With the cool fall weather surrounding me, I suppose it is not surprising that I am going inside—myself. I am even more introspective than usual—and that’s saying a lot for someone who loves to go in deep. Because of this introspection phase I am in, my vulnerability is showing up in huge measures. It is as if my soul wants to be bared, even though it can be uncomfortable to reveal. There is vulnerability in opening oneself up as an internal exploration just as there is vulnerability in opening up to others. Both require and at the same time evoke kindness and compassion.
Being vulnerable might feel like you are over-exposing yourself, so it takes courage, whether it is with others or not. Yet being vulnerable allows you to get closer to the truth of who you are and how you experience life, closer to your inner fears and hopes and dreams. I find that I deepen my learning of what fuels me, what drives me and what I am here for when I am able to lean into the softest and most unprotected parts of me.
I have been working with a Somatic Experiencing student practitioner for the past few months while she goes through training. With her guidance, I have been exploring those areas of my life that both give me strength and cause me suffering. Part of this therapeutic process is letting my body speak to me through its physical sensations. Being with the experiences in my body helps me to understand and also release emotional blocks that are keeping me from being more conscious and awake in life. Rather than gloss over memories of past trauma, by recognizing areas of discomfort or energy in the body I am learning to shed some layers and reveal even more. It is in this place of being vulnerable that I am finding peace and understanding of more aspects of myself.
Being vulnerable is also an effective means to gaining a deeper connection to people you are close to or want to get closer to. Allowing your vulnerability to emerge creates trust, just as trust helps you to dip your toes into being vulnerable. Trust that you won’t find anything you can’t handle. Trust that the other person will respond to your vulnerability with kindness or at least not unkindly. I think that is one of the biggest misunderstandings about vulnerability or why people hold back their vulnerability. They are fearful that they will be judged if they are vulnerable. Yet in most instances I have experienced that vulnerability is met with understanding. Because when you are vulnerable you are showing up as a real and complicated person. And being vulnerable is a gateway to understanding all the facets of emotion that come with being a perfectly imperfect human.
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