Of course, that’s hard to imagine when you’ve been hurt by those closest to you or made to believe power over others is the only way to gain traction in this world. When we’ve been raised in chaos, neglect or abuse, it’s most certainly impossible to imagine being vulnerable to anyone.
How do you acheive vulnerability when your family pattern growing up had been to divulge your secrets just to win an argument when they got mad at you? What would it look like to be vulnerable as an adult when your childhood history had been a beating if you were truthful? Why bother being vulnerable, because you tried that as a child and still your needs were not met.
Instead, you entered the adult world through a different way of being. You grabbed your weapon of anger, arrogance, addictions, compulsions, aggression, overachieving, under functioning, numbing out, depression, or anxiety. You clung to your strategy in whatever circumstance those defenses needed to work for you. You fought like hell to hold your ground. And now you’re tired. Your weapon of choice is battered. You’re exhausted. There must be a better way.
There is and it starts with self compassion. Try this little exercise I use with my clients: Write down the three worst things you tell yourself about yourself. Write them in “I am” statements. Say them aloud. Now go up to someone you respect and turn those three statements into “You are” sentences and say them to that person. Can’t? Of course not. You would never be that mean to someone else. So why are we so mean to ourselves? If we’re not careful our inner dialogue can be horrific and not fit for human ears. It guts us of any self esteem and tramples our sense of identity.
It takes courage to make a change toward self compassion and this is the root of vulnerability. This is where your strength lies – in opening to yourself. In treating yourself with love and tenderness. No one will ever treat you better than you will treat yourself. No one is treating you any better than you are treating yourself at this point in time. So, how are you being treated? How are you treating yourself?
Tara Brach writes in her book True Refuge: What if we could recognize our faults and look to see what is beyond them? What if we could see, with great tenderness, the painful unmet needs that have shaped our behaviors? For many of us, this process is the work of a lifetime, one that requires the active support of loved ones, therapists, spiritual teachers or healers. Yet it begins the moment that we are willing to look at ourselves through the eyes of compassion.
Opening our hearts to ourselves means we can drop our weapons. We can stop defending the invisible beast of self loathing. No battle is won until we can claim peace. Peace cannot be experienced until we surrender ourselves to the grace of self compassion.
Art- Transfiguration – Tatiana-Kiselyova