When I was younger, I used to hate the idea of being vulnerable and crying in front of people such as family, friends and relatives. I do remember being told not to cry as a child and to be strong but I don’t remember if it was simply this experience or others which influenced this innate behaviour. I just knew that it made me feel uncomfortable and I didn’t like that one bit.
In my 20s I discovered that I a lot of what I had learnt as a young child was making life for me as an adult very difficult. I felt the need to hide what I really felt and to portray a certain persona of happiness and confidence whereas inside I felt anxious and fearful of judgement and rejection amongst a number of other emotions.
However, I had an experience which really shattered this illusion of myself. Trying to push down my real emotions had caused a disconnection with my true self and so my soul/spirit said no more. Looking back, I’m grateful to have gone through that dark night of the soul when I didn’t really know who I was anymore. It enabled me to start walking the path to reacquainting myself with my true authentic self.
During this time, I came to know many different aspects of myself that I had never really spent time getting to know. This included the Julie who felt sad, the Julie who felt lonely, the Julie who felt fearful of rejection…basically the Julie who felt all types of emotions. At first it was terrifying to be acknowledging and feeling this. There used to be a sense of shame in society about feeling our emotions (though thankfully things are changing) and most emotions were limited to those that were considered ‘acceptable’ or recognisable such as happiness, joy and anger.
However, we are complicated beings and the more of ourselves that we can acknowledge and shine light on, the less that we have to be fearful and anxious of. We can describe these hidden parts of ourselves as ‘shadow aspects’ of our personality. Debbie Ford describes it really well in her book ‘The Dark Side of the Light Chasers’ and I would definitely recommend it if you really want to learn to be comfortable with all parts of yourself.
When we get to know and accept these different aspects of ourselves, this is the path to really loving ourselves as we are. When we can be vulnerable and acknowledge our humanness, we can be kinder and gentler with ourselves. It also opens the path to allow others to do the same. In this state we are open to understanding others and having compassion for them and their experiences.
Recently I’ve been having issues with a neighbour and it has been rather stressful and time consuming. I had to ask myself what was really underlying the anger and frustration that I was feeling. When I spent some time meditating on this, I realised that actually the situation left me feeling powerless and I didn’t know which direction I needed to take; I felt out of control. When I was able to acknowledge this and truly accept how I was feeling, I immediately felt a shift.
It was almost as if just by acknowledging these hidden emotions that I hadn’t been able to see, that I was able to recognise that it wasn’t actually true. That it was an illusion. That I wasn’t powerless but it was simply a feeling that was there and needed to be experienced. Doing this helped me to realise that I was being hard on myself expecting myself to know all the answers on how to deal with a challenging situation.
I was able to send forgiveness to myself and to have compassion for the part of me that didn’t know what to do and felt helpless. Experiencing this then led me to feeling compassion for my neighbour and what they were experiencing during this complicated situation. The following day I was able to approach the situation with a different perspective and mindset which gave unexpected positive results when I ended up having an impromptu meeting with my neighbour.
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, firstly with our own self and consequently with others, it allows the protective walls that we build to come down. It enables us to relate to others in a real and open way. We are able to acknowledge each other’s fragilities and tender spots, our humanness and to speak from a loving space rather than one filled with fear.
Rather than being afraid of our vulnerability, when we are truly able to be vulnerable with ourselves (and in turn others), then we have nothing to fear. There’s nothing to hide and we can stand in our true power and speak our truth from our hearts. I know it may seem a challenging topic but try the following exercises to start to move to this space and you might be surprised by the gifts that it brings.
I hope that you find these exercises helpful. We’ve been conditioned to hide and guard ourselves from others but the more that we can let these walls down, the more that we can really connect to others with love. When this becomes your way of operating, then watch the changes that occur in your relationship with yourself and those around you.
If there’s anything that I can do to help, please send me a message. I would love to hear from you.
You might also find this post interesting: Let Love Guide You