Are you willing to be vulnerable?
I have been "struggling" with a few internal things as of late and I put "struggle" in quotes because these so-called struggles are nothing like my struggles of the past. These are more like puzzles my brain and heart are trying to figure out when I'm giving them the space and time to do so.
Today at work I had the first feeling of anxiety I've had in quite some time - in fact, I think it's been about 5 months of being relatively anxiety free which is one heck of an amazing feeling. I was sharing with my friend today that I had these feelings of anxiety on our daily walk and it was almost funny to answer his question of "what's going on?" I say funny because it's 100% my ego that is feeling .... messy or shall I say vulnerable and so I had a chuckle to myself after our conversation.
I'm not writing this post to air out what I am feeling and why - I'll get there on my own and the people involved in how I'm feeling need to be the ones I share the feelings and the why's with. I'm writing this post because I find it interesting how so few of us are willing to sit in the discomfort of vulnerability.
Tonight I witnessed someone I love dearly struggle with hurt, sadness and grief. It's hard to see those we love hurting - we want to protect them, to brush things under the rug, to rush through the emotions with them so we can return to some normalcy. And as much as we want them not to hurt, we also ultimately want to feel some comfort and at our core know that we aren't in any danger of being hurt because the person we love is hurting too. In many cases, this feeling of uncertainty or as I like to say "feeling messy" can lead us to not fully be present for the person we care about because we are fearful of our own possible hurt on some deep level. This can then lead to reacting in ways that better suit what we need rather than supporting our loved one in the way they need it. Isn't it curious that we do these things?
I find human beings quite fascinating this way. There is this bravado that we carry around, yet deep down inside we are all children that just want to know we are secure, loved, and not in danger of hurt or abandonment.
There were moments today that if I had allowed my vulnerabilities to get involved, I would have said or done things I regret. And why? Because I was somehow "threatened". Often someone else's journey and what they are going through has nothing to do with us. So why do we take it personally? Why do we end up feeling so vulnerable, scared, messy, and insecure?
Over the years of my own healing, I've become aware of so many of my own patterns and habits that were because my little girl was scared and this awareness has definitely helped me become more and more comfortable with exploring how and why I am feeling a certain way. It's interesting to write these words, but I've become at peace with being uncomfortable. Of course I wouldn't want to feel this way all of the time - it would be incredibly exhausting and I'd likely end up back closer to where I started, but when these moments of discomfort and vulnerability appear now, I have noticed a shift within me that I am curious about what my feelings are trying to teach me rather than my previous patterns of just pushing them away or reacting.
Another fascinating notice of mine is that the frequency of my anxiety attacks has gone down significantly the more comfortable I've become with being curious about my feelings and getting comfortable with being vulnerable. It's like I have this calmness within me where I'm able to say "ooooh - I don't like this feeling - I haven't felt this in a while - what's really going on T?" And perhaps because there's a calmness within the need for my body to be in an anxious state has almost disappeared.
So my friends, I do not have all of the answers on how to get from frequent anxiety attacks to where I am now but what I can say is this: try to sit within the discomfort. Your body is trying to tell you something and over the years, we have become conditioned not to listen. Slow down, take a deep breath, and ask "what is this feeling and what is it trying to tell me?" I promise it's worth the discomfort ..... blazing a trail of reactions does far too much damage; being a little vulnerable does none.
I know I say this a ton, but thank you for being part of my journey. I am incredibly grateful to have such a supportive community and my hope is that what I share can help you too.
Sending love and hugs,