“Being Daring means the courage to be vulnerable.
It means to show up and be seen. Even if you don’t feel your best.
To ask for what you need. Even if you know the answer might be: ‘No I can’t help you’.
To talk about how you are feeling. Even if you know people are too busy to listen or lack understanding.
To have the hard conversations. Even if you know the outcome might be not what you longed for.”
I posted the above image and quote today on my Facebook profile, whilst enjoying a well overdue lay-in, in my big comfy bed with a cup of coffee and my son interrupting me every 5 minutes with his random acts of funniness. But why did I post the above? After all it’s so easy to pick a random image and connect it to what might seem an appropriate quote, in order to get a few people to hit that like button and a few lovely comments along the way. Of course I enjoy the feedback, the interaction, the appreciation and support. I am only human and just love lots of lovely people in my life. However what means so much more to me is the messages from people who I haven’t met in the real world, saying how my image with the write-up gave them a boost. Gave them back a little spring in their step. So why am I being mindful about vulnerability. Do I always feel comfortable being vulnerable? Hell no! However, I have learned since changing my ways of thinking and my imagined expectations from others, but especially high expectations of myself, I have felt so much more comfortable in my own skin. I have been able to say ‘yes’ to lots more opportunities thrown my way. I have been able to laugh at myself if reality didn’t match that perfect picture I had painted that in my head. Still feeling okay about me regardless. You see by being vulnerable and opening yourself up, you enable personal growth and development. Instead of clinging on to that perfect picture or shying away from certain situations and therefore missing out on moving and growing into a more balanced and happier being with lots of great memories.
I used to and still suffer at times from the concept of perfectionism. In the past if it wasn’t perfect in my eyes it surely wasn’t in others. Which meant failure; Which meant anxiety; Which meant unhappiness. Therefore I often judged myself harshly before others started that game. I really thought I had invented a great coping mechanism. To be one step ahead so my anxiety of being judged unfairly was already on high alert to cope with the aftermath. I seriously have said ‘no’ to so many great opportunities. I have stopped so many hobbies and sports, even before properly starting it, but after foolishly buying all the expensive gear, because I convinced myself I would be a failure even before trying. Completely dismissing the fact that I could be having fun and a great way to meet new people. The problem of comparing yourself constantly to others is, you will always find someone better and maybe more worthy than you. So there is your excuse to never ever try anything new. Or worse to develop an anxiety that could stop you from participating in so many enjoyable things in life. Instead face that fear. Drop that mask. Even if it makes you feel uncomfortable at first. Don’t take yourself so seriously. You are so much more fun if you turn up being the one and only authentic you.
What did I learn from tackling a few of my fears and saying ‘Yes’ to new challenges, even if the old me was chipping away in the back of my head saying; ‘Oh Es, you will so not be good at this and make yourself a total laughing stock.’ I have learnt by just being me and vulnerable, but enjoying the challenge I have come to understand that without a little vulnerability we just can’t be truly ourselves. By not being truly you, you take away so much enjoyment. I believe now that vulnerability is our gateway to authenticity. By removing that mask of trying to be perfect at all times and being able to laugh at my fear of failing or simply not being good enough suddenly my demons become less powerful. By showing my vulnerability and being me, I felt empowered. I sensed as well that the people around me also felt more comfortable with me just being my usual clumsy, scatty whirlwind me, willing to join in and make the most of whatever we we’re doing.
And you know what. Some people will never like what you do or achieve. They always will find something that is not so good about you, pick at your so-called flaws when you are just trying to get on with life, have a little fun, growth and develop in your own ways. I probably don’t have to point out to you all that these are often the people stuck in that a) Don’t show vulnerability rut b) Be perfect at all times and c) The comparison trap.
Of course I am still working on my self acceptance, self love and self worth. Of course now and then I don’t feel good enough and get the urge to hide away. Having days like that is okay too. It means you are human. But never ever give up trying. Never ever knock yourself for trying something new. I hope sharing some of my experiences helps those of you who sometimes struggle with moments of vulnerability, loneliness and self criticism. Now and then, try something now and then something that scares you a little. It’s okay to turn up feeling nervous and not to be perfect. Just keep in mind that trap of comparing yourself to others and high expectations. And above all, linking failure to your happiness can be very debilitating.
Wanna talk about failure?