“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
Last week I was fortunate enough to have my parents staying with me for a week. I don’t know if I’ve written about my parents before, but I have to say that they are two of my favourite people in the entire world. I look up to them and always have. After they left on Friday I immediately missed them. I also experienced a deep sense of gratitude for the connections I have today with family and friends, and here is why …
Trapped in the cocoon of fear
For many years I felt like a caterpillar trapped inside its cocoon. No matter where I went, or what I did, I was encased in a protective layer. It was a silhouette that forever framed me and allowed me to be a surface version of myself. One who pretended like everything was okay; smiling and washing away any hint of vulnerability because to be vulnerable meant to be honest and this meant having raw and, at times, difficult conversations. The ones that made me squirm just thinking about them.
My strategy, instead, was not to think about them, and not to have them. That way, I was free from rejection, abandonment and any other disastrous consequence that was bound to be inflicted on me. Instead of being open to vulnerability, I remained within my cocoon; keeping my truths hidden, with nowhere to go. Within these confines I was safe. It was far easier to be a poster version of myself. That way, I could pick and choose how it all looked. Over time, though, the poster began to fray and took on a shade of ashen grey, until all that remained was a shadow of my true self.
“…Without mud, you cannot have a lotus flower. Without suffering, you have no ways in order to learn how to be understanding and compassionate…. Happiness is the lotus flower, and the suffering is the mud. So the practice is how to make use of the suffering, make use of the mud, to create the flower, the happiness, and this is possible.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
As there is no lotus, without the mud, without a cocoon, there is no butterfly. It wasn’t until I forced open my cocoon and allowed my core self to shine that my world began to change. This meant having the courage to be open to vulnerability and letting go of the need to act a certain way, or impress people.
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” Brené Brown, Daring Greatly
Today I choose to turn up and have those difficult conversations that make me feel sick with anxiety. It’s about being true to myself and knowing that when I am the best version of me, the one that is honest and loving towards myself, the words that spill forth from my mouth will also be honest, and loving to others.
When we put time and effort into relationships and talk honestly with those we love, it opens up the level of communication and allows conversation to flow effortlessly. Within this space there is no intention and no motivation. We are not trying to get anything from anyone. Being transparent with those we love also enables open channels of communication and, in offering this space to others, we are providing them with a safe space to be vulnerable. Here, beautiful friendships blossom and long lasting relationships are formed.
This week, make an effort to open up to someone and speak your truth. Be willing to break free of your cocoon and choose to be vulnerable, and be seen.