In order for us to manifest the dreams our soul desires, we must learn how to be vulnerable.
For the majority of my life, I have tried to be someone else. Someone funnier, prettier, skinnier. Someone more confident, more talkative, more popular. Someone better than” boring little me”. Yet, I am now faced with living in the midst of what we call a briar patch. My inner and outer worlds are sharp, prickly, and unfriendly and I wonder why I am struggling?
Brene Brown tells this great story in her audiobook The Power of Vulnerability which I want to share with you today. Yes I KNOW I have mentioned Brene Brown in pretty much every post of late, BUT I am still digesting her powerful information and making sense of it for myself.
FYI: Since vulnerability is this month’s theme, there are a lot more of her ideas to come but I will try and mix it up 😉
Brown tells us that she has quit several of what she calls her “vulnerability shields” – alcohol, sugar and flour. Is she the healthiest person (or bravest?) person alive or what?! In fact, she credits her success in all areas of her life to her decision to quit alcohol simply because abstaining has forced her to be vulnerable.
She then tells us how she went along to her therapist one day and said something along the lines of, give me a pill! She said: “I feel like a turtle without a shell, living in a briar patch.”
With her vulnerability shields all gone, she felt incredibly exposed and was experiencing painful panic attacks. “Give me something to take the pain away!” She was screaming inside. “I can’t deal with living in a briar patch!”
“I have an idea,” pondered her therapist. “Why don’t you get out of the briar patch?”
What does your briar patch look like?
We are all unique so I guess everyone’s briar patch looks different. What is one person’s briar patch could be the next person’s duck-feather pillow.
What we need to do first, is to identify what isn’t working for us in our lives: what is needling us in the back and causing us pain and discomfort?
TRUTH: To get out of the briar patch will take courage, guts and determination. It will require copious amounts of vulnerability.
So it is only natural that the first step to getting out of the briar patch is…
To get to know yourself inclusive of all your insecurities and imperfections.
The fact that I have been carrying around and battling against certain negative beliefs and judgments – about myself and others – is not news to me. I am acutely aware of my shit. I think we all are deep down.
The real question is this: do we have the courage to face our garbage?
Essentially, we need to know ourselves really well. We need to be able to say: “This is who I am, these are my values, my beliefs, my fears, my hopes and my dreams. This is ME so deal with it!”
Affirmation: Today, I am facing my true self with kindness and compassion.
I wanted to share with you the result of the creative exercise from my previous post – revealing our true selves. The goal behind this exercise is for us to start engaging with our own selves on a deeper level; for us to start digging beneath our surface layers and start seeing what lies beneath without judgment. Acknowledging our enemies is the first step in befriending them.
Here is what came out onto the page when I gave this exercise a shot:
My thoughts and feelings:
- a lot of sadness
- joy at times
- hopefulness and
- “I am alone….I am not worthy.”
- “I am UGLY and FAT.”
- “I wish I were someone else.”
My beliefs and judgments:
- I cannot achieve it/this/anything.
- I am not attractive enough to meet men/attract a boyfriend.
- I am unworthy.
- I always fuck things up eventually.
- Thin is more beautiful
- It is important to be comfortable spending time alone YET…
- Being alone is NOT desirable at all – in fact it is kinda weird.
(As you can imagine – I really found the strengths part tough but this part of the exercise I found really uplifting.)
- striving for more
- life-long learner
- NEVER satisfied
- live in my head – not present
- can be passive especially when it comes to putting my goals/dreams into action
At this point in the excercise, I noticed something interesting.
I realised that I was holding onto the belief and judgment that it was weird to spend time alone. However, when I listed my strengths the first two things that popped into my head were the fact that I am an introspective and thoughtful person and I absolutely stand behind that as a primary strength. If I have a problem that I need to sort out and work through, the first thing I do is turn to my journal A.K.A myself. I think about and stew over it. I write it out. Now, I also paint it out. I have to turn inwards before I can verbalise it and share it with someone else.
We could probably label this inconsistency in thinking as incongruency: where our beliefs butt-heads with our actual truth. If we are thinking and living in an incongruent fashion, then what we are really doing is blindsiding ourselves. We will never be able to get it right. We will never be able to get what it is we truly desire and deserve.
There are some other incongruencies in my thinking that I will point out also.
The fact that I have highlighted pessimism, being fearful and not being present in my life as a weakness but having these things reflected in the way I choose to think and believe each day. In turn, I recognise that I have the potential to be kind and compassionate with others, but I do not treat myself in that manner.
I am not my own best friend, but I am my own worst nightmare!
This is why it is helpful to write this stuff down, to face it and really see it for what it is without judgment. While working through such an exercise like this can be quite confronting, it also helps to create a sense of distance between us and the negative stuff we carry around from day to day.
The good news is…we can turn it around.
With some effort and determination, we can get to the root of what is causing us to live, think and act in a way that does not serve us.
“Beliefs have the power to create and the power to destroy. Human beings have the awesome ability to take any experience of their lives and create a meaning that disempowers them or one that can literally save their lives.” – Tony Robbins
This is where the last part of the exercise comes into play, creating our vunerability goals: how can we turn our negative stuff into positive steps forward?
My vulnerability goals:
- learn to be there for ME no matter what
- to turn my fears into ACTION opportunities
- to show up – be all in!
- be comfortable with my choices
- be PROUD of who I am, how I look and what I stand for
- to let others in and not hold them at arms length
- learn to sit with uncertainty and have faith in my intuition