Ours is a generation of people striving to make their lives look perfect all the time. We post pictures, we update our statuses, we buy new things with the idea that maybe if it looks perfect enough, it will start to feel perfect.
We don’t know how to handle feelings of uncertainty, unworthiness, loss, heartbreak; so we post more pictures and look even more perfect…sounds familiar right?
Our inability to accept the messiness of life, the ‘imperfection in ourselves’ and the fact that sometimes we’re all just little kids trying to make friends on the playground has affected our quality of life and our ability to truly engage with each other.
The average 20-something- year- old knows exactly how much money they want to earn, by what age they should be married, how many kids they intend to have, where those kids will go to school…all this with a flat tummy, gorgeous skin and long natural hair!
It’s a lot on any one’s plate and has made life this series of ‘check-list moments’. It’s no wonder new year’s resolutions have been given a bad rap over the years, it stopped being about ‘the magic of new beginnings, the chance to hit the refresh button and start all over again’, and instead started being about self-reprimand, self-hate, and comparison to others.
In her brilliant book, “Daring Greatly”, Brene’ Brown explores how striving to achieve your goals requires an openness to being vulnerable. The ability to stand up and say, “January hit me hard, I wasn’t prepared for some of the things life threw at me, I missed the mark and now, I must start afresh”, can affect your quality of life and ability to truly engage with other people.
Our generation is afraid of vulnerability, and for good reason, we’ve all been told we are too much of something to achieve something bigger than ourselves; too short, too fat, too loud, too broke, etc, and as a result, more and more people are afraid to even try, and those that do, are afraid to try at things that really matter- those big hairy audacious goals.
According to Brene’, “Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness, will we be closer to the infinite power of our light”. To be Vulnerable means to be open to all of life’s experiences from a place of worthiness and self-love, not self-hate.
- Starting over after that first business failed.
- Speaking up about your relationships so that every abuse you experienced is never repeated.
- Asking for more money, time, attention…if it is what will fulfill your needs.
- Saying no to anyone who crosses the boundaries set in your relationship.
- Committing to going to the gym after having fallen off your ideal weight.
- Asking for help.
- Presenting your product to the world and getting no response.
- Having faith.
- Saying ‘yes’ to love after a major heartbreak.
- Admitting you do not know what to do, and then looking for the answer.
- Letting go of some people because your business cannot afford it.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is about acknowledging discomfort and then using it in a positive way to enhance your life experience. A few keys to enhancing your ability to manage vulnerability and therefore better able to live a wholehearted life are;
1. Be open
Sometimes the goals you want to achieve won’t be achieved in the exact path you expected, but it will always be worth it. You have to keep your heart and mind open to new ideas, a new career, new employers etc when it’s required.
2. Dare to show up
No matter how uncomfortable, unqualified or unprepared you might think you are, always show up. Your current life isn’t a dress rehearsal for your next life! If it’s important to you, you must show up.
3. Set and respect your boundaries
Set boundaries for your time, space and relationships, and after you’ve set your boundaries, respect them. Your goals this year are yours to achieve.
Vulnerability is being able to let other people know when they have crossed boundaries that you never intended to be crossed.
4. Wholehearted living
According to Brene’ Brown, wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. Too many people don’t think they are worthy of love, attention, support, promotion etc. This lack of self-love manifests itself in a myriad of ways that lead to people sabotaging the great things in their lives.
As you go about the business of achieving your goals this year, you must believe that you are worthy of all you are striving for. You are enough. You are enough. You are enough.
For the times when being vulnerable seems like the hardest thing to do, turn to the immortal words of Theodore Roosevelt:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood. Who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds, who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who at best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…”
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