I am the biggest fan of Dr Brene’ Brown, her books and work are my ethos and my long term dream is to qualify as a coach in her work (I am working on it!). Dr Brown is a researcher of shame and vulnerability and she has written 3 books (google her if you want more information). One of her biggest messages to the world is that vulnerability is courageous and leads us to connection. So in the spirit of vulnerability and courage I will share a story with you;
I occasionally get floored by a feeling of immense vulnerability, it may be similar to anxiety but I don’t fully know as I have never had an anxiety attack as such so don’t like to label it as that. It feels like butterflies in my stomach and that I’m walking around with my heart on the outside of my body and people could poke it. When this feeling happens I feel unsafe and like a child in an adult’s body.
I probably have always had this feeling on and off my whole life, coming and going in various capacities. It rears up particularly when I am living outside of my comfort zone and putting myself out there in the world more often, (Dr Brown refers to it as “living in the arena”) this is mostly with my work. Since I have made the decision to get back on the horse and ride on into the arena of life and start living my dreams professionally this feeling has been popping up more often. As it is an unsafe kind of feeling I know it also started to appear more often after both my parents passed away as they were my safety net in the world. When I used to fall into this feeling of being a child and vulnerable I could still be parented by my parents, so since they have left this earth I have had to learn to address this myself. If there was any gift in both my parents passing away (it’s very hard to find a gift in both your parents passing away from cancer) it was that I had to learn to have my own back and be my own parent, I could no longer run to the familiar safety of them and in this I learnt a strength I would not have otherwise known, I would have preferred to learn that lesson in another way but that’s not how my life turned out.
Anyway, when this feeling pops up I know exercise helps, ensuring I am taking my supplements & eating healthy food helps (as there is always a biochemical link) and leaning into my family and very close friends helps, it also helps to be very careful about who I expose myself to when I am feeling like this. However, recently when this familiar vulnerability came up and seeming to last a few days I decided to surrendered to it, I had a ‘me day’ and lay on the couch. I tuned out of the world to tune into myself! I just sat with the feeling and accepted that I need to learn how to manage this so I can continue to live in the arena. After a few hours it had shifted and by the next day I was ready to face the world again. I had to feel the feeling; I had to dive into it, allow it and let it have a voice so I could feel functional again and move forward. That is very new for me and very rare in our society to sit and just be without trying to change it.
In our fast paced world we are being steered away from feeling our feelings, encouraged to strategize them out, rise above them and not to show them in our Facebook perfect lives. Where does connection lie in that? Where connection lye with ourselves in that world and if we cannot connect with ourselves it can be hard to connect properly with others. What we resist persists, so I am encouraging people to feel their feelings, all of them, even when it’s unpleasant. They will change and you will change and if you don’t they will only get stuffed on down waiting to rear up at a later date in a more dramatic way.
I know it won’t be the last time I feel this feeling of immense vulnerability/anxiety but next time I will know that perhaps I need to surrender and take some time out from the world and recharge. My hope is that we can all live “in The Arena” and all learn to feel what we need to feel and learn what we need to learn.
If you have any concerns about your health or want some support please contact me.