I was reminded of the power of vulnerability at my book group this month. One woman shared a perceived failure, a self-judged imperfection and we all relaxed more deeply into our Self. The energy of the room opened up and became more connected. We each saw ourselves reflected, in the quiet moments where we are alone with our inner voice. We reached out to comfort the Self we saw in her. We held her with more compassion than we might hold ourselves.
We spend an immense amount of unconscious energy holding up the identity that we feel safe letting others see. The curious thing is that when we share our challenges, the less than shiny aspects of ourselves in healthy relationships, instead of activating the judgment of others, it invites them to love us more. They receive a signal that their own rough edges will be loved too. Suddenly there is new found safety in being a full-spectrum human being.
We all have experiences we count as failures, imperfections, things that don’t turn out the way we’d hoped, relationships, situations that got messy and we mired around in the muck. We weren’t our best. We should have known better, is what we tell ourselves. And we have periods of crisis that feel like about as much as one soul can handle, whether it’s external circumstances or an internal battle that stresses our life to the max.
Yet we still have to show up in our life. We can’t permanently take a vacation from everything and everyone to avoid being seen in the midst of it. The rough spots in the road of life evoke a deep sense of vulnerability. How much do we have to prop-up the Self that is doing “just fine,” or “great,” to the world while struggling in private?
It’s in the poop, the dirty, imperfect parts of our life that we learn the most. It busts us open and helps us grow. The discomfort stretches us. But unless we are a chronic complainer that drains the energy of everyone around with our misery, we generally hide these challenges from most of the world or save them for our closest loved ones. There is a reason for this. Our closest loved ones have established a known level of safety. We can live a richer life by allowing deeper vulnerability with more people in our lives. It literally shifts the energy of every future moment.
Our intuition helps us tune-in to supportive places and relationships in our lives to reveal our challenge. Simply giving a short but honest answer to the stranger who asks, “How are you?” allows them to admit their own full spectrum of emotion to themselves and have a better day with the relief of it… “It’s been a rough day but I’m hanging in.” This isn’t about dumping your shit on others, rather allowing the truth of you to be seen by another in a way that allows you both to relax into the present moment rather than faking it. This is how the poop gets beautiful. It’s the real, the true and the authentic Self revealed. The most beautiful state of existence.