Let’s talk about vulnerability today. If you’ve ever found yourself secretly thinking “everybody seems to be doing better than me!”, read on. I’m going to explain why that’s not true, what stops us from admitting it, and how sharing what’s really going on for you can be a source of radical power and support. Strange as it might seem, your vulnerability is your strength when you find the right space to share it.
But first, let’s start with why this moment in history is wobbly for so many of us. That’s to do with the unique lens through which we’re viewing the rest of the world.
Take a moment to think about how you’re getting your impression of how others are doing.
With the restrictions in place as I write, many of us are increasingly filtering our interactions through the lens of social medias.
We’re not having as many glancing interactions with people – the casual connection at the playground or the pub. Those times you see each other around the water cooler at work, and just feel that someone’s energy is “off”. Tiny moments of compassion for strangers.
So we don’t recognize the fact that a lot of us are suffering.
Recent months have seen an epidemic of mask wearing.
(I’m not talking about the one you pop on to go to the shops.)
I’m talking about the “everything’s okay” mask.
You know the difference, right?
That, “everything’s fine!” or “I’ve got this handled!” mask.
That particular kind of mask wearing seems to have gone up a lot in recent times.
Our virtual gatherings during the pandemic were the first time in some cases, for weeks, months, or even years where many of us felt safe to go:
“You know what? Maybe I can rest my load down a little bit here and actually say how I really am.”
Early on, I noticed lots of people starting to share words to the effect of… “I’m actually really not managing very well.”
I’m not doing okay.
I’m struggling in my relationship.
I’m feeling like I’m failing as a parent.
We heard from women who were struggling to stop weeping. Dealing with real big emotions. Or experiencing that sense of sleepwalking numbness.
So many very deep and powerful shares.
What was revealed was just how much we are collectively challenged and hurting at this time.
Even those of us who are very well resourced. I’m thinking of our Lead the change graduates and participants in our Mastery program who are really deeply embedded in the tools. Even us as trainers! We’ve been working with these tools for years and years and years, decades in some cases.
And even the most resourced of us are feeling the strain of this time.
We are feeling the pressure, but…
We’re not talking about it in any other spaces. Which is why I think it freaked a few people out! A few people felt alarmed by hearing all this big emotion come up – and maybe even wondered if the event itself was causing an outburst.
But the truth is, those feelings and all of the hurt and challenge were already there.
This year many of us have experienced stress, difficult decisions and emotional strain unlike anything else we’ve gone through.
All that changed was the environment we created where it was safe to say that out loud.
And I’ve been reflecting on just how rare and precious that is ever since.
How vulnerable so many of us are feeling at the moment and just how few safe places we have to say that out loud.
Your vulnerability is your strength – because hiding it saps your energy.
… We’re lacking spaces where we can offload
This is a community of change making women who care. Which means if you’re reading this, you’re very likely to be the person in your space who listens, who’s the “go to” person.
The pillar of strength in the community.
We’re under huge pressure in our home environments, and on top of that we’re often being the strong ones for our family members, our wider family, and in our work spaces for our teams and colleagues.
And we are often the last ones to reach out and say, “I’m not doing okay”.
Because we feel like if we say that out loud, the whole world will fall apart.
But today I want to challenge that assumption. And here’s why.
Our feelings are collective
Part of the power of being open with our vulnerability is the recognition that it is a universal experience. Grief is universal. Fear is universal.
Sometimes we can feel like there’s something wrong with us as individuals – that we are somehow broken or particularly challenged. That our neighbor isn’t feeling this. The other school mums next to us are coping fine. The other women who are out dating or leading teams are not experiencing fear or sadness – that everybody else seems to have it together.
That is absolutely not the case.
Your vulnerability is not a fault or a problem. It’s a normal, healthy, compassionate human response.
In this community, your vulnerability is your strength
When we come together in community and we start talking about our experiences, one of the first and most healing pieces is this realisation that emotions are universal experiences.
“I’m not the only one!”
