Have you ever caught yourself in a never-ending cycle of ‘I’m not enough -ness?’ In a world where pop culture and social media call the shots, it’s easy to get caught up in the Land of Comparison.
We have films, music, and now even our ‘friends’ telling us how we should look, act, and live; and all of this sends us down a tunnel of shame. We become ashamed of who we are and who we have the capacity to be. We spend our days trying to become who we think we should be, instead of simply being ourselves.
Where does this shame come from? Why do we submit to the standards of the rest of the world? We convince ourselves that we aren’t good enough. We are taught humility, and somewhere along the way, humility turns into unworthiness. We are taught to love others as ourselves, but what about learning to love ourselves first?
Without this kind of love, we are unable to truly love another. And so shame saunters into our minds and wards off any trace of love we have for ourselves, therefore hindering our ability to love anyone else fully. So where do we go from here?
We must be willing to feel. We were never taught to feel. Instead, we’re taught that showing any form of ourselves that isn’t happiness, is bad. This is where shame is born. When a woman gets angry, we call her crazy; when a man weeps, we call him weak. In truth, these emotions are what it is to be human. And in order to embrace our humanness completely, we absolutely must be willing to be vulnerable.
We fight vulnerability a lot of the time because it forces us to feel. We often feel pain when we love someone so much, be it our partner, child, or friend, and we recoil our love. But that pain is simply our resistance to feel. Love isn’t painful, neither is anger nor heartache.
What’s painful is our resistance to those feelings. It’s fear surrounding our truest selves. Because being vulnerable is to show our authentic selves to those around us, to connect with each other. And that’s ultimately what this life is about, connection.
Real connections come from unequivocal vulnerability. We need this vulnerability to live the lives we were meant to live. Yes, with vulnerability comes uncertainty, confusion, fear; but it also comes with openness, bliss, and love. If we truly want to find joy in our lives, we must be willing to live with our hearts wide open. We must have the courage to be boldly and shamelessly ourselves.
What we give to the world is what we will receive from it. Expose your heart, fall into fear, and throw all of your shame away. We are all deserving of a full and happy life. Each and every one of us has all the tools we need to live in exactly the way we dream of doing.
Find the courage to be vulnerable. This might mean getting your heart broken or making a fool out of yourself. It’s going to be hard; do it anyway. You might find yourself becoming the person you always knew you could be.
Anna Schoener is a yoga instructor living in Malmo, Sweden.
Image credit: wikimedia