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How do you “be” vulnerable?

spring wheat

Recently, I was given the advice to try being vulnerable with an added footnote of ” … it might be good for you.”

Me.

Be needy-er.

To let others take care of me.

Do less … let others do more … and be all right with it.

Great advice, except for one little thing:  I. Haven’t. A. Clue. How.

To make the point further, I was asked, “When was the last time you made a mistake?” Dumfounded,  nothing came to mind.  Please know that this does not  infer I don’t make them, what I am saying is that, generally speaking, unless they’re really big and cataclysmic,  I don’t keep track. I know I forget names quickly  (ask me your name 5 seconds after we first meet .. Bill, Bob, Burt …um… oh, crap!), published with typos, turned left when I should have turned right, etc, you get the picture.

I don’t keep track of mine and I’m not keeping track of yours.

But the advice given did make me stop and think.

Be. Vulnerable.

How?  I don’t know how to do vulnerable.

Thinking about it more .. I think I understand what was meant: I do good job of taking care of everyone else. Of making sure that things happen. Birthdays aren’t just remembered, they’re celebrated.  Parties aren’t just held .. they’re thrown.  Dots aren’t just connected … they’re dot-to-Shazam-dot!

The point being?

Who does it for me?

It’s not that others don’t want to care for me … I haven’t let them.

I have no needs because I’m “fine.”

I’ve built a life out of being “fine.”

Ouch.

I get it now.  What she really meant was this: It’s OK to do a little less for others so as to leave room .. for me.

It sounds good .. in theory.

It’s also completely foreign to everything I’ve ever done.  It’s the opposite of me –my over-the-top, exceed all expectations, never-let-anyone-down- kind of way.

Make a mistake on purpose?   Are you kidding me?

What was your name again? 

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So … how good are you at being vulnerable?

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Categories: Attitude, Confidence at any age, Faith, Family, Friendship, Growth, Life, Personal, Random, Relationships, Self Discovery, Thoughts, Uncategorized | Tags: | 15 Comments

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15 thoughts on “How do you “be” vulnerable?

  1. Love the picture!

    As for the vulnerability – not so much. I describe myself as strong, independent, driven. Of course, people can’t lift you if you won’t let them.

    Maybe real strength is in the letting. Maybe…

  2. Love your site! Fun changes.
    Someone asked me once (in a vulnerable moment) “Who takes care of you?” Then the tears flowed and wouldn’t stop. I became a bit softer, less in control… “needy-er” after that.

    • Thank you; it was time to mix it up a bit!

      I think that’s a really interesting question, Georgette. I’ve always been the caretaker … mostly because there wasn’t anyone else. But .. now I see that there is, I think it would be smart to get out of my own way. Cheers! MJ

  3. Such a great post – especially for women who feel the need to have it all together so we can take care of everyone/thing else. If you’re not familiar with Brene Brown, you should watch this …

    She’s FANTASTIC and really addresses your question!

  4. Oh MJ this speaks to me in many ways. I’ve sobbed to Rob, begging he take care of me. You know – just take all the stuff I ‘feel’ I need to do. Let me close my eyes for a few minutes and know that he’ll be there – doing it for me. Alas, he met an independent (albeit stubborn) woman and married her. I paved the way… learning to ‘need’ is a skill – it’s a balance of not being overly needy to allowing help. I wish I allowed help in my younger years. I do now – well, I try. 🙂

    • Boy isn’t that the truth? “he met an independent woman and married her..” – so true. Actually .. for me, my guys are more than happy to “do” for me, I just have to do a little less so there’s something for them TO do. And … when we teach them that we don’t need anything, that undermines what they can contribute, too. More than anything, I find I do this with others … and, truthfully, I think it’s been a way to keep people at bay … and to manage the outcome as well. I tend to be a bit of a control freak because I know, deep down, if I’m involved in (fill in the blanks: ___ party, project, event, etc) it will 1) get finished and 2) be fabulous! The flip side? I’m exhausted … and … less fulfilled from all that “stuff” than I thought I was or used to be. I’m getting better at it but the hardest part has been .. recognizing it.

      Thanks for weighing in! 🙂 MJ

  5. I’ve always tended to take care of others too. My son, of course, when he was a child (and sometimes even now!). But also, my mother in her later years, my hubby’s late wife’s mother in her later years, and now a disabled cousin. It just seems to come naturally.
    BUT – after reading Georgettt’s comment, I have had a dear friend make a similar comment about “taking care of me”, and it also brought me to tears.
    I’m thankful that I’m strong enough to handle things – most of the time. But my Motor Man reminds me of the country song from a couple of years ago. I can “fall into him” anytime I need to! 🙂 That’s a true blessing.

    • What a wonderful quote from Motor Man .. and my hubbs would say the same. I am choosing to get out of my own way and learn how to be vulnerable … and let someone else have something to offer to me instead of me feeling I need to do all for everyone. It’s not like they asked me to, it’s just what I know, and sometimes … unlearning the behavior is the tricky part, right?

      Thanks, Dianna, for your insight! MJ

  6. This resonates with me. I am this person. How do you let your guard down and let someone else help? I don’t really know. It’s one of the hardest things for me to do. I appreciate it when others are helpful, but there is also an odd sense of almost embarrassment…like they’re helping because I’m not capable enough…I know that’s not what is meant, that it’s just my own hang-up that I feel this way. If someone does do something for me, I feel self-obligated to return the favor, repay the kindness. Haven’t solved this one yet. But thanks for sharing and highlighting this dilemma.I need to be more intentional in my behavior in this regard, and your post is a reminder to pay attention to this issue.

    Sheila

    • I understand exactly where you’re coming from; for me, I think it’s because my parents had very high standards – excellence was rewarded, capable was expected, good-enough was simply .. not. So it’s not always the helping part for me, because I can let others help, I just so rarely create opportunities for them to. And what I’ve learned is that if I do it all … I eliminate their opportunity to shine. It’s a bit selfish … and .. in the end I’m worn out anyways and not all that satisfied. Strange the twists & turns we put ourselves through, isn’t it? Maybe just being aware of it will be enough to keep us out of the ditch? I appreciate your thoughtful comments and wish you all the best, MJ.

  7. Wow, can I relate to this! To me, “being vulnerable” has always been synonymous with “being weak.” You’ve given me something to think about–not making any promises, though.

    • You and me both, Karen. It has been a big challenge for me to overcome, so much so that I know that means I really need to push myself to do it. Cheers! MJ

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