I have been fascinated by the work of author and researcher Brene Brown. I discovered her on Oprah’s Life Class and have been intrigued every since. I recently bought her book “The Gifts of Imperfection.” The timing seemed impeccable because I’ve been struggling with perfectionism, shame, and vulnerability for a long time and I’m ready to move past them.
I’m happy to report that I’ve been in a healthy, loving relationship with a great guy for a little over a year now. Given my past, vulnerability has been tough to overcome. Vulnerability, as Brown defines it, means to “show up and be seen. To ask for what you need.” Wow, if this wasn’t an a-ha moment. And with my boyfriend’s help, I’ve been able to see that I struggle with this even outside of romantic relationships.
Many people grew up to believe that to be vulnerable meant to be weak. I wasn’t raised this way but I have discovered that as a child I determined on my own that being totally open and emotionally naked could lead to disaster. As a defense mechanism, I have built up walls and it wasn’t until recently that I discovered how much this was hindering my life.
Brown doesn’t believe that we should be vulnerable with everyone. Not everyone has earned the right to “hear our story.” But everyone, in our most primitive state, craves for love and belonging. And without vulnerability, we’ll never quite experience the love we seek.
So how did I move past my fear of vulnerability? It’s something a fight with everyday but each day gets better. I keep telling myself that the only way to have a true, authentic relationship is to show up with my whole-hearted, imperfect self. I’m beginning to have more of the hard conversations and talk about how I really feel. And trust me, these new changes have not always been met with love and support. Some people resist. But I’m learning that it’s ok. It just lets me know that you’re not the person that’ll hear my story again. I move on.
I was just thinking that sometimes in life we have to make tough decisions. Sometimes those decisions may initially hurt another individual, but we have to be mindful of our own well being. Just recently I had to make a decision that I’m sure crushed another individual. It crushed me, too. I had to do some deep soul searching and I discovered that I have to make me happy; I have to do what’s in my best interest and what’s conducive for me long term. If I’m not happy, how can bring joy to others? Sometimes I guess at times we have to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. But waiting during the painful part is the hard thing to do. I just pray that I will continue on the path that God has chosen for me and if so, everything will turn out fine.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about how sometimes people come into your life your only a short time, a season. Then suddenly they are gone. It reminds me of what I’ve read in Iyanla Vanzant’s book “Acts of Faith.”
When someone is in your life for a reason, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend, and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled; their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on. Next!
So, I cut my hair yesterday. I had one of those Angela Bassett in “Waiting to Exhale” or Gabrielle Union in “Breaking all the Rules” moments. There’s something very liberating about cutting your hair. Sometimes I glance in the mirror and I don’t recognize myself though. : ) I have to admit that it was sort of in rebellion of Mr. You-know-who. He never wanted me to cut my hair. I know, I know. I shouldn’t care what he thinks! But now that it’s summer, it’s time for something fresh to go along with my new attitude.
This is something I read from “Faith in the Valley” by Iyanla Vanzant:
“Nothing in life happens passively. We are completely responsible for every experience we have, because we determine how we will respond. . . .Always remember, no what is going on in your life, it is your responsibility to choose how you respond. This does not mean you will not hurt. This does not translate to you should ignore what you feel. Not being a victim and taking responsibility means: feel the pain, honor the shock, look for the leason, and keep on moving in a way that honors who you really are.”
A lot of times, we get caught up in feeling like the victim. We want to blame everyone else for our problems. But as Iyanla stated, we alone are responsible for the things that happen to us. If someone mistreats us, it’s likely because we failed to set up proper boundaries or we were afraid to confront the person. Well, now that we’ve grown and seen otherwise, it’s time to make better choices.
Peace and blessings
I saw this on someone else’s page and I thought it was worth posting here:
I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things to wrong so that you can appreciate them when they’re right, you believe lies so you can eventually learn to trust no one but [God and] yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.