VULNERABILITY IS NOT VICTIMHOOD

VULNERABILITY IS NOT VICTIMHOOD

Photo Credit: Gustavo Alcantara

 

In my previous blog Vulnerability: Ask & You Shall Receive  I talked about how vulnerability is something that takes courage and strengthens resilience.  This blog is going to be more of a cautionary tale. Being vulnerable and asking for support is very important for peaceful living.  What is even more important is to use that support to build your strength and heal your vulnerability!

 

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN VULNERABILITY AND VICTIMHOOD

 

We all know people who live in a state of what seems to be constant emotional need.  In fact, many of us have been there ourselves. I certainly have! During my graduate school years I was a mess!

 

My point here is not to degrade people who struggle with emotional neediness.  When people feel this way it is because they lack the tools to help themselves feel better!  That’s why I was a mess; I lacked tools. In fact, it was that very thing that motivated me toward the Mindfulness and Mindset journey I’m on today! The journey I share with you in these blogs and through my coaching.

 

Allowing myself to be vulnerable, so that I could benefit from the help of others, is one of the tools I have found to be very helpful in my journey to wellness and living a peaceful life.  That’s why I’m sharing it with you.

 

Recently, a friend of mine was talking to me about her father’s illness and how she was very sad and worried because he was in Intensive Care in the hospital.  After that conversation she texted me and apologized for what she called her, “meltdown.” I honestly did not know what she was talking about.

 

It turns out that she was talking about how she expressed emotions about her father’s illness.   THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF HOW AND WHEN IT IS OKAY TO BE VULNERABLE! It is not a weakness to ask a friend to listen when you have sorrow.

 

On the other hand, I have also had some friends over the years who constantly seem to be in a place of emotional need – and dare I say, “drama,”  In my blog about “Stressful FriendsI talk about how to mindfully communicate with friends who live in a state of complaint.  This is what we want to avoid for ourselves! It is not healthy to live in an ongoing state of negativity and complaint.

 

Again, this is where I differentiate between vulnerability and victimhood:

 

Vulnerability is opening-up, saying you need help, and accepting the help so that you can move through your challenges.

 

Victimhood is complaining over and over again about the same thing, not accepting help and not moving through your challenges.

 

Vulnerabilities may, and often do, resurface.  New situations in your life may also bring up new areas of vulnerability.  Again, this not victimhood. Victimhood is never doing anything but complaining about your vulnerable situation.

 

TOOLS FOR HEALING

 

There are many different Mindfulness and Mindset tools that can be applied to different types of life challenges in order to overcome vulnerability. And, each specific situation will warrant different strategies.  This is where seeking out a skilled coach can help you to figure out the most effective strategy for you to heal and strengthen.

 

But, there are also some general strategies that you can implement to help guide you.  I am going to lay out 4 that are my basic go-tos:

 

  • Meditation & Yoga:  Yes, I will always start with meditation and yoga. These are the mindfulness-based practices that produce the relaxation effect that lays the foundation of peace in my life.

 

  • Asking For Support: In my first “Vulnerability” blog I talk about how important it is to ask for support. Your friends and family, a coach, therapist or spiritual leader will support you if you ask. AND REMEMBER – In these situations, it is always okay to take what you like and leave the rest!  In other words, you don’t have to follow every little bit of advice people give you.

 

  • Affirmations: Positive self-talk is very important! I coach myself all the time with positive self-talk. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves. But, for some reason a lot of us have to make an effort to be good to ourselves.  Here is your permission! Be good to yourself! Shower yourself with kindness!

 

  • Gratitude:  I think of gratitude as a basic need in life. I practice gratitude every day. A habit of gratitude allows you to flood your body with happy hormones like oxytocin, seratonin and dopamine. I find that it helps me keep my life and my life’s challenges in perspective.  

 

 

Go ahead and BE VULNERABLE!  But, do so in a way that allows you to heal and strengthen. Be vulnerable and ask for support.  Be vulnerable in order to become strong.

 

But, don’t wallow in being a VICTIM!

 

What do you need to be vulnerable about today?

 

Are there certain things that you are going on too long about?

