How vulnerable are you in your life?
Do you have someone in your life who knows you at your very soul? Knows you for all your perceived failures and foibles? Have you allowed someone in that knows the authentic you?
I am blessed to say that I have allowed myself to be vulnerable and authentic with my husband, Mat. I didn't with my first husband. I didn't feel that I could let down my guard completely. I wanted to appear strong and on top of things. I didn't want him to see my flaws. In saying that, I am sure that it wasn't the reason solely for the end of that marriage.
However I made a conscious choice that when I fell in love again I would be vulnerable. Yes I made the choice that even though one marriage didn't work, it wasn't going to stop me from finding my Mr Right the 2nd time. So I made the choice, as I had discovered the queen of vulnerability Brene Brown by this stage, that I was going to be vulnerable and authentically Karen in my next relationship. Yes it was scary to date again and then to get to the point of saying "I love you" and risk rejection. Vulnerability is also like an onion, it has many layers. You keep peeling them back to realise there is more to share to be truly vulnerable.
Over the last few years, since I took a redundancy package, things have emerged. I have been on the most amazing and scary soul filled transformation. I have had to look at things that caused triggers in me and were in dark places. I remember one day being in a dark place and saying to my husband Mat that I didn't want to live like that any more. It wasn't that I was considering suicide, it was that I didn't want to be in that dark place any more. I wanted to find more light in my life. I wanted to find joy again. It was painful to have to share with someone that things were that dark for me. Our inner thoughts can be hard to share. But since that day, things have slowly turned around. I feel it was a turning point.
I sought the help of my GP who recommended a great psychologist who I visited about 6 times. I bared things that I didn't want to share with others. Each time you talk about them, they get easier to share. I had been carrying this illogical belief around that related to something physical I was experiencing. I believed a physical symptom I was experiencing was something bad cause that was what happened to my mum.
So I had this stitch like feeling in my tummy. It came and went but it bothered me. My mum experienced some symptoms in her back which were misdiagnosed which ultimately ended up being secondary cancer. I had a fear that maybe something was wrong as I was also dealing with some anxiety. Great combo! I however didn't have a lot of faith in traditional medicine due to the misdiagnosis. So I saw a naturopath. I saw other non traditional healers. I saw a physic whilst in Bali. It took until this year for me to front up at the GP and go down the path of seeing if there was anything. This week I finally got around to having a colonoscopy and gastroscopy. So far only some small polyps and some biopsies taken, but the specialist doesn't think there's anything to be concerned about. Phew. Sigh of relief. Why did I wait so long??
I finally faced some of my deepest fears and concerns. I used to think these concerns were blown out of proportion in my head because of Mum's experience. I thought I was paranoid. I also avoided the feelings for a long time. I didn't want to appear weak or vulnerable. I hoped these physical sensations would go away, but the longer you ignore them or avoid them, they keep coming back. The body is amazing and until we heal the emotional scars, those physical things keep coming back. I feel that now I've dealt with things from a physical perspective, I can move forward. I know and trust my body. Before the procedure I felt in my gut that nothing major was wrong. Sometimes you have to allow your guard to come down and face reality. Put on your big girl pants and do what needs to be done, however scary.
It's not always easy. However I feel that by allowing myself to be vulnerable, it has made me stronger. No you are not paranoid (what I was telling myself) for checking on something physical. However someone once told me you really know when something isn't right with your body. Trust yourself.
I also love the work of Louise L Hay. She says that abdominal cramps are fear. Stopping the process of life. Yes that was me. Now to some degree I feel that I believe in the process of life. By having to get checked out, I have trusted the process of life. I am exactly where I need to be. I can now put this behind me and be at peace.
Vulnerability comes by letting our guards down. By sharing our innermost thoughts, feelings and allowing someone to see the whole beautiful imperfectly perfect human that you are, warts and all. Don't be afraid to do that, as Brene says, it is the only way to truly experience connection and in this day and age, it is something that we all crave.
Be vulnerable. Be authentically you - warts and all.