“Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you’re feeling. To have the hard conversations.” ~Brene Brown
That quote is spot on. And to me, having those hard conversations, being seen as we truly are, expressing our emotions (even the messy, uncomfortable ones), are all part of living a life of substance and authenticity. But of course, we also need to honor where we’re at on this path, because it’s not like we just one day wake up and say, “Okay great, now I have the courage to be vulnerable.” It is a journey.
I also, want to note that being vulnerable doesn’t mean we get to be emotional basket cases whenever we feel like it. We must call forward our emotional intelligence + discernment when we’re working with vulnerability. It’s not about raging on someone or crying anytime, anyplace, just because we’ve committed to being vulnerable. We are human. We will have triggers and sh*t will come up. Utilizing the tools that we have in our inner toolbox is so key. Pausing to breathe, taking a walk outside, doing Ego Eradictor kriya or even doing 5 minutes of writing to move the energy is really supportive to shift the reactivity.⠀
For example, if I start screaming at my husband, not much will be accomplished… but if I come from a place of vulnerable love and grace, it will be so much easier for him to hear me. It’s the same thing with work relationships. If I come to these relationships open, intentional and heart-centered, people have an easier time receiving my message because they feel the vulnerability and deeper intention of where I’m coming from. They open, and we share on a more heart-based level.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this and the other dynamics that go into vulnerability as I prepare to visit my parents. I want to go there with the intention of being vulnerable – this can be really hard with my family, as they’re more “keep it together” type of people. But I want to be myself and share what’s really going on for me – that’s more real, more human, more impactful. There’s so much healing that can come from vulnerability and I know a door would be opened with my mom if I told her everything I really felt, both good and challenging. I want my mom to see my vulnerable side because I want to live in the truth that I don’t have it together all the time – life’s not as perfect as it appears on Instagram. The thought of these vulnerable conversations with her is intimidating. But I’ll do what I can to be soft with her, and brave in my sharing, so I can create the possibility of this being an access point for us to connect on a deeper level.
Ideas for preparing for vulnerability:
Create space. Before I enter a vulnerable conversation, I find it crucial to clear out the stuff that might show up and cloud my vulnerability – maybe that looks like my ego, fears, or insecurities. I like to do three minutes of the Breath of Fire, as it moves energy and clears space within me. It helps me get out of my mind and into my heart.
Having a clear intention. I like to set an intention before I express my vulnerability – for example, I’ll tell myself “My heart is guiding me when I share my feelings.” And sometimes it’s more detailed than that. For example, “What would this conversation look like if it were successful? It would look like me sharing from heart, my husband hearing me, and the two of us solving our issue in a loving way.”
Keep breathing. I get really nervous before and during vulnerable talks, so continuous deep breaths is essential, as it’s almost impossible to be in “fight, flight or freeze” mode when we’re breathing deeply.
Asking for support. Before my leap (or sometimes baby step) into vulnerability, I pray. I ask God to support me in my vulnerability so I can have the meaning-full talk I need to have. I’ll also share my above intention during this prayer.
Send light to the person you’ll be talking to. Vulnerability can be a collaborative experience, especially when it involves the ears, mind and heart of another. So to energetically prepare them for our interaction I feel myself sending them light, and envision them surrounded in this life. This not only helps them enter our shared space in a more light, loving and open way, but helps me view them as more of a collaborator than opponent.
Centering in your heart. As I mentioned above, I think it’s crucial to get into a heart-centered space before the sharing of vulnerability. A way to do this is by closing our eyes, and envisioning a golden light pouring into and emanating out of our heart. I love to really connect to what that feels like.
Let the other person share. Once we enter a vulnerable conversation, we have to remember that it isn’t all about us – vulnerability is often a two way street. So, we have to hold the space for the other to tap into their vulnerability, and listen with our heart to what they have to say, all the while doing our best to veer away from judgment and harsh language.
Commit to letting go of attachment to results, and trusting that what needs to happen will happen. I truly believe that whatever happens during a vulnerable encounter is for our highest good… no matter what. Even if the encounter ends in a way we don’t think we want or need, it’s always for our highest good. So I like to tell myself before I enter said interaction, “I don’t know what will happen, but I trust that I’ll be okay.”
As Brene Brown says, “Vulnerability is not winning of losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control of the outcome.”
Don’t take the result personally. Some people aren’t ready to receive our vulnerability and that’s not about us, that’s about them. So even if we get an undesired result after summoning the courage to be vulnerable, let’s not allow that to stop us from being vulnerable. I suppose this is really where our true courage comes in.
Have discernment with whom we share our vulnerability. With everything said, there’s going to be times where we instinctively know a certain individual isn’t currently a good recipient for our vulnerability. If we sense that, it could be a sign that we need to consider whether or not that person should be in our life at this time.
When I’ve gone through the process above (which honestly takes less than five minutes), let my guard down and shared what’s really going on for me, I’ve experienced some of the most transformational interactions of my life. And these interactions weren’t always difficult.
Sometimes they were just with a fellow vulnerable soul who was also in a space to share their un-perfect depths. Perfection isn’t relatable, so when we share all the raw stuff that’s happening we can change and impact others and ourselves in profound ways. I love talking about the real stuff that’s going on - it allows us to see the wild layers of the human condition we’re all existing in and it lifts us up in substantial ways. In these moments, the masks come off and we see the truths of life.
Thinking about these truths of the human condition reminds me of this crazy-vulnerable work I had to participate in when I went to the University of Santa Monica. Multiple times a day, we had to sit in trios and share many of our deepest experiences. This could be unbelievably uncomfortable but it also taught me how to open and share. Talk about vulnerability. In so many ways, that’s why the people I went to USM with are some of my greatest friends – we really know one another.
And beyond being vulnerable with others, I want to remind us that it’s just as important to be vulnerable with ourselves. When I don’t allow myself to be sad or feel angry, or experience any of the other needed emotions, it’s harder for me to be vulnerable with another. We treat others the way we treat ourselves, so if we need to cry, let’s find a safe space to cry, if we need to scream, let’s find a private safe to scream. And throughout it all, let’s not forget to talk to that little child inside who might feel abandoned, or in need of more nourishment and attention. Carve out time for that child so they feel safe to be vulnerable.
If these ideas are feeling overwhelming, please know that I get it… they feel overwhelming to me too. But few things are easy when we’re just setting off - we just need to stay on the path of vulnerability and eventually our steps will feel less trepidatious and more natural. As Alanis Morissette said so beautifully, “I found that the more truthful and vulnerable I was, the more empowering it was for me.”
As an experiment, let’s all commit to courageously sending ourselves into tomorrow committed to being lovingly and unabashedly vulnerable for 24 hours. Say what your heart is really wanting. Don’t hold back tears of joy. Say yes to finding a safe space to fully and freely feel if sorrow comes calling. Do something new and different that your spirit has been asking to try. Tell that person how you really feel in a tone that is authentically infused with love. Try it out. See how it works for you and how it feels inside your body. See what it’s like to have the audacious courage to be vulnerable.
“Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” Brene Brown
p.s. Enter to win the GIVEAWAY for ONE Full Immersion Pass to Attune. Share what Vulnerability means to you and how it's served you and your loved ones. This is valued at $3000. Post your share on IG or Facebook. Tag @living_wholly and #timetoattune. We will draw one lucky winner on August 1. Come on and share with us. Your healing journey supports everyones. Thank you for being vulnerable ;)
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