 

If so, what can you do to help heal those ongoing vulnerabilities?

 

As always, I am grateful for your comments and shares and follows!  

 

With Much Gratitude!

Jen

 

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VULNERABILITY: ASK & YOU WILL RECEIVE

VULNERABILITY: ASK & YOU WILL RECEIVE

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:

How Community Creates a Peaceful Life

Building Your Support Tribe

Where to Find Your Support Tribe

 
 
Be courageous!

 

Build your strength!

 

Gather Your Tribe!

 

Be vulnerable!

 

With All My Affection,

Jen

 
Want to get deeper with your journey to be Empowered Through Peace?

Join my group coaching: The Empowered Through Peace Power Hour!

Contact me at jennifer@peacefullivingwellness.com to let me know you are interested in joining!

 

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THE FREEDOM IN FORGIVENESS

THE FREEDOM IN FORGIVENESS

About a decade ago, when my marriage was on the rocks, a kind woman said to me, “I know it’s hard, but if you find forgiveness in your heart you will feel much better.” My immediate response was, “I’m not going to forgive him! He hasn’t said that he’s sorry!”

Spoiler Allert: We’re still married and going strong!

You see, the woman was correct. Finding forgiveness allowed me to be released from the stifling emotions of resentment and anger. Finding forgiveness helped me to realize that I can’t force my husband into saying or doing anything – particularly not apologizing. What I found is that when I gave up my anger, my resentment and my need to control his emotions and communication I allowed healing for both of us to begin.

And yes, we both ended-up apologizing. More importantly, we still do when necessary! 

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THE POWER OF APOLOGY

THE POWER OF APOLOGY

“It is never too late to make things right.” ~ Unknown 
 

This is the first in the 3-part Mindful Communication Skills series that I outlined in last week’s blog

Apologizing is something that is incredibly hard for many people. For some people they feel that there is a lot of shame in apologizing, and shame is an uncomfortable feeling. For others, the discomfort of feeling guilty about something they have done is too much. They would rather just forget that the situation causing their guilty feelings occurred. Finally, there are those who just plain don’t believe that they are in the wrong – sometimes, these people seem to think that they are NEVER wrong! You know who I’m talking about 😉

But, this blog is not about other people.

It’s about YOU!

I want to share with you how apologizing is a powerful stress-reliever!

 

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MINDFUL COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS: LOVE MAY BE ALL YOU NEED, BUT SOME SOLID SKILLS WILL GET YOU THROUGH THE HARD TIMES!

MINDFUL COMMUNICATION & RELATIONSHIPS: LOVE MAY BE ALL YOU NEED, BUT SOME SOLID SKILLS WILL GET YOU THROUGH THE HARD TIMES!

Hello Peaceful Living Warriors!

It’s February and I’m thinking about relationships again. Last year during the month of Love we talked about Dr. Chapman’s 5 Love Languages & how to “Grow Your Friend Tribe.” This year it’s all about strengthening your relationships with Mindful Communication and THREE crucial skills!

Each week for the next three weeks I will be covering a said “crucial skill.” THIS WEEK I am going to cover the basics of Mindful Communication

It’s a wonderful, romantic thought that, “Love is All You Need.” And, heck, it’s an awesome lyric! Thanks Beatles! But, truthfully, while love creates a necessary solid foundation, some mindful communication skills will get you through the hard times every long-lasting relationship will face.

Most of us, by the time we’re adults, have either experienced or witnessed love dwindling out. Or, even worse, we’ve been hurt by, or seen people get very hurt because of, love.

That said, when love is good, it is GOOD!!!

Mindful Communication skills can help it stay that way.

Many of you may be asking, “Jen, we hear all the time about how important communication is, but WHAT are Mindful Communication skills?”

The short answer is the Mindful Communication is thoughtful communication. The long answer is, that there have been entire books written on the subject. For the purposes of this blog I am going to cover 5 of what I consider to be the most important skills

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Three Simple Steps to Eating Healthier During the Holidays

Three Simple Steps to Eating Healthier During the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for relaxing with family & friends and attending parties, tree decorating, and annual outings.

