Is vulnerability all it's made out to be?



I read a post on Facebook recently which made me re-think something that I was going to write about, vulnerability hangovers.

If you have had one you will know what I am talking about, if not they kinda go like this….

Me: I know I will talk about something which is really important for people to hear (although this maybe hard for me as it’s very personal)

Me: Talks about the topic which is difficult publicly (whether this is in the internet, paper or just to friends)

Also me (even if there was a positive outcome): ARGH!!! What did you do that for everyone is going to judge you!!! Panic sets in and you want to hide from everyone.

This is exactly what happened to me after the recording for This Endo Life blog came out. I shit myself and couldn’t listen to it for 4 days after it was released. I wanted to shrink and hide. I felt like intimate parts of my soul had been shared which should have never seen the light of day, or at least not in a way which was permanently recorded and was out of my control as to who heard it/shared it.

Control. This is what I think it comes down to for me. I am very open (or at least I think I am) about my mental health and my journey and I am working really hard to release the shame associated with it, however, its the control thing which really gets me. My name is Rachael and I am a controlaholic. What I have realised so far on this journey is I don’t mind sharing my story in intimate talk settings, workshops or 121 meetings/ chats/ sessions as I have control over who is hearing the story. I can tell from their energy of the space whether I am safe to share or not and then I can share as much or as little as I choose. Yet, when I share online or in other spaces where I do not have control I loose my shit. I panic and I start to feel worried that I maybe judged, picked apart, laughed at or mocked, or worst still…. that people won’t like me! ARGH! The dreaded people won’t like me thing!

Anyway as I was planning to write about vulnerability hangovers, Yana popped in my feed with this little gem! So I had to share it with you as I felt this is a much better way of looking at it.

"WHAT'S WITH THIS VULNERABILITY THING? by Yana Seidl

I see the word vulnerability being thrown around left right and centre in my world. It's revered as this beautiful trait.

I often get told that my vulnerable sharing is admired.

Whilst I appreciate the compliment, I really have to say...

I disagree.

Do I feel open?

Yes.

Do I feel vulnerable?

Not really.

Vulnerability: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

I post openly. I don't post from states of feeling exposed to attack or harm. Why would I be calling that in? Why would I want to romanticise vulnerability? It doesn't make sense.

This 'all hail vulnerability' vibe feels like an icky disempowerment strategy having wormed its way into what is really our super-human powers: Connection, authenticity, transparency, the ability to inspire and facilitate change.

Surrender in itself requires trust. Trust IS assurance.

Openness being synonymous with vulnerability feels detrimental to true empowerment.

I don't wish to share my truth (publicly online) vulnerably. I wish to share it with deep grounding, with confidence that I will be held and loved in my truth (if only by myself.)

Heck! When vulnerability does kick in I'm wallowing in a pool of my own processing, blanketed in shadows, feeling things I could never put into words... I'm releasing from the depths of my being.

Or I'm genuinely in a physical situation which puts me at risk...

Not typing a well worded post on facebook."

Following reading Yana’s thoughts, I realised a few things. Yes I did feel vulnerable for sharing but I also felt empowered. I enjoy sharing my journey with others as I feel it helps us all grow. When I share my story, I often get people sharing back with me, we open dialogue and share positive ways of improving ourselves, we can sometimes laugh at the harrowing things which have happened to us and bring some light hearted healing to proceedings.

So I am reframing my vulnerability. It’s ok to be vulnerable to process all the things we need to but its also ok to move out of the victim archetype and share with power, grounding and openness with the intention of helping others as well as yourself.


East London, UK | Rachael (at)welfordwellbeing.com | 07912 638 966

© 2019 Rachael Welford

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