Last week I experimented with something on Facebook. I took a big breath, dug deep into my gut to confront my fear, and allowed myself to be vulnerable.
If you are a regular reader, you know that I blog about my personal challenges and the things I struggle with. In other words, I practice being vulnerable on a regular basis. The reason I have been fairly fearless in talking about my personal life is that those stories allow me to share my experience and how to alleviate the stress of those challenges.
However, what I learned from this Facebook experiment is NOT a lesson in how to avoid, counteract or alleviate stress. This time, the lesson was is about embracing the discomfort of being vulnerable!
The thought of this may bring up butterflies in your stomach. That is okay. It brings butterflies to my normally serene self as well!
With that notion in mind, you may be asking, “if even the thought of being vulnerable brings up anxiety, why in the world would I allow myself to be open about it???”
There is a very, simple reason why – it will help you be a stronger person.
VULNERABILITY BUILDS RESILIENCE
Just like any other strength-building exercise, allowing yourself to show your vulnerability takes practice. And as you practice you become stronger.
The fear that most of us experience associated with being vulnerable is that we will appear weak, not strong. But, let me turn that notion upside down for you. What does it take to be vulnerable? It takes courage! And how do we look at courageous people in society? We look at them as strong!
Use this formula in your thinking:
Being vulnerable = courage
Courage = strength
Strength comes with practice/ repetition
Practice/ repetition = resilience
VULNERABILITY SHOWS YOUR HUMANITY
Because I am one of those people who talks with A LOT of other people, I have learned that all people have their insecurities. We all have things we could use a little support with. We all have emotional needs. It’s part of being HUMAN.
When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, it shows to others that you are human – and so are they. There is an incredible freedom in accepting yourself, vulnerabilities and all. There is a deep sense of relief when we finally take down the walls of false pretense that go hand-in-hand with trying to appear invulnerable.
The courageous act of showing our vulnerability also gives others the motivation to find freedom and relief when they take down their walls of protection against looking vulnerable. Thus, you are not only giving yourself a gift, but you are giving a gift to others as well.
YOU OPEN YOURSELF TO ACCEPTING SUPPORT, ENCOURAGEMENT AND LOVE
Finally, but most importantly, you open yourself to accepting the support, encouragement and love of others!
In my experimental Facebook post I asked people for prayers for three things. I asked for prayers for my father who has cancer, I asked for prayers for my husband who is having health challenges, and I asked for prayers for the growth of my business.
For some people, this type of request is not anxiety-provoking in the least. I have friends who ask for prayers on Facebook all the time. But, for me, it was very, very hard. I am extremely private about my spirituality. If you look back through the dozens of blogs I have written, you will not find any mention of prayer or spirituality. It’s not something I talk about openly.
It was also hard for me to say that I need prayers for my business and my husband. I had so much fear that people would think that my business and/ or marriage are in jeopardy (neither of those are the case). Interestingly enough, there were people who reacted in exactly that way. I had numerous people ask me if I’m okay or tell me that they are worried about me. These responses were made with such love and concern that they made feel supported and cared for!
And there is the most important lesson learned in my experiment in vulnerability:
By allowing myself to be vulnerable I allowed myself to be available to receive the love and support of others!
This was shown not only by the handful of people who expressed concern and worry. But, it was also shown by the 100+ people who gave me “likes” and “loves” and supportive comments! If putting myself out there to be vulnerable means that I am blessed with the support and prayers of over 100 people, I’ll take it!
Remember, having a supportive community is very important for stress management! You can read more about that in my Support Tribe blog series:
Build your strength!
Gather Your Tribe!
With All My Affection,
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