My Journey To Embracing Vulnerability

embracing vulnerability
Photo by Alex Green

I have a question.

When was the last time you sat down and cried? I mean, really cried? When was the last time you sat with your legs crossed while tears trickled down your cheeks and you silently (or loudly) released the strained painful thoughts from your heart and mind?

Before you read this, take a deep breath and let it out. Unclench and relax your jaw.

We carry a lot of pain with us, some of which we either haven’t addressed or don’t even know exists. Some of the baggage we carry may have been passed down to us by our family. Or, maybe you created your own pain. It doesn’t matter the origin of where it started, but it does matter where and when it ends.

It’s taken me a long time to be vulnerable, and if I’m honest, I’m still familiarizing myself with this today. Vulnerability itself is a painful process. Being vulnerable with others is hard but being vulnerable with yourself is a whole different scenario.

I am overwhelmingly self-critical. I don’t know where it stemmed from, really, but I have an innate feeling or reaction to prove myself to others. Whether in romantic relationships, with work, friends, or family, I figured it was best to be best instead of just being myself.

Because I didn’t accept myself, I didn’t know how to be myself.

I have a propensity to give and over-give. It was tough to say “no” when someone needed me. What’s worse is I said no to myself more than I did to others. I didn’t take the time to be vulnerable with myself or presence what I needed. So there were no salty tears as I sat in a corner, crossed my legs, and closed my eyes. I didn’t experience any relief because my mind said, “no.”

My soul wasn’t happy, and as a result, I wasn’t happy.

I had a heavy backpack strapped to me for years. I couldn’t take it off or put it down. Depression, anxiety, fear of failure, and imposter syndrome all added to the weight of the bag. I slapped a shiny smile on my face, just like the stickers teachers would attach to a golden graded paper.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to cry. I wanted to hide. I wanted to be left alone… forever.

My soul was yearning for me to finally acknowledge what I was feeling and going through. In a sea of voices, questions, and demands that plagued my ears and my thoughts, one stood out to me. It wasn’t a deep or intimidating voice but rather a delicate tone, strong but loving.

I know.

For some reason, those two little words opened the floodgates I’ve been trying to keep latched for years. They opened my wounds. They reminded me I wasn’t alone.

My soul relaxed, I finally breathed, and I finally cried. My own vulnerability story was theoretically published, and I was its reader.

Yours will be too. For anyone reading this right now, I know. I understand. Share your vulnerability story with anyone willing to listen, including yourself. Your soul needs you.

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