If there is one underlying theme I notice in ALL of my client coaching sessions, it is a resistance to vulnerability.
Namely, if we show our true emotions, specifically sadness, then we are behaving in a ‘weak’ manner.
I knew this to be true with a lot of men prior to starting my coaching practice, but what continues to take my breath away is how prevalent this belief is among women too.
That to cry, means to display weakness.
That to show our vulnerability allows for deep-seeded fears of judgement, being disliked and heaven-forbid being perceived as imperfect, rise to the surface.
Brene Brown’s vulnerability TED talk is one of the first recommended Google searches on my laptop – that is how often I have recommended my clients watch it. Because really, it says it all.
Vulnerability, and the ability to show it fully, without filters or apologies, is a strength. In a day and age where our ‘highlights reel’ is what takes up most of the online space, it is incredibly refreshing to hear when someone has a bad day – is struggling – or even jumps on their Insta-stories crying because their puppy needs surgery (me this week!).
Because it makes these people HUMAN and allows us to feel more comfortable in our own emotion too.
There is a misconception in the personal development world that in order to be your best, healthiest and happiest self, you must never feel anger, or sadness, or any of these perceived ‘negative’ emotions.
What if I told you that there is NO SUCH THING as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ emotions. That emotions just are, and what makes them good or bad is in fact how we deal with them? Do we suppress them, and not allow them to surface from fear? (Bad!) Or do we allow them to come up, feel them fully, and then move on? (Good!)
Here are some simple, healthy ways to embrace vulnerability, eradicate ‘toughness’ and soften into emotion as a normal human trait:
Admit you’re not perfect – and that is okay
A huge part of wanting to suppress emotion, and a resistance to vulnerability, is a fear of being perceived as imperfect. Well, guess what?
You’re not perfect. Neither am I. No one is. And that in itself is okay.
This striving for perfection is incredibly detrimental to our mental and emotional states, as no matter what we achieve, it will never be good enough. We live life with a lack of fulfilment, and not ever being our true selves because of a fear of not being ‘good enough’.
The first step to changing this up is to admit to yourself you are not perfect – and that no one is. And that this is okay. It is what makes you human and relatable. And THIS is what is loved most by others.
Key to Happiness? Find out here
Feel whatever emotion comes up for you FULLY for 10 minutes
The next time you feel an emotion you perceive to be ‘negative’ arise – notice how you respond. Do you instantly push it to the side and ignore it? Instead of doing this, allow yourself to feel that emotion, FULLY, for 10 minutes only. Literally, time it on your phone.
If sadness is the emotion, cry it out. Sob and wail until you are a snotty mess.
If it’s anger, scream into your pillow, or better yet, punch it (poor pillow!) Again, time it for 10 minutes.
Guess what? Chances are you will get to the 5 minute mark and be completely done. You have fully expressed your emotion and released it – and now can move on!
When we suppress our emotion, it builds up and comes back in all sorts of nasty ways – panic attacks, nervous breakdowns, snapping at our loved ones. How about just allowing ourselves to feel it for a good 10 minutes? Doesn’t sound that bad does it?
Journaling is a wonderful way of coming to terms with how you are feeling. I take to my journal whenever I feel sad, or angry, to really process WHY the emotion has come up, and get to the root of the trigger.
Once we can understand WHY something impacts us emotionally, we can work on improving or changing that situation. Our emotions are signposts telling us where to next. In journaling on them, we are able to LISTEN to these signs and determine the best action to take.
Read our tips on journaling here
Not to mention the act of getting thoughts out of your head and onto a page clears up mental space and is incredibly therapeutic (and costs nothing at all!)
Talk it out
If writing isn’t your thing, talking about your feelings with someone is another incredible way of practicing vulnerability and ‘getting it off your chest’. Be it a girlfriend, family member, therapist or coach, the act of being fully honest and vulnerable with another person is an incredible way to unleash any emotional blocks you have created – and also gain the perspective, love and support of another person.
As humans, we thrive on connection although so often we go through life suppressing our emotions and feeling alone. We don’t have to. Reach out to someone and ask for help – some will feel more comfortable with a stranger, others with a loved one. Find what works for you and make it a habit.
How do you practice vulnerability in your life?
To make an appointment with our wellness expert, Hollie:
Bondi Beach: 02 8897 0077
Email: [email protected]