All of these activities typically include lots of food and drink that we don’t normally consume, which can wreak havoc on our body! 

How to Reduce Sugar

Sugar is the number one offender! But staying away from sweets at this time of year isn’t easy. We usually consume more sugar than normal, which means our bodies become more acidic than usual.

Did you know that studies show sugar is actually more addictive than cocaine? That means the more we eat, the more we want.

I could make simple recommendations like, “just say no” or “track your weight,” but I actually don’t believe in that type of guidance at the holidays or in everyday life.

When I was addicted to sugar, walking away from cookies and cake was near impossible! Over the years, I’ve found that to reduce the sugar cravings and make the holidays easier to navigate, there’s one thing we can all do: Bulk up on the healthier options at the beginning of the day so the body doesn’t crave the “bad” stuff nearly as much.

This strategy is called “crowding out.” It’s a term I learned when I trained for my health coaching certification. It means that instead of focusing on what you “can’t have,” focus on adding more nutritious foods—which will naturally “crowd out” the non-nutritious options.

Tweetable Waive off cravings for non-nutritious options by bulking up on healthy options early in the day. @staceycrew #healthyholidays

Planning Ahead

Whichever type of party or holiday activity you attend, be sure to plan ahead in terms of what you eat, especially on the day of the party.

Begin by cutting back or eliminating the carbonated drinks and drink more water .

Tweetable Pre-game for holiday parties by eating healthy and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. @staceycrew #healthyholidays

Pre-gaming with healthier options allows you to indulge guilt-free once you’re at the party.  Pre-gaming will also help you avoid the holiday food hangover and actually reduce temptations to overindulge.

Alcohol contains a lot of sugar. So drinking a cocktail is often-times the equivalent to eating a donut. Have one cocktail, glass of wine, or beer followed by a water to rehydrate.

Party Day Strategy

Here are your three strategies for allowing yourself to enjoy the holiday season:

  1. Pre-game with healthy options — On party day, skip the breakfast donuts, eat something hearty like a hard-boiled egg and some oatmeal instead. For lunch, eat a clean salad (add some meat or beans for protein) with an olive oil-based dressing (bottled ones contain a lot of sugar – read the label) and some healthy snacks in between. Go-to healthy snacks include an apple, carrots and hummus, and strawberries. If you’ll be heading to a party directly after work or in the early evening, consider stopping for a juice or a made-from-scratch-smoothie.
  2. Cut-back on carbonated drinks especially diet ones (yes!), are loaded with chemicals that create inflammation in the body and wreak havoc on our digestive tract. One 12-ounce can of diet coke contains 39 grams of sugar. The daily recommended maximum of added sugars per day for women is 25 grams and for men it’s 37.5 grams. So, one 12-ounce can (and most people are drinking 16-oz or 32-oz drinks) of diet coke and you’re already blown your daily sugar intake. Carbonated drinks are one of the main reasons people have trouble losing weight and can’t get rid of the spare tire.
  3. Increase your water intake Again, this is a go-to health booster. Most people are walking around dehydrated and don’t even know it. Better yet, start a warm lemon water routine each morning to lubricate your body’s internal systems. You’ll be amazed at the results by incorporating this one change into your morning routine.

So, choose one of the above and you’ll be way ahead of the game. Now go and enjoy the holiday season!

To get a jumpstart on the New Year, download my FREE 3-Day Jumpstart to eliminate sugar, gain more energy, and eat clean.

 

Stacey Crew is “The Kitchen Health Coach” based in Charleston, South Carolina. She is a Certified Wellness Coach & published Author, and owner of Stacey Crew Wellness. She helps individuals achieve their health goals through a 4-prong approach of understanding the individual’s wellness needs, educating on specific topics, empowering the individual to make informed decisions, and providing accountability—all in a supportive environment. Stacey is an Amazon best-selling author of The Organized Mom: Simplify Life for You & Baby One Step at a Time and author of the soon-to-be-released Nourish You! Transform You & Your Kitchen for Healthier Eating.

Connect with Stacey @staceycrew on Facebook and Twitter and @staceycrewwellness on Instagram.