on vulnerability.

everything is full.

I’ve sat in a lot of circles this year; hands at my heart, eyes gently closed, feet pressing upon a hardwood floor. We always start off as strangers who come together in vulnerability, and end up as friends.

Last weekend I recognized that somewhere along the way, we’ve learned that it’s dangerous to be vulnerable, that we shouldn’t risk being seen.  Our voices have been quieted in many ways throughout our lives, and somewhere, we’ve learned to keep our pains silent and to suffer quietly in the secrecy of our hearts.  We’ve internalized messages that we are supposed to show up as nicely wrapped packages, organized, happy, and unflawed. We believe we’re supposed to experience life so effortlessly that we feel discouraged when things get hard.

We might have lived lifetimes of saying we are fine when actually, we feel lonely.  When we are actually scared, deeply unhappy, tired, anxious, or hurt.  We mask ourselves in busy-ness, numbing, perfectionism, over/under-eating, alcohol, and drugs.  And we wear cloaks of perfection or indifference to replace our deep rooted fears of being negatively judged, falling short, or feeling inadequate. We harm ourselves through the voice of our inner critic or avoid trying because of the risk of failure. We might resist vulnerability out of fear of what would happen if we opened up.

And while vulnerability can mean many things for different people, for me, it is about uncertainty, risk, and exposing the truest parts of ourselves.  Vulnerability is about our ability to sit with discomfort, name it, and grow in it. It’s about being seen for who we are, especially when it’s hard and when we feel like we are crumbling; especially when it feels like no one could understand.  And I believe this matters because when we close ourselves off to this emotional risk, we start to feel alone.  We feel like something is wrong with us; we feel inadequate, broken, disconnected, and not enough.

 

 

 

 

I think that if you sit on the floor with someone and listen as they talk about what they most fear, how badly it hurt to lose someone they loved, and how difficult it can be to live in their body and mind; we would begin to realize we are all the same.  We hurt in the same ways and seek the same sense of connection, approval, and belonging from others; the similarities in our hearts are greater than the differences that divide us.  And the more people I sit with, the more I realize that the cracks in our hearts are the areas in which we can allow more love in.

This is your gentle reminder that we don’t have to do any of this alone; that we all have a need to feel connected to and nurtured by others.  And what I know is that our relationships and connections to one another help us to stay anchored to the shore when the waves are raging inside and trying to tear us away.  I invite you to give yourself permission to be messy, to be a work of art, to change your mind, and to speak your heart.  I encourage you to make mistakes and learn from them.  To rest when things get hard.  And please know that you can speak your truth and still be scared.  You can feel alone and not know what to do with it; you can be sad and tired, and still okay.  You can be not okay while still holding on.  I invite you to open up to how you feel and honor who you are; mistakes, unknowns, insecurities and all.

 

 

 

 

 

and if there is no one in your circle yet, I would be happy to sit there with you.

we can start off as strangers and end up as friends.

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5 thoughts on “on vulnerability.

  1. I don’t know what the best way to reply to this is (email, comment, etc). I’ve been subbed to your blog for several years after randomly coming across it when starting mine. You’ve written some deep shit on some tough, yet beautiful and important subjects.

    This one is seriously perfect timing for me as I’m in the midst of being vulnerable with my feelings and my life with a girl I’ve been seeing and have developed strong feelings for. Oddly enough, we’ve both taken this weekend to let our minds relax away from each other while we each do some serious self-reflection about ourselves and our still fairly fresh relationship.

    You’ve given me another point of view to consider on top of organizing my thoughts and feelings and emotions. It’s scary. But it’s necessary.

    Thank you.

    I don’t personally know you, but I hope you’re doing wonderful in your life.

    Take care, Jason

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    1. Hey Jason,

      Your comment/response was the best thing to wake up to earlier this morning. Thank you so much for your kind words and continuing to read what I write, even after all these years. Moments like these really make me appreciate the time I put into writing, especially when knowing that it resonates with other people too. It’s always a nice reminder that we are humans, experiencing the same things.

      I hope you’re taking this weekend to deeply reflect on what is best for you and how you’re doing right now. I think the best thing we can offer another person in a relationship is deep understanding of ourselves. I’m glad that it was perfect timing for you and that you’re working through your thoughts and feelings. Although I don’t know you personally, it’s such an honor to have a place in your life.

      I hope you have a wonderful Sunday, friend. Thank you for brightening mine :)

  2. Great post, it was a pleasure to read it & it rings so true. As a therapist I love holding that sacred space for my clients (and even my loved ones when not working) to be vulnerable- people are really so beautiful and brave. But I rarely allow myself to be so vulnerable (except to my long suffering therapist 😊) and I forget that my loved ones want to see those parts of me, unguarded & uncompromised.
    Thank yoy for the reminder!

  3. Today I took the time to be with my wife, to do everything she wanted to do and help her with the little projects I’ve been putting off, it was warm and refreshing to see her eagerly learn and use the tools I use for my personal projects. Today I listened to her instead of my own selfish desires to do my own little tasks around the house. Thank you for writing such a beautiful piece. I sit now relaxing after spending the day with this woman I share my life with and I’ve learned to slow down and share her needs and wants and to get complete satisfaction from doing what she wants.. Thank you Jessica.

  4. Jessica,
    As usual, your posts come at the most unique time that it is almost eerie (in a good way), because it is so close to feelings that I have been trying to cope with. Your posts make me sit back and try to absorb the meanings that you put so much time into sharing with us. You have something very special and a presence that is very calming along with welcoming that allows us to feel our feelings and accept ourselves whatever flaws we may think we have. I look forward to your posts because they are enlightening and refreshing to read! Thank you for all your thoughtful and kind words!

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