The Fear (& Power) of Vulnerability
Last week I spent 4 days at a conference, which my colleagues so aptly refer to as the “feelings” conference. I was expecting to go to a couple of knowledge building workshops and learn some of the latest and greatest counseling techniques.
Boy - was I off! Imagine, 300 plus psychotherapists, psychologists and psychiatrists coming together in one small room and talking about feelings. There were no workshops - only 4 straight days of RECEIVING group therapy from the best psychotherapists in the world.
I was scared shitless! As soon as I arrived at the ‘feelings’ conference and realized what I had gotten myself into, my body tensed up and I felt like I had a small tire wrapping my shoulders, constricting my chest and crushing my insides.
During the first group session - I told my group that I was afraid.
I had a deep FEAR that these intuitive and experienced psychotherapists would see right through me.
I was afraid that they would recognize everything inside of me that I try to hide so often. I was scared that I would be found out - they would see my ugly, my pretty, my sad, my fear and then would continue to call me out on my shit.
They did call me out on my shit…and quickly. If my colleagues thought that I was hiding my deeper feelings and covering something up - they called me out. They made me reach deeper and truly feel my feelings.
It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done.
It was ALSO amazing and freeing and eye-opening.
Truly life changing.
You know what amazed me the most - these colleagues of mine saw my true feelings (the good, bad and ugly), but they never left me. They stood with me through these feelings, they held space for me and they hugged me with tears and true love when we said our good-byes.
As I was heading home, I realized that my fear was never about my colleagues discovering who I really was…
My real FEAR was that they WOULD NOT see right through me - that they WOULD NOT see all of me.
My FEAR was that I wouldn’t be able to connect to them, because I wouldn’t have the strength to open up, be vulnerable and let them see me. I was scared they wouldn’t see my messy side, my sad side, my happy side and my loving side.
The truth is that when my colleagues saw all the sides of me, when I was truly vulnerable with them - they connected with me more, they liked me more, and they actually loved me.
The connections that I made with my colleagues in 4 short (but long) days outweighs the connections that I have with friends I have had for decades.
Today, as I write this - I find myself missing them and wishing I could connect to them right now. I have a true love for them because they opened up to me and I saw their raw and sometimes ugly feelings - and I didn’t want to leave them, I wanted to embrace them.
It is truly scary to be raw and vulnerable, to share our true selves with others.
What if they leave us, what if they don’t like us, what if it’s too much?
It is a great risk.
It may be too much, the other person may not be able to handle it or it may make them feel uncomfortable.
When you are able to vulnerable and true to yourself and others - you open yourself up to true love, true passion and true intimacy. You find connections that you never thought possible. You love yourself more, and you find that you can love others more.
True intimacy only comes with true vulnerability.
After this experience I am finding more courage every day to be more vulnerable, and every day I am finding more and more love.
I hope that you will join me in this experience. I hope that you will be vulnerable with yourself and your partner. Show your partner....
....no....show yourself who you really are and how beautiful that person really is!
I send you strength so that you will be strong enough to hold a place for your partner when they are at their good, bad and ugly. You will let them know that they are human and you love them and will continue to love them through their struggles. When they push you away in shame, anger or fear - you will have the strength to tell them that you ain't leaving!**
Because this is what will make you a truly passionate and intimate person & couple.
Remember, ACTION CREATES CHANGE. I would love to hear what action you are taking to create change, comment below and I’ll make sure to reply back to personally!
Valerie Kolick, therapist and relationship expert has created this blog to help couples and individuals create happiness and joy in their marriages and lives. If this is your first time here, LEARN MORE here and don’t forget to Download Your FREE Extraordinary Relationship Workbook.