Brene Brown caused a big stir when she stood up and started talking about her own vulnerability. As she candidly put it in her TED talk, she did not think that she was supposed to feel vulnerable. Only to discover, that she actually was missing out on some of the best of life—namely intimacy—by being unwilling to surrender to being vulnerable. I am so grateful for her efforts to make the world a little more real and a little more humane.
It takes a lot of discipline to open up when you feel threatened but that is just what vulnerability asks us to do. It asks us to let go of our pride –our need to be right—and open to the greater truth of ourselves, the other, and the situation. When we are vulnerable we loose the stranglehold of our lesser selves. Vulnerability requires that we are able rely on a much deeper and stronger part of our self –one that is not caught up in our ego.
Let me describe the process:
It happens all the time! I get myself into a situation where I can feel myself armoring up. I feel judged, disrespected, misunderstood. It does not matter what the specific situation is, really. Just that I can feel it coming on. This intense desire to protect myself -sometimes, at all cost. My heartbeat goes up, my muscles tense, my thoughts start running away, taking my rational self with them.
I know that nothing good can come with this approach but, it is so automatic sometimes. Can you relate?
It takes everything I’ve got to remember that my reaction is causing the problem not protecting me from it. I remember I have nothing to lose but my pride and I let go. My breath deepens. My muscles soften. I can feel my heart open up. NOW, I can make something good happen.
Now let’s break it down step by step:
Why is this important?
I am going to give you two reasons why this is so critical to our overall fulfillment in life. First, we are unable to develop real relationships that are deeply caring and intimate if we do not allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Second, if we need to pretend that we are not vulnerable then our whole life becomes a charade. We have to work all the time to keep up appearances and in short that makes us miserable.
Short and sweet summary: If you want to be happy, learn how to be vulnerable.
Tune into this weeks Real Answers Radio for more on how to create meaningful relationships through vulnerability. The show is always live and your questions are always welcome!
As life pushes us in the direction of truly knowing who we are, both the moments of challenge and the moments of grace provide us with insight into our deeper nature. The question is not about where to look for these opportunities, but how to listen to life so that we can make the most out of them.
At one point or another in our lives, many of us feel the call to realize who we are at a deep level. This is sometimes a pull from within that starts when we are relatively young, or it may be a challenging life event that pushes us to seek out more, or a certain age that we reach that reminds us of how little time we actually have. No matter how it comes, the desire to know our soul’s true voice breaks through.
I have found that many people get confused on this journey. They wonder if they are really hearing their inner truth or whether they are caught in yet another layer of delusion. The transition to this deeper connection with the self requires new skills and new levels of discernment; without these things, it is easy to feel overwhelmed and lost.
The following are tools that help uncover and strengthen the true voice of your soul.
Acceptance. What we resist persists. This means that if we want to open deeper parts of ourselves, we need to start by accepting who we are right at this moment—all of it. When we can provide ourselves with that unconditional acceptance, we set the ground for our soul to unfold.
Forgiveness. Forgiveness creates space for new parts of ourselves to come forward and for old parts of ourselves to leave with grace. The negativity that we hold distorts the face of our true self. When we forgive ourselves and others, we let go and let truth appear.
Compassion. A partner if not a parent of acceptance, compassion allows us to meet all aspects of ourselves and hold them lovingly. When we have compassion, we are less likely to judge and condemn. This helps us release all that does not serve us rather than trading one limitation for the next.
Respect. Fostering an environment of respect for both ourselves and others allows us to see the beauty in them and in us. Respecting another says, “I see you and I honor and acknowledge who you are.” Respect for ourselves does the same.
Generosity. Generosity is the natural byproduct of a fully expressed soul. The more expressed we are, the more able we are to be generous in all the ways listed above and more. The generosity we express is not about getting something in return, but about the overflow of the soul’s true voice.
Learn more about empowering your true voice in my post here >>> “A Secret Key to Your Personal Empowerment.”
Whether you are the person who has been hurt or you are the person who has broken trust, you very likely will want to do some repair work. Here are fourteen things that you can do to help rebuild trust with another person once it has been broken.
01 Take Responsibility: Regardless of which role you played in the situation, you are responsible for your own contributions to what has occurred. Take some time to be clear about what you did and what you did not do that may have led to a situation where trust was broken.
02 Show Empathy: When we have hurt someone, it helps for them to see that we understand the pain that they are going through. When we have been hurt, some of us will expect ourselves to get over it quickly and others will tend to hold onto the pain. Either way, empathizing with our own experience is helpful to our process of healing. It is also helpful to show empathy when possible to the person that hurt us. This person usually hurt us because of his or her own pain.
03 Keep Promises & Agreements: If you have betrayed someone’s trust, their whole system is on red alert. More than likely they expect you to continue to hurt them. By only making promises and agreements you can keep – as well as making sure to keep them – you can start to rebuild trust.
04 Be Authentic: People can spot a phony, (and even if they go along, they do not really trust them). So if you have hurt someone, being real is the best way to rebuild trust. If you were the person hurt, being authentic might mean that you are truthful about your emotions and where you are in your healing process.
05 Expect & Support Emotional Reactions: When there has been a breach of trust, everyone wants it to go away. But, expecting it to be cleared with an, “I’m sorry,” is often overly optimistic. Emotions will come and go. The more that you can support the emotional healing of yourself, or the person you hurt, the more likely you are to reestablish trust.
06 Sincerely Apologize: Perhaps, this should be number one. Offering an apology is the first thing that you can do to begin the healing after trust has been broken. Just lip service will not do – you will need to understand how you hurt the other person and truly feel remorse for your actions.
