Without a doubt, sharing my story exposes my vulnerability… and as far as I’m concerned, that’s a good thing. Author and public speaker Brene Brown once said “what makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful”. I agree. It is because of my vulnerability that my world has expanded. I have allowed myself to become happy with who I am and to strive only for a better version of me.
As uncomfortable as it may feel at times, I allow people to see the less polished aspects of me, and I am still practicing because it doesn’t come easily. Discovering my vulnerable side was mostly circumstantial for me, and it is those circumstances that I’m going to briefly share with you now (and I deliberately summarize my experiences because I want you to leave this blog feeling inspired, not depressed).
Does being vulnerable suck?
Fear hangs out here.
I never used to show my vulnerability, and that’s due to fear. Fear of being rejected, fear of being perceived as weak, and worst of all fear of not being perfect. Because of this, during my late teens and early twenties, I was sometimes labelled by those on the periphery as ‘the perfectionist’, ‘over-confident’, ‘stuck-up’, and ‘rigid’.
I kept people at arms-length, I was defensive, and happy to accept that those labels must be me. My outward labels became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The crash of 2005!
Then in one moment, back in 2005, my whole life changed. At 25 years old, I woke up one morning to the reality that the perfectly portrayed me was about to fall apart. A panicked phone call from my dad revealed that my mum had suddenly passed away.
This was a shock to say the least. Just weeks after that, my dad fell to pieces and developed a rare form of dementia. I spent the next 7 years being consumed with his medical appointments, care plans, and writing annual reports for relevant government departments to prove that I was responsibly looking after my dad’s finances.
There was no time to be vulnerable. I had to tread-water, suck it up and be the perfect daughter and sister that I was.
Who am I?
My dad finally passed away just a few years later, and after torturing myself with his suffering, it was a relief. After so much time spent glossing over my story (of how I had coped or not coped), I could finally be me again.
Except, I had no idea who I was. I only knew the outward version of me that I had been putting on display for the past decade. So, what followed wasn’t pretty…but it happened to serve a purpose. I experienced a long period of severe mental and physical exhaustion, and what felt like an endless black hole of anxiety and depression.
I had given up on love, joy and everything in between. I had no sense of belonging to this world.
A stranger walks among us
That’s when people started to notice my vulnerability…I could no longer hide anything. I couldn’t eat, so I looked under-weight. I couldn’t sleep, so I look constantly tired. I developed panic attack disorder and couldn’t leave the house, so I didn’t socialize.
I was depressed, so I didn’t want to engage. I felt petrified, completely alone, and pointless. I was the most vulnerable that I had ever been in my entire life, and I worried so much about what everybody must be thinking.
But as a result of that vulnerability (and lots of hard work on myself), amazing things happened. I started to connect with people in more meaningful ways, and I began to accept and love myself for who I am – anxiety and all.
I became authentic with myself. I started to grab opportunities without fear of not being perfect, and I experienced friendships on a higher level.
I entered into a relationship during the most vulnerable time of my life, and that amazing man, is now my husband and best friend. He has seen me at my most vulnerable. And I am grateful that he has, because the strength in our partnership is that we deeply support one another.
How’s your vulnerability these days?
So, if like me, you think that you ‘don’t do’ vulnerability, I would encourage you to think again. Life, as I discovered, is vulnerable. It’s not about choosing to be vulnerable, but about choosing how we respond to vulnerability.
I admit, vulnerability takes immense trust and courage, but we can choose to share our vulnerability only with the people who have earned that right. That’s why I choose to share this with you now…because I believe that in reading this you too are a growth-minded person, who has inner-warrior spirit.
So, to summarize, here’s what vulnerability can do for you:
- Vulnerability leads to loving your whole self – and I mean every part of you
- Looking inward at your vulnerability provides the opportunity to learn, grow and develop – particularly if there is something that you wish to change
- Acknowledging vulnerability means that you can take action without fear – and those actions will lead you to achieve great things
- Embracing rejection makes more room for what’s right – so if you get a ‘no’, find the right ‘yes’ instead
- Vulnerability = authenticity. Fact. The greatest of warriors are authentic and stay true to themselves.
Showing your vulnerability takes patience and practice, and there is one other Brene Brown quotes that resonates with me. It’s this…“owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Enjoy discovering this warriors (in your own way, and in your own time of course).
Louise Creswick is a UK coach and ‘Amazing Me Movement’ fan. Integrating her personal journey with her background in psychology, her purpose is to work with people who are finding themselves stagnant and unhappy with their life. Her aim is to encourage, support and harness the potential in people so that they may find their inner strength, courage, and learn to love their whole self. After many years of fighting against life, Louise (which means warrior), has been inspired to share her tools and techniques, knowledge and strategies with those in pursuit of change. The newly formed ‘Warrior Within‘ Facebook page and blog is a growing circle of people that can share their own learning with each other, find inspiration and motivational tips.
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