This is my first blog entry and I am a little nervous. For a while now I have felt the urge to write; something inside of me needs to come out! But then thoughts started swirling round in my mind. ‘Write, you? You were never any good at English at school. What do you know about writing? Who is going to want to hear what you’ve got say? You have no qualifications in this field. Who do you think you are? Just write it in a diary and keep it to yourself! ’ And so on and so forth, up rose the stream of self doubt and insecurities. I am sure many people feel a similar sense of foreboding when they decide to put themselves out there, even if it’s just in conversation. It’s scary when you think that people will be seeing a part of you, hearing your opinion, watching you or looking at what you have created, ready to judge and give their two pennies worth! It’s especially scary if you put something out there that’s personal. It means that people will get to see a bit of the real you, not the you that knows how to behave in public and say the right things in social circles. But the deep, authentic you; the you that not many, if any, get to see. It’s scary because underneath it all, we are afraid. Afraid of being judged or criticised by others for being who we are and perhaps even of being ostracised. It is a real fear for so many of us, and unfortunately an all too common occurrence.
This first blog is dedicated to an incredibly brave friend of mine who recently did just that. She opened herself up and told her most personal, intimate story to a room full of strangers. She is someone who is incredibly caring and is dedicated to helping others. She has been to the edge herself but hasn’t fully opened up to many people about this very difficult time of her life, so it was a tremendously brave step for her to take. So the first topic I am going to talk about is vulnerability and putting yourself out there.
For those of you who haven’t yet watched the Brené Brown talk on vulnerability on Netflix, get watching! It’s a great one. Vulnerability is a hot topic at the moment in self-growth circles and for good reason. We are now reaching a time where it seems like the world is spinning out of control. With Trump, Brexit and Climate Change it can be difficult to see light at the end of the tunnel! Not to mention all the daily pressures we face simply trying to hold down a likely stressful job, perhaps a family, pay the bills, keep fit, eat properly and maintain a social life! We have a lot going on in our world today and seem to be juggling to keep it all going. It’s exhausting. That’s where learning how to be vulnerable can help.
It can lift some of that pressure and make you feel just a little lighter. It may seem to some that being vulnerable is a sign of weakness, but as many of us now realise it is in fact a sign of great strength. We are all going through our own stuff, whatever that may be. Most of us, more or less, are having a tough time with something, if nothing else but for the state of our poor planet! But there are so many of us out there who are dealing with hard core issues, such as childhood traumas they still hold inside, subsequently affecting their choices and actions still today, relationship or family issues that can cut deeply or external circumstances that they are struggling to cope with.
Life can be tough, so cut yourself some slack and cut others some slack. It’s OK. It’s OK that you’re not OK. It’s OK that you find things hard or stressful, that you’re feeling anxious or depressed. I can assure you, you are not the only one. Hiding it away inside yourself will not make it go away and will not fix it. It will simply fester inside and eat away at you. Let yourself be heard, let yourself be brave and speak your truth. Find someone you trust and let it all out. Even if you feel you are alone in the world, there is someone out there willing to listen, to help. They may not be a friend or a member of your family; they may be a social worker, nurse, therapist, colleague or a complete stranger. But know that someone is there ready and willing to listen with empathy and compassion.
We just need to take our eyes off the floor and look around; the world is filled with beautiful people who are all too eager to help others. Don’t get bogged down in the fear talk of the media and become afraid of people. It’s true some people may judge you, some may criticize and even say mean things. But just as likely is that others will see the strength it took for you to say or do what you did; they will recognise the pain you held inside and the suffering you have experienced and they will want to help.
Look at the people who surround you, perhaps they have taken this brave step first. There are people who can inspire us to do things we may not want to do or are too afraid of. Things like taking a leap of faith, finding the courage to do what we have been putting off, encouraging us to do the right thing, or being true to ourselves. These people are pure gold and are in your life for a reason. Listen and observe them and we can each help lead each other forwards.
Try not to worry about being judged or criticised as this will only hold you back, keeping you inside yourself like an animal in a cave too afraid to venture out in fear of the unknown world. Yes there are dangers but there is also so much beauty. You will likely feel freer afterwards, powerful and brave that you put yourself out there, warts and all! Be proud that you did, because it shows a tremendous amount of courage to open yourself up and be real. Take that risk, for noone ever succeeded by being shy and holding back. And try not to judge others who do show that courage, for we have no idea how hard it is for some people and what internal battles they are fighting. Now, more than ever, is the time we need to come together, open up and support each other. The world needs it. Be real, be vulnerable, be you.
Sending you my love and support, wherever you are.