Why does this surprise us? Well, I’ll tell you why it surprises us… because we don’t bloody well talk about it!
We don’t talk about our innermost feelings. We don’t talk about the fact that we sent an email out to a potential client and they didn’t write back and we feel rejected and alone.
We don’t talk about the fact that we went out on three dates with a girl or a guy, and then we didn’t hear from them afterwards. They disappeared and we feel rejected and alone.
We might talk about what happened, but how often do we actually talk about how we are feeling at a deeper level?
And if I could take that one step forward further, I would say, how many of us actually even take the time to notice how we’re feeling at a deeper level?
What’s missing in our culture and in our society, are safe spaces to be heard, to be the full entirety of who we are.
All of our huge, awesome and rocking magnificence and all of our vulnerable, weepy, uncertain, insecure selves.
We just don’t have those spaces.
At One of many, we’re dedicated to creating safe spaces for women to share
And that for me is one of the things that I’m intensely grateful for.
To see how all of us feel able to come to show up, to share so deeply here, is incredibly moving and empowering for me.
If you’re someone who doesn’t even look at your own emotions, you start hearing from women who are more open.
And you might just start to look for the very first time and start to notice how you feeling.
Or, if you’re very present to how you’re feeling, but not actually telling anybody about it, you might show up on a Living the Change coaching call or in the Be One Global Community on Facebook. And say “this is what’s going on for me right now”.
When it’s said out loud, it becomes a shared experience.
And then what usually happens in this community is hundreds or dozens at least of other women go, “Oh, me too. You know, that’s something similar happened to me. Yeah. Something similar happened to my sister.”
It’s such a powerful thing. And that relief that can follow sharing openly, and not being judged, is so powerful.
Sometimes it’s just the ability to lay down the burden in a safe space, which is a critical piece.
This extraordinary community
So I want to acknowledge and honor you, right now, because whether you found us 5 years or 5 minutes ago, you’re a part of what makes the fabric of this community. You are a part of what makes this a safe space. And I thank you for how you are with each other.
Want more support – along with practical ways to create change?
If you need someone in your corner, if you want to lay down the burden, if you want a place where it’s normal to feel things, it’s normal to have challenges, and it doesn’t make you broken or wrong or helpless… I invite you to come and join us in Living the Change.
You’ll get access to all the tools and resources in our membership site, plus The Hearth, our private online coaching space space. Our in-house coaches are there to answer your questions and provide support whenever you need it.
This isn’t about whining or blaming or being victims. It’s a place to find an empowered sharing of what’s truly going on and practical tools and strategies to help you to create the life you want – to get the results you want to get.
Where’s your safe space to share?
What are you going to do next? How are you going to reach out and to whom?
- If you’re already in Living the Change and it’s been a while since you came on a coaching call, maybe it’s to join one of the calls, and prioritize getting your hand up and getting coached?
- Maybe it’s coming into the BeOne community and sharing how you’re doing. You could say “I’m not looking for advice” or “I just want to know if anyone feels like this” – or maybe you’d like some tips from someone else who’s been in your situation. It’s up to you. Tell us what you need.
- Maybe it’s calling up a friend and saying “I haven’t spoken to you for a long time cause I’ve been having a tough time. Can we have a real conversation about the tough times we’re having, and maybe be there for each other?”
There’s many, many ways to create your safe space, but you need one. All of us need one right now. It’s a really tough time. What are you going to do to support you to handle it with even more support? Let me know in the comments.
Our intention is simple. To support professional women to handle the day-to-day so they can unleash the bigger impact they feel called to make in the world.
We believe real leadership is less about skill, and more about having a well of physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual strength to draw on. Every week we support thousands of grassroots leaders globally with our free articles, videos and online trainings with powerful tools and methodologies created BY women FOR women.
Become One of many™ women creating strong, meaningful connections in our community.
You might also like to read...
- What to do if you’re lonely - May 19, 2022
- What coaching survivors can teach us about burnout - May 12, 2022
- Two secrets to building a support network - May 4, 2022