In this beautiful article from our Summer 2018 issue, Amanda Collins invites us to open up to the power of allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. You can pick up a copy of the magazine at your local stockist or subscribe here.
Opening to the Gifts of Vulnerability
At peace with being YOU
By Amanda Collins
I was in my late twenties before I really understood what vulnerability meant and the gifts it offered. It was much easier for me to act positively and say that everything was just fine, rather than share that soft and sacred part of myself with anyone.
Over time I saw the benefits of acknowledging my own vulnerability. My introduction to vulnerability came at a time when I had no choice. My dearest girlfriend became ill and died of cancer, and I experienced a domino effect of grief and sadness. I had no choice but to allow myself to be VULNERABLE. Thank goodness I had people who could hold me and show me that I was safe, even if I felt sad, weak and powerless, and therefore vulnerable.
Another time when I had no choice but to acknowledge my vulnerability was after the birth of each of my children. At such a time no woman is able to do it all herself. By acknowledging this fact and accepting the love and support of others I was able to look at this special time as a gift and an opportunity to go deeper into myself.
I understand why being vulnerable and showing it can be scary. It feels that you are opening yourself up to rejection and it’s natural to react by wanting to protect yourself; but really, a defensive reaction brings more hurt mentally, physically, and emotionally. You remain bound, constrained, and unable to heal and to better know yourself.
I still remember those days when I was just beginning to allow myself to be vulnerable. I was sure that I my friends and others would reject me. I imagined that they would not accept me if I revealed any weakness or need. But the more I did precisely that, the more I discovered that people’s reaction was the complete opposite. We became closer and our relationships became more real.
Do you also feel that being vulnerable will make you seem weak or broken? Let me assure you once again that the opposite will actually happen. You will become more confident, for you are no longer feeling like you are hiding parts of yourself and being a fraud. Imagine the relief and release that will bring as the real you–all of you–emerges!
Benefits of Allowing Yourself to Be Vulnerable:
- Becoming at peace with who you are
- Feeling more grounded
- Experiencing more freedom and less pretense
- Sensing the world as a safer place
- Expanding your heart with self-compassion and forgiveness
- Allowing others to offer emotional support
- Strengthening your nervous and immune systems
- Developing trust, confidence, and a greater sense of self-worth.
- Replacing isolation and loneliness with connection
- Taking back your power to be yourself
- Learning to ask for what you need
Practical Tips For Accepting Your Vulnerability
- Know the light and dark in your self
- Accept that you are worthy to be heard, known and loved
- Be willing to risk expressing your thoughts, feelings, and wishes
- Don’t clench when you sense yourself becoming vulnerable; open instead
- Trust that you can deal with the outcome, no matter what
- Stay connected to yourself
- Remember that everyone else is going through something, too
- Practice with people who help you feel safe
How To Know You Are Not Being Vulnerable:
- You do not have close friendships
- You constantly feel like you are hiding
Sharing your vulnerability takes tremendous courage, but it also allows others to share their pain, as well as their joys, and bring you closer. When you stop worrying what others think of you and stop trying to appear perfect, you will be amazed by the gifts that come to you.