One of the biggest challenges we face as human beings is the process of avoiding vulnerability. This is mostly because “it hurts” to be vulnerable. So to avoid being “hurt” we develop layers and layers of protection to keep us safe. As Brené Brown puts it, “to be vulnerable means to show up and be seen”. How often we try to hide from ourselves and the world around us. What some do not want to see makes the wounded feel invisible.
My shift began gradually. It took me a while to understand that it is okay to allow myself to speak up and stand for what I believe is true to me. For that I have gained healthy relationships and for most I have lost. It is the loss that I grieve and the gain I celebrate. However, I have to admit I feel exposed and vulnerable making new connections, now that I am no longer the little girl who was constantly told to “be quiet”, “not good enough”, or shamed by loved ones. Now I am an unchained adult who has made the choice to “speak up” and embrace parts of me, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Today I own my story and I am writing a brave new beginning. I am becoming visible.
“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection”
~ Brené Brown
Some consider vulnerability as weakness. Years ago, I had a male friend tell me that his mother had warmed him against girls who cry. This he told me during the hours of my deepest darkest grief. Mothers teach daughters to hide their emotions and fathers teach their sons to numb their emotions, at times this is the opposite. Yet those parents expect love and connection when they need the most from someone they trained to “shut off” and “get over it”. As a psychotherapist, I see the struggles and the strengths. I also see the courage one has to sit with a stranger and talk about their vulnerability. I admire them for working towards “unchaining”.
“Overcoming difficulties leads to courage, self-respect, and knowing yourself”
~ Alfred Adler
5 simple things that will help you unchain yourself
3. Journal your thoughts, however intrusive they may be. Healing beings in the release.
4. Connect with nature. Take nature walks or listen to the sounds of nature such as
birds chirping and water flowing.
5. Movement such as dance and yoga helps shift the stagnant energies in the body.
These 5 steps have been vital in my growth. I encourage each one of you to take the time to look within and gain the courage to explore yourself. Get to know yourself. Understand what makes you. Release what blocks you. Share your light in this multiverse. Remember that it's connection, love, creativity, compassion, and empathy that make us unique as human beings.
Caroline Fernandes is a holistic integrative psychotherapist & a wellness life coach.