In order to be vulnerable with others, you must first learn to be vulnerable with yourself.
This week I struggled in doing that, and in life I believe we will all have these moments where we are feeling extra challenged. In those moments, we always have a choice. I had low mental moments and all I wanted to do was fight, flight or bury my head under the sand. Thankfully I froze!
It really hurts when your trauma-based mental programming comes back to pay a visit, when you are trying to move differently in life. As human beings, I think we are all trying our best. We are all trying to heal from something. Idk about you, but I wish I could take my brain out of my skull, put it in an ice bucket, and reset my mind to a more healed, optimistic state. But it’s not that simple.
I used to manage it by smoking a lot of weed, simply because it would calm me down and remove the high anxiety, embarrassing feelings and shame I experienced when feeling vulnerable. It allowed me space to just be myself. It would literally remove my inhibitions.
I personally enjoy hemp and cannabis as pain treatment, (but urge you to research and consult your physician for your own experience) in place of over-the-counter drugs. But I wanted to challenge myself to do it without anything numbing me when I get there emotionally. I also needed to find a better balance with my consumption. I wanted to FEEL it all. So I did.
But let’s be honest for a second. When you were “programmed” or taught NOT to be vulnerable for 20+ years, it is so hard to share your deepest, truest, and most vulnerable emotions with others or yourself.
I personally had to hide everything because of the inconvenience and anger that my feelings stirred up in others. As a result of that, I learned to hide those feelings from MYSELF! Partly to keep me safe, but also partly because I also didn’t know what to do with them, and I also felt inconvenienced by them.
Because of that, I struggled in allowing myself to feel things deeply, simply because I was never given the tools to manage my emotions.
So as a result of that, I would overreact and fear feeling vulnerable at any moment. I would respond in aggression, because it felt like a threat. But seeing that reality play out in real time was haunting and halting. Do I really want to keep living my life this way?! Am I always going to run and hide from my emotional truth? Truthfully, it was so exhausting and destructive. Crying felt like the better alternative, because I could just fall asleep and feel better the next day.
Truth is, I always want to do better. I learned to fight or run whenever conflict came up, and I have spent the last 5 years working so hard to transform the way I approach conflict now.
The scary part is in being vulnerable, because it can feel like such a helpless place to be. But on the contrary, it is such a safe place to be.
It's a shelter.
I was never taught how to see the safety in vulnerability so in those moments I can sometimes feel trapped in a space I don’t want to be in, and I don’t know what to do to get out.
So I spent some time alone, just me (this was dedicated time I blocked out for me, just like a date night, but with myself) and I wrote down all my fears, my pain, my grief, and where I feel most vulnerable. I spent time releasing those emotions, and it was extremely uncomfortable. Regardless of what led me to this point, it’s my responsibility to teach myself to do better. It’s my duty to sit in that uncomfortable space.
My husband also buried me under blankets and it was a life saving God-send! I felt so safe and at ease. An alternative to this is also a weighted blanket, which helps with anxiety.
But unlearning anything can be uncomfortable. You feel like you’re abandoning your childhood, your family, and even yourself. In a way, that is true. But it’s more metaphorical and mental, than it is anything else. It is a choice to be different in how you do things, not because you are “better” than anyone but because you want to do better in how you approach emotions. You are learning something new.
I get it, we are tired of talking about feelings! But guess what? Those annoying feelings can stop your whole flow, if you don’t learn to handle them accordingly.
I want to give my kids generational gifts and a legacy of peace, respect and tenderness. Their peace of mind is worth it. My peace of mind is worth it. The peace in that one moment, where I am able to be with myself in vulnerability is truly worth the uncomfortable and difficult choice to learn something new and improved.
I also had to learn discernment and surround myself with people that would really SEE me when I was vulnerable. But also keep in mind that not everyone can be there for you, which is why it is so important to cultivate that relationship with yourself first. We are all growing at different rates and under different conditions.
It takes time to master and learn something new with more ease. But with dedication, gentleness, discipline, tenderness and patience, it will be much less traumatic. There is less tension internally. We experience enough external tensions on a daily basis, and your mind and heart shouldn’t be one of those places.
Cry it out, sleep it off, talk it out–do whatever you need to do to bring yourself back to balance after that moment of vulnerability. Eventually that’s going to be your source of protection, and you can drop your weapons of defense.
Love eternally, Daniposa.