November’s Word: Vulnerability

I think this series is really awesome and decided to participate this month. Go to http://kclanderson.com/before-and-after/ to read about how the series works and how you can participate (she is this month’s word host).

The word for November is vulnerabilility. We are supposed to discuss this word as a topic and what it means to us.

I feel like this is such a relevant word for me right now. I always make New Year’s resolutions. I never make ones that are like “I want to eat better or lose 5 pounds”. I kind of disagree with what a lot of articles say: that every goal has to be measurable to be more realistic. I think it depends on each individual goal. For me, I do better when a goal is less quantitatively measurable sometimes. Then I feel that there isn’t so much pressure.

For example, one year my New Year’s resolution was to be less flaky. It took me more than a year to get that one right, but that year, I REALLY DID work on it so much and improve so much. And most importantly, I continued working on it after that particular year was over and to this day I still am (I think that is the key – we are making a goal to keep working on it for life here, not just for one year).

Now I call people when I can’t show up (and I try to call them as early as possible). I push myself to attend committments even when I mentally don’t feel like it that day. Ever since that year (2007 I think) that I made this goal, I have been working on it.

This year, I wouldn’t say I said to myself at the beginning of the year, “I want to be less vulnerable”. Instead, my resolution was to love myself more and specifically work on loving myself enough to go for my dreams and enjoy the good things already in my life (the dreams I already have, if you will) without guilt.

So after reading a few others’ posts about vulnerability, I reflected on this resolution and can see that I have really made some progress with it. This progress isn’t quantifiable, and it is not perfect, but it is qualifiable and it is on its way to becoming more.

Like I said, my work on vulnerability is encompassed in two things:

  • Loving myself enough to go for my dreams, even when I am scared that I wil fail
  • And, loving myself enough fully embrace the blessings I have without fear that they will be taken away and without feeling guilty for them

To be honest, I have A LOT of work to do on both of these things. And as you can see, they both involve conquering fear, which I think is so tied to the choice of letting yourself be vulnerable.

To be more specific with examples (things I am conscious of working on and want to continue working on):

  1. Just LETTING my boyfriend love me and letting our love be a blessing and something I can say is amazing in my life, without fear. Ever since I was a kid, I have had this huge fear that the good things in my life would be taken from me. I am having SO much fear and OCD thoughts going on just as I type this. This fear is probably the biggest contributing factor to my OCD behaviors and eating disorder. It creates this need to control things so something bad doesn’t happen. B. has always loved me; I would venture to say he loved me first. Well, he said it first and took me by surprise. It’s strange that before I realized I loved him, I was so confident and different. My eating disorder was in as much remission as it had been for many years, I was just in the moment and having fun with life. Then almost the second I realized that I loved him too, this fear and need to control things came back. I was afraid that something I was happy about would get taken away from me. All these negative coping behaviors came back, and started a cascade to where I use them for everything now. But during his deployment, and in Thailand, I have worked on reminding myself over and over that he really loves me unconditionally, that he really thinks I am beautiful, and that I deserve to enjoy our life without guilt. When I can do that, THAT is when I can really achieve joy without worry. There are plenty of other things I have to worry about, and trust me, I will. But I want to believe I deserve good things too. Wow, it was so hard for me to write all this, but I wanted to and refuse to let my fear get in there. With obsessions and compulsions, I think it’s important to say, “Don’t give it power over you!”
  2. This other one is kind of different. It involves me being vulnerable about sharing my dreams with others (career-wise) and pursuing them. I was doing better at this for awhile and now really need to re-evaluate and start working on it again. Okay, so my dream is to go to pharmacy school. I have so many fears about it. Mainly about a) what if I don’t get in, when I want it so badly, and when the only thing I am confident about is my intelligence?, b) what if I can’t handle it (emotionally and physically I mean)?, and c) about the financial stuff. I think I have really pushed myself by even telling people that this is what I am pursuing right now, both on this blog and more importantly by far, in the real world – to friends and family. That makes me scared, and lately I have felt like giving up so much. But if I change directions, I want it to be because I think there is a better choice for my health (which is okay, and also involves loving myself and being confident), not because I was afraid I would fail.

Okay, too long once again perhaps.

What does vulnerability mean to you? How can you challenge yourself with it?

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4 thoughts on “November’s Word: Vulnerability

  1. Being vulnerable for me, or what I should try doing, is admitting when I’m confused in class or when I need help. Sometimes I am too busy putting up a front.

  2. Vulnerability to me means surrending control which like you I struggle with. I want to control to prevent the bad. And I also feel vulnerable about sharing my dreams too. What if I fail? What if I’m not smart enough? All these questions race through my mind but if I don’t take a chance I’ll never move anywhere. I’ll remain stagnant…

    Great post! Such a honest example of defining your vulnerabilities. I think that sharing your vulnerabilities helps break down the mental barrier about your reservations and fears.

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