My vulnerability is showing…

…and it looks good!

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I think a lot. The way my mind works fascinates and entertains me enough that I don’t get bored easily, although I can easily tire from my train of thought at times. I think about my life. I think about where I came from and where I’m going. I think about what I’ve overcome to get to where I am. I think about and make up random scenarios that make me giggle, and I think about and make up random scenarios that bring up fears. I think about all of these things and more.

And then, somewhere down the road of my ever-evolving thought process, I started thinking more about my external world, specifically how I portray my internal world to my external world. I realized how much I’ve taken on for myself to process versus opening up and saying my truth to those around me. I realized I played the role of feeling much safer in pleasing others and not ruffling feathers, while silently suffering internal anxieties and worries. I realized how exhausting this was for my past self. I realized that is was time to unravel and transform this tendency. 

Throughout the past year, this has been a major focus of mine. After settling into my life in Chapel Hill and (mostly) recovering from the very real PTSD that lingered from my time as a grad student, I can happily say that all my needs of home, food, friends, and career are feeling rooted and nurtured. This has created space for me to let go of the fight or flight mode a bit more and dive deeper into the parts of my psyche that are fearful of being vulnerable.

I was inspired by conversations among friends and family, articles and blog posts, books like Brené Brown’s, Daring Greatly, and personal anecdotes from my amazing and brave patients. All of these encounters helped put the feelings I was trying to acknowledge into tangible thoughts; I’ve built up a wall to “stay strong” when all along practicing vulnerability has made me feel stronger than ever. 

How will I continue to nurture this in the new year? With compassion (and oftentimes a shaky voice) I’ll keep communicating how I really feel, I’ll honor my energy and not give it away to those that drain it. I won’t deny my emotion in order to avoid confrontation. I’ll continue to meet the needs of those I love while making sure my needs are being heard and met as well. I will continue to cultivate balance, reciprocity, and deeper connection and understanding in my relationships. I’ll make time to breathe, laugh, sing, and play with abandon. I’ll step out of my sometimes too comfortable shadow and follow my curiosity, away from the path of fear. I’ll tap into my courage. I’ll fall down and get back up. I’ll continue to show up for myself and be seen, because once we’re seen, our greatest attributes, ideas, creativities, and accomplishments are one step closer to seeing the light. 

Care to join me? 🙂

 

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10 thoughts on “My vulnerability is showing…

  1. I never felt as though I had a choice about being vulnerable. It’s just how I’m wired. But I was never smart enough to ‘figure it out’ at your age; to try and navigate the world with that quality and – and – mindfulness. Kudos to you, Colleen. And many blessings in 2016! Your life will turn out just as you envision it, with all necessary growth curves thrown in, just to keep it interesting! <3

  2. Angie says:

    ok, here goes. …Vulnerability has been a difficult concept for me to grasp for several reasons. I thought it meant appearing weak and admitting that I might possibly not have it all together. Some recent situations required me to be vulnerable which showed me that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather strength and courage. I continue to explore this concept as well as being true to my authentic self. I can only be who I am, nothing more or less. What I will add in 2016 is ask for help and know it is ok to do so….and self care 🙂

  3. Madiba :D says:

    I feel the ability to be open and truthful about the deepest hurts cleanses the inner self. Being vulnerable to life’s difficult moments will forever be challenging, but hopefully valuable lessons can be learned .
    I hope for the year ahead for me, and those I care about and love, I can be open and honest with my feelings instead of the protective method of keeping them inside.
    Colleen you are wise beyond your years, and I’m so grateful that you are a huge part of my life. Thank you for such an inspired writing.

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