25 October 2013

[Excruciating] Vulnerability

vulnerability is something that I really struggle with

I've known this for a while, but I never really knew. Only recently have I realized how much I close myself off; I have an image of who my "perfect self" would be, and I find it difficult to accept anything less than that. I had always blamed this on my personality or other factors, but it was time that I understand that this is something that could be fixed. My lack of vulnerability constantly weighed me down and I can't understand why it's taken me so long to buckle down and figure out how to fix this... tragic flaw.


Conveniently, three days after I had a little breakdown- in which I realized how little I allow myself to be truly vulnerable with, well, anyone- I found a TED Talk by Brene Brown and felt this connection with her. She spent almost 10 years of her life studying the difference between those who are vulnerable and those who are not. Of course, she found that those who take the plunge, who are open to being imperfect or wrong, and who embrace who they really are were happier. They were loved and they loved whole-heartedly. And from that vulnerable state, these people embraced every aspect of themselves to create in life rather than just live.

But the thought of being vulnerable is painful... Excruciating actually.

So I decided to look at what positives would come from being vulnerable, rather than the uncomfortable negatives. And I realized that when I let people see me (instead of pretending-to-be-perfect me) I was more genuine. People seem more interested in what I have to say and what's on my mind. And while I hate admitting my flaws... or bringing up my hobbies that I may be embarrassed about- like the fact that I'm a college kid but would rather spend a Friday night in with my friends and a chick flick than go out- I'm connecting with people who understand me and who appreciate me even with these quirks. 

And, even though I still don't have the courage to go talk to the cute guy in my chemistry.. and bio.. and pharmacy lecture (same major, how about that?), I can definitely tell a change in my relationships already. Not only that, but there is a change in my mood. Instead of giving off this "I don't care because I don't have feelings" facade, I'm trying to notice and care about others in the way that I've been cared for. I've been able to go out of my way to check on friends. Simple words of encouragement and "thinking of you" texts are so simple, but were so not something I really thought about before. 

Being vulnerable with others has helped me be vulnerable with myself, too. I've found that it's important to accept my flaws and understand why other people care for me. What is it that makes them want to spend time with me? What do they love about me, and how can I love that about myself, too? There is so much self-hate, and striving for some unreachable "perfect" person no-doubt adds to that.  

"[We] are wired for struggle but worthy of love and acceptance"

The thought of being courageous (from the latin root, whole-hearted) instills in me fear. I've always been the reserved, bottle-it-up type of person. I'm never cold or harsh, it just isn't in my nature to be vulnerable and open up. Because, really, everyone has their own problems so who needs mine? Okay I'm joking. But this whole thing is weird, foreign, uncomfortable. But that doesn't mean that it isn't good or that it won't help me to embrace me. 

maybe it isn't all that excruciating, anyways