfect lifestyle. We can sit safely in our imaginations all day or we can fully commit to taking action, embracing the notion that we might fail or get hurt.
The most painful moments are the greatest lessons. And now we have an encyclopedia of learnings.
Small steps taken every day lead to big changes.
3. Ask for help.
By admitting your weaknesses, you make room for other people’s gifts.
Growing up, asking for help felt like weakness. Instead, I attempted to do everything myself. Eventually I learned that trying to do everything well would turn into not doing anything particularly well.
If you notice yourself trying to do everything yourself, take a step back and evaluate which aspects energize and excite you in the situation at hand and then make a list of the areas that exhaust you. Seek help where you’re exhausted.
4. Get rejected.
No makes room for the right Yes.
In what area of your life are you afraid of being rejected? How can you expose yourself to the possibility of being rejected 10 times this week? Through action comes growth.
5. Embrace negative emotions.
When we numb sadness and pain, we numb joy and happiness. Feeling the depths of our lows enables us to fully feel the depths of our highs. It’s all connected.
Pay attention to how you respond to sadness and pain. Is that when your vices come out to play? Do you push away negative emotions? How can you allow yourself to fully process them?
To be vulnerable is to be deeply seen. It’s to love with your whole heart and to put yourself out there. To feel vulnerable is to be alive—to exist as your most beautiful self.
Here is a work out to help you take one small step towards being your authentic self
Deconstructed 100 Burpee Challenge
Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.
10 Jump Squats
10 In Outs
10 Push ups