My intention for this blog is:
1. To clarify that vulnerability isn’t something to be afraid of. It is a state of being that is, essentially the threshold to growing and expanding ourselves into our fullest potential, or retreating and retracting into, what can feel like stagnating strategies.
2. To help you realize that in the midst of experiencing vulnerability, we are in a pickle, a dilemma—We want to have what we want, and at the same time we want to remain secure and safe from harm and danger—even when it’s only in our imagination.
3. To show you that we have the capacity to grow our choice making muscles, so that when feeling vulnerable, unsure and full of self-doubt, we can choose to see where we are at and where we want to be, and then choose accordingly.
4. To offer the perspective that we are 100% accountable for every choice we make and we are responsible for the outcome of those choices.
5. To help you not feel alone, letting you know that each and every human being faces challenges and dilemmas that bring up feelings of vulnerability. For every one of us, it is uncomfortable, perhaps even painful. And, it grows our capacity for courage, self-respect and eventually self-love.
What Are We Seeking?
We seek to find a path that is safe.
This presumes there is something unsafe—something to be afraid of. Assuming that there is something to fear and something to lose, will lead you further into the seeking, and away from being in the truth—you are safe.
The Experience of Being Vulnerable
How we experience what we call Vulnerability is dependent upon our interpretation of that word. Our interpretations of anything and everything, are based on our experience—not just what happens to us, but it includes what we heard, saw, read, imagined and understood, based on the history we were exposed to.
For most individuals, when we feel vulnerable we feel unsafe. As children, we may have been vulnerable to experiences that were out of control. So, vulnerability came to mean we are weak, powerless, helpless and hopeless. It could include broken promises, ridicule, attack and rejection. No one wants to invite in these experiences. And, so we create strategies to remain invulnerable.
Through the training of our youth we’ve come to learn where it is safe to be. We’ve learned all the strategies and tactics to keep ourselves invulnerable. This is generally in the middle of what can be considered to be your comfort zone. If you imagine a circle, you are smack dab in the middle, feeling comfortable and safe. You feel protected by a cushion of thoughts, feelings and strategies, which you believe eliminates any potential for harm and discomfort.
The Dilemmas of Being an Adult Child
So many of us adults use the same strategies we developed as children, in order to feel safe, in control and invulnerable. Though most of these strategies are effective at allowing us to feel safe, they won’t actually grow our capacity to thrive and to be our own unique expression in the world. These strategies, more often than not, interfere with our desire to connect, to engage and to love. They keep us feeling safe, however, they do not allow us to explore our hearts’ desires; for that could allow potential fears to creep in. This creates a dilemma within every single human being on the planet! Do we choose to remain safe, based on our past trainings and learnings? Or, do we allow ourselves to imagine ourselves truly experiencing our heart’s desires? It’s a dilemma!
Growing Ourselves Up: Choosing to Choose
A dilemma is when we have two wants: One want is to remain immersed in invulnerability. The other want desires fulfillment, fun, and freedom from fears. How do we choose to choose what we choose?
Each of us empowers ourselves to choose what we choose—invulnerability or freedom. A lot of us are fence sitters. We want to have circumstances show up in such a way that the choice is made for us, not by us. And, so we wait, hope and sometimes despair that life isn’t giving us what we want.
Growing Ourselves Up: Who Wants to Do That?
Growing ourselves up requires us to be 100% responsible for the choices we make. It means being 100% accountable for what shows up in our lives. It means we choose to choose consciously, in service to our heart’s desires.
If I want to build a loving connection with people in my life, I need to be 100% responsible for the choices I make, regarding my beliefs, my fears, my perceptions, my history, and my actions. That means no more blaming, shaming, complaining. These are some of the strategies for invulnerability. These are not strategies for loving connection.
1. Notice when and where you experience yourself safe and unafraid. Write down what’s going on in and around you that brings about this quality of being you. For example, I feel most myself when I’m playing with my children, when I’m playing music, when I’m walking in nature, when I’m binging on social media, when I’m complaining about my life… This is you being in the middle of your comfort zone.
2. Notice when and where you begin to experience some restlessness, irritability, discomfort. Notice thoughts, feelings or sensations that showed up that triggered something other than safe and unafraid. For example, I felt scared that I don’t know what I should be doing in my life. My back started to ache and I began to worry I might have arthritis. I remembered the breakup with my last partner and it made me angry. I felt hungry and got anxious about having to cook for myself. In this moment, the impulse of the thought, feeling or body sensation took us out of the middle of our comfort zone.
3. Notice what you do when you are out of the middle of your comfort zone. For example, I take a deep breath. I notice my thoughts and bring myself back to being safe and unafraid. I immerse myself deeper in social media. I vape. I begin whining about how hard my life is. I tell myself it’s okay to be unsure, anxious, and afraid that I don’t know how to be me in this moment. I stay present with wanting to move towards my desire, even though I’m uncomfortable. This is where we begin to notice how we empower ourselves to stay invulnerable, or to empower ourselves to grow our capacity to be in the discomfort and to move through the discomfort.
4. Feel the feeling. Being with the sensations, feelings and thoughts, as they arise, without ignoring and distracting ourselves from them, empowers us to be with all the stuff that gets in the way of us feeling safe and fear-less. Incrementally, we grow our capacity to be comfortable with the discomfort of growing pains.
5. Distinguishing growing pains from… How do we know the difference? When you experience inspiration to be more you—to expand who you are, whatever that means, this is the desire to grow you. When you experience a retraction into worry, fearful imaginings, anxiousness, this is most likely a desire to remain invulnerable. Every single one of us lives with the dilemmas of choosing from either fear or love.
We all face the desire to remain invulnerable and at the same time to connect and to love. We are all facing dilemmas within which we choose from fear and retraction, or from love, inspiration and expansion. Every moment is an opportunity to see you, hear you, know you and choose! There’s no hurry. There’s no right way or wrong way. Just your way!