A scary thought – isn’t it? Being vulnerable leaves you to being exposed in who knows what forms. The fear of others seeing us in our most natural, purest form cripples us in many different ways.
We all live through different struggles and traumatic experiences relating to our self-esteem and body image. These traumas can be notions or expectations of community’s beauty standards, our family’s history, domestic violence, sexual assault… an accident, illness or just the ebbs and flows of life.
We all have insecurities and imperfections we feel the need to mask daily.
Society trains us to believe our imperfections make us unworthy of our goals and we have become blind to the natural beauty that lies within us. Self-love, acceptance, and allowing our skin to breathe, allowing ourselves to be truly vulnerable in the presence of others has become rare.
I wasn’t good at being vulnerable before. Growing up, I found myself the ugly duckling amongst a group of swans. I was different and for the longest time, I felt that my body didn’t belong to me. There have been so many cultural and societal restrictions placed on it, so many others telling me what I can and can’t do with me, so many unwelcome hands that have laid on it… and there was my own distaste towards myself. I wasted oh, so much time lamenting on my flaws – my lack of beauty, skin too brown, face that wasn’t pretty, being short, my stutter/accent, etc. – when I should have been celebrating and recognizing that these weren’t at all flaws in the first place. It was what made me, me.
Vulnerability is a process. In order to be vulnerable, you have to be ok with all of you; and unfortunately, it’s something that no one really tells you about. Being vulnerable is not just about showing the parts of you that are shiny and pretty and fun. It’s about revealing what you deny or keep hidden from other people. We all do this to some extent. I bet you’ve never said to a friend, “Oh my god, I just love that I’m insecure.”
But that’s the point, isn’t it? You’ve got to love everything, if you want to be vulnerable by choice.
It was through accepting myself that I found me to be beautiful, that I found others to be beautiful. I had all but dissociated with my body and the journey back to claiming it as my own. Being kind to yourself is easier said than done, but the effort is worth it because feeling confident and loving yourself is absolutely priceless and one of the best feelings there is.
Think about it: when you don’t love all of you and are afraid to show people the less than stellar bits of yourself, the space between you and vulnerability is like the stretch of the biggest canyon in the world – you will need all the courage and strength you can get to make that leap of faith across, but when you love yourself, and I mean ALL of yourself; you won’t worry so much if someone else doesn’t love you the way you want to. It is when you’re less afraid of rejection that you will step into that place of openness.
Vulnerability takes practice. It requires you to take down that armor and be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen…
So, this ugly duck…well, she now has transformed herself into the swan that glides across the water. It is about belief in self… If we believe in something strongly enough, we all have the power to change our fate.
Featured Photo Credit: Jay Seth Photography