Each week, I post an affirmation on my Instagram (follow me at justlissa33). On February 26th, 2017, the affirmation was from the “Own Your Awesome Deck” from yourjoyologist.com. It was “I open myself up to receiving love. I am worthy of love”. This got me to thinking a lot about vulnerability. To be open to receiving love, we need to let down our guard, we need to tear down the protective walls that we build – we need to be vulnerable! This has become a theme for me since posting it. On February 27th, my daily email from Elephant Journal had the subject line “The Power of Vulnerability: Brene Brown’s TED Talk”. Of course, I read it and I also watched Brene Brown’s TED talk a couple of times even though I’ve seen it numerous times before. Vulnerability came up in a couple of different conversations – at work, with friends, on social media. Definitely some synchronicities happening here and I’m quickly realizing that I am in the middle of learning another life lesson!
It made me realize that I sometimes (ok, a lot of times) struggle with receiving love. Sometimes I struggle with being vulnerable. It’s so easy to say that we are open to love, that we want it, sometimes even crave it. Heck, I’ve ended relationships because I didn’t feel like I was getting the love that I wanted, needed, and craved. The first thing though that I find a lot of people, including myself, do is shut it down when it comes our way. I’m guilty of this far more times then I’d like to admit.
When someone does something nice for us, for no reason, that’s love. Our first reaction tends to be “Oh, you shouldn’t have” all the while thinking and wondering how you are ever going to repay them. Receiving love is sometimes just as simple as saying “thank you” and leaving it at that. Don’t let your ego get in the way, don’t let the negative voices in your head make you feel like you aren’t worthy, or that you need to reciprocate with anything other than gratitude, kindness, returning love, and then perhaps paying it forward.
If you are giving love to get something in return, then are you really giving love? You need to be somewhat vulnerable to give love as well. You need to send it out there and not expect anything in return. Ever notice that when people say “I love you”, it sometimes feels like a question? People tend to feel obligated to say it back. Please only ever say this if it’s coming straight from your heart. Don’t tell someone you love them because you think that’s what they expect. If you can’t say it from your heart, don’t say it at all. This is being true to yourself and also to the other person.
Vulnerability takes courage – society has us believe that being vulnerable is somehow weak – I’m here to tell you that’s absolutely not true! Vulnerability is putting yourself out there regardless of the judgment that may come your way. If you know in your heart that you are worthy, that you are enough and that what other people think of you is none of your business, then the negative voices will quiet down. If the negative voices don’t quiet down, do it anyways!
What I Learned When I Became Vulnerable
In 2015, I was looking for a speaker for my company’s annual employee meeting. I felt that it was really important that our employees be educated on an ongoing issue that could and did distract people from their safety sensitive positions. Unable to find a speaker, I decided that I had a story to tell, that I could provide the education that I felt our employees needed. So, I stood up in front of just over 100 people and found the courage to be vulnerable and say “My son is an addict” (You can read my story about this in my blog post titled “Doing the Best That I Can”).
When I was finished, numerous people walked up to me, thanked me, and proceeded to tell me their stories. What they were really saying was “me too”. When we become open and vulnerable, it gives other people permission to do the same. It helped me to start healing from the shame and guilt that I felt, and it promoted healing in others when they felt safe to be vulnerable and share their stories as well. Being vulnerable promotes gratitude, gratitude promotes joy – and don’t we all need a little more joy in our lives?
Since 2015, I’ve shared my story many times to different groups – not for sympathy, not for accolades, just to simply let people know that they are not alone. To allow people to stand up and say “me too”, to allow them to continue to heal. Being vulnerable doesn’t need to take such a public forum – it can be saying “me too” when someone shares a story, it can be sharing your own story with someone else – a partner, a close friend, a trusted colleague, maybe even a complete stranger! It takes great courage to be vulnerable and you have that courage inside of you, just like all of us do.
So, now that I’m being honest, being vulnerable in the capacity that I describe above still allows me to keep a mask on. It’s still being vulnerable but it’s more about giving love then actually receiving love. When you dig down to really being open to receive love, to be vulnerable in that capacity, it can create fear. Fear of rejection, fear of being hurt, fear of being vulnerable.
adjective – susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.
noun – the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
What is fear? F**k Everything And Run….. Sure feels this way sometimes!
How about this instead?
I know I can be vulnerable to an extent – but can I receive love? I know I’m worthy of it – and yet I still push it away. I still have walls around my heart that I need to tear down. I need to find the courage to be vulnerable every minute of every day so that I can truly show up in my life – warts and all. I will continue to keep this affirmation handy and repeat it as often as I need to. I will continue to meditate and work through the layers until I get to the truth. By doing so, I will continue to get better at it and that’s when I will be one step closer to Living My Best Life!
If you too struggle with this – remember the affirmation – say it a thousand times a day if you have to!
“I am open to receiving love. I am worthy of love”
Because you really are worth it!!
And if self-worth seems to be a hang up:
“I am Enough” or “I am Worthy”
I’d also like to share a prayer from the book “The Universe Has Your Back” by Gabrielle Bernstein. I highly recommend this book to everyone!
“I focus my attention on the love that is around me and I expect miracles”
Thanks for reading and I hope that this helps you to find the courage to be vulnerable, and to open up to receiving love – you deserve it!
To read the Elephant Journal article:
If you haven’t seen Brene Brown’s TED talk on Vulnerability – please take the time to watch it:
Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day that says “I’ll try again tomorrow” ~Mary Ann Radmacher