“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” Bene Brown
To be vulnerable is scary, hard, and electrifying. The definition of vulnerability is: the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. WOW! Sounds terrifying? Yes, but as hard and scary as it is, it is also electrifying, empowering, and powerful.
For me vulnerability has opened the doors of my life to connection, friendship, and love! Yoga teaches us to live a authentic honest life, a life of integrity. So in order to be authentic I believe vulnerability is non optional. No matter how scary the idea of letting our true selves be seen, we must take that position. I chose each day to show up as I am and as I am not. This is not always easy and often frightening. Will my students, friends, and family stand by me, even when I’m not in the best of moods when I am sad or feeling down, angry or frustrated. Underneath these fears I believe is a fundamental need to be liked and accepted. Vulnerability is the willingness to let go of this need and develop self-love and acceptance.
So how do we love ourselves enough so the opinion of others is not stronger than are own self love? I believe through a strong practice of yoga, mindfulness, and self inquiry (the study of the self).
Asana (physical postures) have taught me how to listen and respect my body, an awareness of when to push more and when to back off. To connect to my body, feel my body, and listen. Our bodies speak to us, so often I believe we just don’t listen. We are animals and are instincts are strong and powerful, but how often do we push are instincts to the side and ignore them and listen from our heads or what we believe others think is right? I know I have many times, making decisions that later I realize were not in my best interest and that my gut was speaking, I was just not listening. My yoga mat has taught me the power of listening, and in believing in my own abilities. So many postures have scared me, but each one that has scared me has taught me about strength, facing fear, and allowing myself space to be vulnerable to fall, to get up and try again!
Asana, meditation, and self inquiry also teaches us about our thoughts, it builds awareness. For example, when we are in a posture and the negative self talk begins; “I can’t do this, I’m not strong enough, flexible enough, skinny enough! Look at the girl in front of me I’ll never be able to do that!” These thoughts are useless unkind and self-deprecating. For me this has been one of the most powerful life transforming parts of my yoga journey. I have come to learn to change those thoughts when they show up on and off my mat. This builds my awaress muscle. I can notice a self-deprecating thought, and the second it show up, I can swap it for one that is kind and empowering.
From a place of self-love and self acceptance, I have developed the strength to be vulnerable. I can show up each day as I am and as I am not. I teach, live, and love from this way of being. I can tell you that this is the most liberating, freeing, and electrifying feeling. It has lead me to profund friendships and a relationship I could have never dreamed of. It has inspired my life in so many wonderful ways. I truly believe my vulnerability has given permission to so many others to also live their lives from this way of being. From love and self-acceptance.
So what’s possible for you if you give up self-deprecation and chose self-love and acceptance. If you chose to be vulnerable on and off yoru mat. You let others see you for who you are and who you are not?