“Shit. They are going to see it,” I thought. For two whole days I had kept it together. In fact, I was the only one who had at that point. Emotions had been building up, connections had been formed, healing had begun, and I felt like I actually began to TRUST these people I barely knew. They were on a fast track to my heart, and, basically, I was screwed. I was screwed because they were going to, and did, see it.
They saw my ugly crying face.
I was taking a continuing education class that proved to be much more. It was a group of eight women whose connection would prove to be powerful and transformative. Through tears, snot, trying to formulate words that were hard to put together through quivering lips, and allowing myself to be seen with my blotchy red face and all, I shared things that I am pretty sure I knew I had deep within me but never fully acknowledged. And it felt GOOD to release that. There was no embarrassment or shame, there was only love and acceptance.
With all of my usual defenses washed away, it was then that I realized that crying wasn’t ugly—that I wasn’t ugly. None of us were. We were raw, and we were vulnerable. We were wide open in our darkest places for the world to see. And in that moment, THAT was when we were actually the most beautiful.
What does it mean to be vulnerable? The dictionary describes it as the following:
Being vulnerable means letting your guard down. It means giving in to the process and letting go of any attachment to the outcome. It means being friends with discomfort and leaning in to fear. It is nothing less than an unadulterated act of courage. Yet so many of us don’t go there. It is easier to stash away negative feelings or events deep into our bodily vault than to be so emotionally exposed by it that someone, even ourselves, may use it against us. If only we understood the power of vulnerability, not as a weakness but as a tool to set us free.
I am not typically an emotional person, so the tug of war between the courage to explore and the fear of what might result is scary. Will I be dealing with trauma from the past? Will I have to confront someone? Will it be confrontational, or will it cause us to grow? And most importantly, will I allow my most brilliant and brightest light to shine, because I am worthy, and I am powerful? I will never know if I don’t work through that which weighs heavily on my heart, mind and soul.
I have to trust myself that no matter what I find, I will be my biggest advocate. I will have self-love and positive self-talk. I will be ok with uncertainty and risk because, as a result, I will be a better and stronger version of myself for having gone there. I may gain allies, and I may have to leave some behind, but the opportunities for transformation are endless when we break free of the chains that repeatedly hold us down and reign us in.
So, how can you break the chains and be more vulnerable? Below are a few tips that have worked for me. Everyone is different, so I invite you to explore different avenues until you find what is right for you.
These suggestions merely brush the surface of breaking the cycle and allowing vulnerability. It is a lifelong journey, so be patient with your self. What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful, because you have the courage to be uncomfortable in order to find your truth.
“You had the power all along, my dear.” –Glinda the Good Witch
Author: Jenny Bork is a licensed massage therapist who specializes in stress management, chronic pain and movement education. She is currently accepting new clients.
Photo credit: Cassandra Rae