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 Friends” I 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!
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