Author and research professor, Brene Brown has a term she uses, ''Vulnerability hangover''.
She says vulnerability is ‘’uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.’’ So, a hangover is the "oh shit what have I done" akin to a hangover that comes after the act. If we are not used to this, it's like plunging into a bath of ice-cold water. A quick, sharp shock to the system.
It feels to me like someone is putting their hands into my chest, pulling my heart out and then exposing it to the world. In this analogy my heart is all black and it’s being exposed to the world. That which I've hidden is being exposed.
So why does one do it? Frankly, a great blooming question. Isn't it easier to just stay in my cave, isolated and safe from the world? Never taking risks in my life or with my heart. Safe but definitely boring and definitely not what life is about.
To quote Brene Brown again, who says being vulnerable "is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity.” Even knowing this logically and then putting yourself out there, is tough. Your out there could be dating, a new career, speaking your mind with your family, a whole host of things really.
I imagined at the start of this process of writing I'd feel this. So, I did what I think is a very smart thing (blowing my own trumpet). I pushed the boundary of my comfort zone out. Slowly at first, showing friends my writing. Second step was launching a piece on Asian Women Mean Business. Third step was then another piece and another platform, Elephant Journal. Until the boundary of my comfort zone was extended enough that I now had more room to fly. All the while exposing myself to this act of being vulnerable, which is good for my personal growth.
I knew still, I'd have vulnerability feelings triggered upon the launch of this site and the first post. My belief is that to continue to do this practise, will strengthen my confidence and encourage me to take more risks. Ultimately, taking risks is enriching my life because I am taking steps in the direction of my dreams and not just for the sake of it.
My dream is to share my writing with people, to inspire and heal. My vision is to create a world of words people feel they belong in.
It’s really challenging to share yourself with people when it's not something you are used to doing. I was used to hiding myself and putting myself in a box because it was safer. When we start doing the healing work, we realise there is only one choice and that is onwards.
Once the boundaries of a comfort zone are pushed, they cannot be shrunk back. One cannot go back in the box we've broken out of. We can't go back to playing small or clipping the wings we've grown. You get my drift, I'll stop with the analogies.
We can try and put ourselves back. Have you tried that? I have and it's painful. Life will constantly remind you what you've done. So, you have to keep moving forward and part of that for me is pushing the boundaries of my comfort zone consistently and being vulnerable in places I wasn't before.
It sounds scary, I get it. It has taken some time for me to get to this place right here. It may not take you that long. After all, the point of sharing stories, is you may read something and learn something that gets you to a place quicker then it got me. We all learn from each other and that is a beautiful thing.
So, I ask the question again, why does one do it? Make themselves vulnerable.
Because an enriched, colourful, well lived life involves taking risks. Every step of life is a risk. We can embrace it or not. We can use this energy or not. The choice is our own. When I didn't and tried to play safe, it created a whole host of issues that needed to be healed. (I always advise talking things through with someone if needs be. For some of us being vulnerable is rooted in not feeling safe, so we must heal those wounds. So we can live a life we love).
Baby steps folks, always. No giant steps needed here so take it easy.
Anyways you have pushed yourself out of your comfort zone, share below. Let's champion each other’s wins in this area.
Stay tuned for a special something launching soon, helping you to build the life of your dreams despite life's challenges.