Tuesday, October 30, 2012
I am not afraid of much. I embrace change. I have lived in more states than some visit. I have kayaked during a deluge, zip lined over a rain forest, and hiked down a mountain after dark. There is something, however, that can make my heart race, cause me to break out into a sweat, and turn my stomach. The physiological response I get from the mere thought of it has influenced my relationships and halted my growth. I would rather jump out of an airplane or ride in a race car during the Indy 500 than be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable is frightening. Sharing your life and experiences makes you feel as if you’ve handed over an arsenal of how to hurt you in the worst way imaginable. The thought of being emotionally open with others releases a floodgate of tormenting questions. Will they use this information against me? Will they share it with someone? Will they minimize my hurt? Will this change their perception of me? Will they think my story is too sordid and painful and walk away? Will this change our relationship?
Experiencing anxiety at the thought of being vulnerable is normal. It is scary to allow someone into your intimate, emotional space. However, being vulnerable—in healthy circumstances—is beneficial and ultimately, necessary to your growth. Vulnerability can show you beauty and peace in their most sincere forms. It can strengthen relationships and provide a much-needed sense of community and support. In addition to forging a trust- and love-filled bond with others, being vulnerable leads you one step closer to freedom. The painful, emotional associations you've clutched are released. Hurts and fears no longer control your life and boss you around. Sharing your stories can give you the boost of power and confidence needed to move forward.
Vulnerability is not simple. It’s uncomfortable and scary. Yet, when you have loving people in your life who are committed to your well-being and truly value your relationship, it is far more advantageous to take that leap. Give yourself permission to release what has held you back. Invest in your relationships by trusting. Allow yourself to be wrapped in the support that you need, but have refused to accept. Step out of your own way, let go, and become one step closer to being completely free.
Even though I would still prefer jumping out of a plane or going 200 mph on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, I made a promise to press through my temporary heart racing, outbreak of sweat, and turning stomach to invest in myself enough to be vulnerable. I made this promise because being healthy has become much more important to me than being comfortable. In order to live a life of freedom I have to do what is required to be free.