It’s so interesting that often in different types of relationships we hold back instead from just being ourselves and allowing things to work out the way they’re meant to be.
You make a conscious effort to be less of yourself instead of just modelling what you want from your relationships. This choice leaves you feeling unfulfilled. You may end up finding yourselves in spaces you don’t want to be in, sometimes even with people you don’t really like because you have sacrificed your true self.
I think sometimes we’re scared to be ourselves for fear of rejection and so we wait for others to go first and be open. But if you find yourself in a space where you think you’ll be rejected for simply being yourself, then deep down (or maybe even just beneath the surface), you know that you’re somewhere you don’t really want to be.
Perhaps you want people in your life that you can be vulnerable with, yet when you have the opportunity to open up you choose to resist. And if the people around you aren’t being vulnerable with you, you end up feeling frustrated. But I think it’s fair to ask yourself, if you’re not willing to open up why should anyone else?
And in the grander scheme, if you aren’t willing to show up as your truest self in your relationships, why should you expect anyone else will?
I just googled not being able to voice your needs and there were about 1,220,000,000 results.
Being able to voice your needs is an important part of life. If you can’t say what you need, you probably won’t get it.
If you’ve ever been that person you might have been lucky enough to find someone that gets you. Not in any romantic sense but just someone that understands you even when you’re not able to find the words. That kind of person comes into your life through you being open and vulnerable enough to voice your needs.
It could be as simple as letting someone know that you need space, at first the person might be surprised or not take it well. But over time a good friend or someone that cares about you will understand that at certain times you need to be alone. And it won’t become an issue, they won’t try and make you feel bad or tell you that you have to have to talk now. They will listen and respect your needs.
On the flipside, people that aren’t able to voice their needs might end up falling into feeling misunderstood or uncared for and then carrying that feeling around them everywhere they go. But more often than not, that feeling isn’t true at all. It only feels true because you’re not saying what you need.
Do you really know what you want?
Often we go around telling people what we do want and even what we don’t want. Doing so can help you feel like you know and understand yourself because you’re able to articulate your needs.
What can end up happening is, when the needs you voiced are met, you come to find that it’s not what you really wanted at all.
Suddenly, you find yourself going back on your previous statement or displaying emotions like frustration or annoyance at the person who has done what you asked.
For example, you may say that you want to be left alone. However, when everyone leaves you end up getting upset.
The truth of that matter is that you didn’t really want to be left alone. Perhaps, it’s that you felt misunderstood, wanted someone to sit with you and listen or just wanted comfort. However, voicing these kinds of needs isn’t always easy because they show your vulnerable side.
It’s much easier to just say that you want to be alone, particularly when you’re not sure if the people around you are capable of meeting your real needs.
But, if you give the people around you some credit and allow yourself to be vulnerable for just a moment, you might find that you’re able to get exactly what you need.
So often, we’re afraid to be vulnerable and let people know where we’re at. In doing that you miss out on the opportunity to be supported by people that care.
What often ends up happening is you feel frustrated that there is no one to support you, not realising that you haven’t even given them a chance.
The best way to break this habit is to be more open when talking to the people that you know you can trust. Instead of having those Hey, how’s it going? Yeah, good thanks, you? types of conversations make the effort to be a little more vulnerable.
It might feel strange at first but when you talk to the right people they’ll listen to you and show support which is sometimes all you need. Your act of bravery might have a knock on effect because often you find that the other person will start to open up more too.
I recently had an unexpected conversation that I didn’t expect to have yet at the same time it was exactly what I needed.
It can be difficult to let people know that you need a little bit of reassurance once in a while. However, sometimes maybe it’s not even really reassurance but instead just to talk about your vulnerabilities and the things that scare you. It turned out that my situation I was discussing in conversation wasn’t as unique as I thought but that’s a good thing.
It made me understand that the challenges I was facing and the things I was struggling with we’re just life. That’s not to say that life is about challenges and struggles though.
I realised that in thinking my current circumstances were not the way things were supposed to be, I was pushing against them and filling my mind with fear when really what I needed to do was embrace them.
And after that conversation, the challenges and struggles didn’t seem so bad at all. I guess it’s like I always say, talking helps.
Sometimes it takes accidental escapism to remind you of the kind of person you desire to be.
Catch yourself in the moment and ask yourself questions like ‘Am I being myself?’ or ‘Is this truly where I want to be?’ And then answer them openly and vulnerably.
You might find that you’re quite content with the life you’ve created but perhaps you’re yearning for more. Many people believe that dreams are something that we have to grow out or let go of, that they aren’t to be actualized. But what if they are.
Perhaps that’s the reason for your lack of contentment in life.
All you have to do is figure out what you want and then go for it with full gusto.
But make it humorous.
How many times have you gone into a situation and rejected yourself or put yourself down before others had the chance?
And of course you don’t just say it out right, you make a joke because everyone likes to laugh. If it’s at your expense, maybe they’ll keep you around.
It’s interesting to identify the why behind your actions or the actions of others. It gives you a greater understanding and the opportunity to practice compassion.
So, maybe you could stop making those self deprecating jokes and try a vulnerable conversation with a friend (or someone else you’re comfortable talking to) instead.
This isn’t about a movement for equality, it’s something personal.
Liberation is a beautiful thing.
I recently realised that I’m experiencing a period of liberation in my life and it feels amazing.
The best part is I liberated myself. It wasn’t from any single action but instead a collection of things like daily gratitude, monthly morning manifestos, having open conversations about how I feel and allowing myself to be vulnerable.
The liberation has only just begun but so far it has shown up as me just being myself. In the past, I’ve had a lot of situations where the worry and fear overpowered my ability to do the things I wanted to do and so I would hold back.
The art of being yourself should be like free flowing water, it doesn’t require worry, going back and forth until you’re mentally exhausted and leaving situations wishing that you’d allowed yourself to be seen.
I feel as though I am entering a new stage in my life which is quite fitting as 2019 is coming to a close and the new decade is on the horizon.
I’m sharing this major growth point in my life with you because it is exactly what this blog is about. You have the opportunity to overcome the challenges you face and explore the joy of life.
The purpose of an animals shell is to protect them from danger.
Humans don’t have physical shells but we do have actions and behaviours that we express in order to protect ourselves.
So, let us play around with the metaphor of us humans having shells.
Perhaps you’re closed off around new people to protect yourself from getting hurt. And in some situations that might save you a lot of hassle and be a useful thing to do.
But what about when it’s time to be vulnerable or what about when you don’t actually need to protect yourself as there is no danger present.
As much as it’s great to know how to protect yourself it’s important to also remember that you don’t need to do it all the time.
Just because someone is older than you doesn’t mean they’re the best person to seek advice from.
I think there’s a level of vulnerability that comes with asking for advice, to be open and honest enough to say ‘Hey, so I’m going through xyz and I just wanted to get some advice from you as I’m not really sure how to move forward.’
Something I’ve learnt is that when I have a difficult decision to make it helps to view the situation from a different perspective and sometimes that happens quickest when you talk to someone.
However, it’s important to make sure that you’re talking to the right person.
For me that would be:
Someone I trust.
Someone I look up to.
Someone I admire.
Someone who has my best interests at heart.
Someone who will give impartial advice.
Someone with experience.
When you feel stuck and want some advice you probably want it from someone who can help steer you in the right direction rather than someone who leaves you feeling stressed or further fuels your indecision.
Whilst recently asking for advice I realised that often the main thing I want is someone who can shift my perspective.
Perhaps to not even advise on my specific situation but to remind me that I’m capable of making the ‘right’ decision.