07 Accept & Admit Your Faults: Regardless of which side of the coin you fall on, you have flaws. These flaws, while understandable, likely contributed to the situation at hand. Stating your flaws and saying what you are going to do differently is helpful in regaining trust.
08 Keep Your Head on Your Shoulders: Assess the situation at hand. If you have sincerely shown remorse and the other person is not able to forgive you even after doing your due diligence, (or the person who has hurt you has not altered his or her behavior to be safe), your best choice might be to cut ties. Rebuilding trust is important… but pay attention to when your time is better invested elsewhere.
09 Imagine Different Outcomes: So, you trusted and you got hurt. This does not mean every time that you trust you will get hurt. Learn what you can, and then look to the future. What kind of people do you want to relate to? How would you like them to show up to the relationship?
10 Listen to Your Intuition: Very often when someone betrays us, we had a sense that it was happening or even just a sense that something was not right. The more we hone our intuition the easier it is to make good decisions for ourselves in the future.
11 Forgive Yourself: We all make mistakes. Sometimes, there is a high price tag to pay for the type of mistake that we made – like loss of a relationship, or loss of trust with ourselves. Regardless of what you did or did not do, the best you can do is learn from it and make difference choices in the future.
12 Forgive the Other Person: Building off of forgiving yourself, the person that hurt you also is prone to making mistakes and bad choices. When you are ready, forgiving the person who hurt you can be one of the most liberating actions and can open you up to truly trust again.
13 Try Trusting Again: Seriously, get back on the horse. Perhaps one person broke your trust but how many other people did not? The odds are in your favor. Keep building with the people who have shown themselves to be worthy of your trust.
14 Make Yourself Happy: The happier we are, the healthier we are. The healthier we are the better decisions we make… and the faster we bounce back from our challenges. Taking care of yourself and doing what you love will help you feel courageous enough to trust again.
In my LifeWork Community program I teach a number of ways that we can more productively work with our true self and bring its expression through our mask and into the world. The following are some of the areas that I address in my program and questions that you can use to support yourself in moving towards living your true self.
People sometimes believe that you do personal development work if you are broken, but that is not really the case. Yes, it is true that hurt people work on themselves to feel better. However, it is also true that the best place to start your work from is a place of total acceptance. When we do our personal development work from a place of more and more appreciation, we gain so much more for our efforts.
What is one thing that you get on your case about that you can start to accept about yourself?
Personal truth can sound like a lofty concept and like it is detached from everyday life, but this does not need to be the case. Our personal truth can be a felt and lived experience. In fact, it is. When we live our personal truth we feel happier, more loving, and more energized. When we step out of integrity we feel less happy, closed, and like we have lower energy.
When do you feel that you are connected to your personal truth? What does it feel like to you?
Forgiveness is a pathway to healing. Healing is a state of harmony and peace. When we hold onto grievances from the past the pain of these events is carried in us and is reflected in the world around us. We continually activate the pains so that they can be healed. The idea is not for us to suffer through life but to become aware that the pain is there so that it can be transformed.
What are you carrying from your past that needs to be let go of? What needs to happen for you to be ready to let it go?
Our most highly attuned state is a creative state. Creativity and its expression are the result of being able to be in the present moment, spontaneous, and positively focused. Creativity is a form of healing and an aspiration of conscious growth. We cannot create without the willingness to see more than what has previously been.
How can you nurture creativity in your life?
People crave a sense of meaning and purpose. Without it, we often feel lost at sea. The trials and tribulations of life are hard to weather because we face them with no sense of what to do with them. We may even end up feeling victimized by life and see ourselves transform into a perpetrator. When we have a sense of meaning we create a pathway through the challenges of life and create a sense of inner peace.
What is most important to you? Why is it most important?
I went to Omega to work with Carolyn Myss a couple weekends ago and one of the archetypes that she talks about is the Prostitute Archetype.
Think of it for a second. How are you willing to sell anything if the price is right? Whether we sell our time with our families, our values, or our health, it does not matter it is a sale of, as Carolyn Myss put it, a part of our soul that stops us from ever really being happy.
In order to make sure that you don’t sell your soul you need to know where it lives and how to care for it.
When your work is about success and fulfillment you do a lot of thinking about how to live the best possible life. Here is a list of some of the keys to living a deeply fulfilled life.
1. Figure out what you love. People are happier when they know what they love.
2. Do it often. Doing what you love makes you feel more fulfilled.
3. Remove things from your life that are mediocre, beige, flat or merely being tolerated. You only have so much time attention and energy don’t waste it on what does not matter.
1. Know what is important to you.
2. Know why it is important to you.
3. Because, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” F. Roosevelt
1. Learn to be good to others and do it as much as possible.
2. Learn to be good to yourself and do it as much as possible
3. Go out of your way everyday to do something especially nice for a total stranger.
1. Pay attention to all the wonderful things that are a part of your life both large and small.
2. Thank people for what they bring to your life.
3. Learn to find gratitude even for the things and people that are difficult
1. Take a few moments every day to sit quietly.
2. Keep a journal.
3. Learn to listen fully to what someone is saying. Really take it in before responding.
1. Make a list of everyone in your life that you have an unresolved issue with and find a way to resolve it within yourself and if possible with them.
2. Forgive yourself.
3. Make it a practice to forgive others as quickly as possible.
1. Make time to be creative in ways that please you the most.
2. Laugh as much as possible.
3. Remember that your life is what you dream it to be.
Looking for personal growth work that will guide you through making the changes you need to make for your fulfillment and support you as you step fully into a more fulfilled and happy life? Your answer may be LifeWork Community. Learn more here.