Most people would rather hide under the blankets than share their feelings. I’ve spent my fair share of days tucked away in hopes that no one would find me. Then I get lost on Pinterest and lose half a day. Dammit. Vulnerability is associated with fear and fear is associated with feeling stuck. And when you feel stuck, well, you’re not exactly productive.
It’s taken me quite some time to become more comfortable with being vulnerable. I used to hold in my feelings in fear that someone would say negative things about me, or worse yet, leave me. I had the mindset that I was the only person feeling like this – I’m alone and there’s something wrong with me. No one else could possibly have these feelings, especially not the people I idolize.
I’d bet if you knew that most of the people you look up to, follow, or idolize had the same feelings you did, you’d feel like your dreams were a lot more realistic than you think. Hell, I’d throw down and argue that even Oprah and Ellen feel not-so-awesome from time to time. Would you believe that Jennifer Lopez has sold seventy-million albums but doesn’t feel like she’s good at music? Or that Maya Angelou wrote eleven books but felt like a fraud? I don’t personally know this, but they busted open the vulnerability doors and told the world. Makes them seem more human, huh?
Before we can really tackle the fear of opening up, we must first understand why we feel this way to begin with. Understanding the root that causes the trigger which causes the shutdown is essential because without understanding WHY you feel like this, you’ll never overcome the feeling.
For me, it always came back to the fear that people would leave. Due to some deep-rooted childhood events, crappy relationships, and business clients or partnerships that went south, I’ve had a long-lasting fear that if I acted, talked, or behaved 100% as who I knew I was, that everyone around me would vanish.
The tough part is, people have left. And in the moment, it felt as though the world was ending. “Here we go again,” I would think. But through some deep personal worth with myself and my therapist I came to this conclusion: If someone leaves, they weren’t intended to stay. And here I am, still the strong, Laura-Aura-filled human that I am. Without identifying the root, I wouldn’t have this podcast or blog that you’re reading right now, which means I wouldn’t have the chance to inspire other people to do what’s calling them. Crazy, huh?
Most people would rather never say a word again over sharing something that they think others would perceive as weak, hurtful, shameful, or totally out of character. Let’s face it, we associate vulnerability with weakness and assume that everyone will either abandon or judge the shit out of us. We don’t want to create the possibility that we could be shamed for our thoughts or feelings, therefore we close-up and try to deal with things on our own (or not at all).
Vulnerability can come in all shapes and forms:
- Talking about an experience
- Opening up about feelings
- Going through something challenging
- Seeking help
- Addiction or other habits
- Financial struggles
- Depression or anxiety
- Failing a business venture
- Change of feelings about a person or situation
On this week’s podcast, I open up about something that is pretty uncomfortable for me to talk about. It’s been taunting me for years and just a few weeks ago I decided to own it and share my situation with you. And if you pop over to Instagram, there’s a picture of the little thing that causes me a lot of anxiety. #goals
The crazy thing is vulnerability is not always associated with perceived negative situations. It can also be associated with positive events and feelings:
- Financial gain or wealth
- Personal style
- Lifestyle change
- Health goals achieved
- Growth or success
There is power in vulnerability. Let’s say you’re struggling in business. Maybe cash flow isn’t awesome or you’re just feeling down about yourself or your abilities to grow. If you don’t talk about that situation, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one going through this and that you’re failing as a business owner. What happens when you hear that a business you admire is going through the same thing or recently overcame this? This is the magic behind vulnerability… in an instant, you can go from feeling helpless to feeling hopeful.
The majority of people will have greater respect for you and you never know who you might inspire. Vulnerability is an act of courage. You don’t have to hide behind something you’re not to protect yourself from the perceived reaction.
What are you holding back because you fear other people’s thoughts or opinions? What root experiences or feelings are causing you to be fearful? What’s one thing you could do to open up more? I guarantee you that at least one (probably more like hundreds) person will hear you and think, “Wow, I’m not the only one,” and you may inspire them to keep going. If you don’t share for yourself, share to inspire someone else to keep going.
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