Vulnerability was a sign of weakness
I was independent, successful in the eyes of society and I'd pretty much achieved most of it on my own.
I was self-sufficient, I didn't rely on anyone and I liked it that way.
No-one to let me down.
No-one taking credit for my accomplishments or telling me that I owed them anything.
Me, myself and I.
Another one of my mantras which intensified when Beyonce co-signed my sentiments!
Me, myself, and I--that's all I got in the end
That's what I found out
And it ain't no need to cry; I took a vow that from now on
I'm gon' my own best friend
I agreed fully.
People can't be trusted. They will always let you down or disappoint you, eventually leaving you on your own anyway, so why bother letting my guard down at all.
That was my firm belief.
Don’t get me wrong, I had friends – good, close, long-term friends - and I come from a close family, I just made it a point not to ask anyone for anything.
I didn’t ask for help and more often than not, if I was struggling with something, no-one knew.
I went through my twenties keeping people at arm’s length (#nonewfriends) and became almost expert at it after training as a life coach.
I was able to connect deeply with people without actually letting them into my life.
It was not until I started reading Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown that I grasped the impact my avoidance of vulnerability was having on my life.
At the time I picked up the book, I was beginning to feel suffocated by my comfort zone and becoming increasingly frustrated and dissatisfied with life.
I held back and played small in many areas of my life.
Fear dictated my choices and limited the opportunities I took advantage of.
But I didn’t link any of it to vulnerability.
I saw vulnerability as a sign of weakness.
But, in the words of Anais Nin, "the time came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom" and it was clear that my relationship with vulnerability needed to be transformed.
As I worked my way through the book, the immense power available to me through vulnerability became clear.
The possibilities were endless.
The world became a bigger, more exciting place and I wanted to be part of it again.
I felt like I could breathe.
Vulnerability is a continuous journey
Vulnerability can feel terrifying, especially if like me you've spent most of your life trying to avoid it.
But the truth is that you'll never know what you're truly capable of until you embrace vulnerability.
You will stumble; you may even fall flat on your face a few times.
And it will be painful.
There's a chance you'll be rejected, criticised or judged, more than once.
You might get hurt and be left feeling disappointed.
Each time, you'll no doubt want to run and hide and go back to a life without vulnerability.
However, vulnerability is a continuous and worthwhile journey.
Show up each day as your authentic self.
Speak your truth.
Share your ideas.
Ask for feedback.
Give yourself permission to "mess up" and get things "wrong".
Reframe what you've been taught about failure and instead see it as feedback and an opportunity to do things differently or better.
Focus on the outcome you're committed to and see everything else as a stepping stone.
Finally, know that you're not alone.
No-one likes feeling vulnerable because underneath everything, we're still kids who want to be loved and accepted.
So be flexible with your expectations of others.
Vulnerability is an act of courage
It takes guts to be vulnerable, especially in society today.
It’s not easy and it can feel extremely uncomfortable at times.
But remember, as the title of Brene Brown's TED talk affirms, there's also great power in vulnerability.
Embracing vulnerability allows you to unleash your full potential and live life out loud and in full colour.
It opens up more opportunities and enables you to experiment and be adventurous.
It gives you access to deeper, richer and more authentic relationships.
And if you allow it to, vulnerability empowers you to grow, evolve, and expand.
[Written By - Leanne Lindsey (@Leanne__Lindsey) Instagram - For More Work From Her, Go To leannelindsey.co.uk]