Vulnerability Is Safe

“Vulnerability Is Safe”

That was the headline on a blog I follow. My initial reaction to these words: umm, not-so-much.

Perhaps you find being vulnerable easy, or at the very least, it doesn’t scare the shit out of you, but I’d rather have a root canal than subject myself to feeling vulnerable – and it most-certainly does not feel safe. In my head (and in my experience) being vulnerable led to judgement, rejection, or worse, the fear of being unlovable.

Let’s start with that one time I got reeeeeeeal uncomfortable and told the whole freaking world I was battling depression. First I’d spent months working with medical professionals trying to diagnose what I thought was probably just a vitamin deficiency or maybe an adrenal function issue. You know, stuff you can get an Rx for and be on your way to feeling like million bucks again.

Instead, after every blood test and examination available in modern medicine, we ended up walking down the trail of mental health, a struggle I’ve been battling for years, and one I THOUGHT I’d “fixed”.

The shame and fear that washed over me when considering getting vulnerable and telling someone – even someone who loves me unconditionally – was scary as hell. But here’s the thing: Fear is a tricky little devil that has the potential to stand in the way of your deepest dreams and desires. It shows up differently for everyone but for me, it was paralyzing, so the thought of telling someone I’m fighting for my mental health was terrifying. Instead I said and did nothing, for months, swirling around in my own thoughts of weakness and failure. Fear, however, is not a feeling problem, it’s a THINKING problem.

Thoughts create your Feelings.

Feelings power your Actions.

Actions are the Results in your life.

I THOUGHT being vulnerable and telling someone I was depressed would push people away. Being alone FEELS shitty, so I did nothing and became even more isolated.

I basically ended up in a street-fight with my brain trying to “outsmart” my depression. Let’s be honest friends, nothing worked like leaning into the fear of complete emotional exposure telling someone I needed help.

Once I started THINKING it would be okay I proved myself right by telling someone and FELT so much more at peace, loved and supported. I told other people and instead of being alone I was surrounded by people who said “thank GAWD, I thought I was the only one!”

Change your Thoughts. Change your Life.
Read that again.

Dear Fear,

You are not nice.

You’re actually kind of an asshole sometimes.

I hate how you have kept me small or made me shrink when I should have been growing. It makes me sad to think about the number of times I didn’t go after what I wanted in life because you held me down telling me, over and over again, I’m not good enough. I’m tired of you turning off the light and pushing me into the dark. You make my stomach hurt and give me a raging migraine. Even when I think I’m pulling myself out of your clutches I hear you laughing at me saying “you’ll be back”.

I don’t want to go back.

I don’t want to live in fear anymore.

So I’m not.

This is your eviction notice.

I will no longer THINK you are stronger than me, because you’re not.

I will no longer THINK you are smarter than me, because you’re not.

I will no longer THINK others are ashamed of me for admitting I need help, because they don’t.

I will no longer THINK I’m unworthy of love, because I am.

I will no longer THINK I have to settle for less than I deserve, because I don’t.

I have changed my THOUGHTS from “I’m scared” to “This is hard, but I am brave”.

Being in fear will no longer be more important than being vulnerable.

I know you’re here to help keep me safe but I’d rather you only did that when I need it; like if there’s a snake slithering around near me. Otherwise, you can just sit your ass down and let me go.

I am willing to feel the fear and still have the courage to move forward.

with love, Erika

“We can choose courage or we can choose comfort, but we can’t have both. Not at the same time. Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Brené Brown

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