It’s been quite a year.
I stopped writing for a while. I didn’t know how to process certain events…and so I ran away from them! I numbed myself to feeling pain – not realizing that it also numbed me to joy, true community, and all the beautiful moments that make life worth living.
Emotional unavailability is lonely. Recently, I’ve realized that the armor isn’t worth it.
Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly fundamentally transformed my perspective of vulnerability. We’re taught that vulnerability is shameful – when it’s quite the opposite. Think about people that have been vulnerable with you – whether they’re keynote speakers sharing stories of failure or friends unpacking painful experiences at 3:00am. Intentional vulnerability requires an insane amount of courage. It’s the catalyst for deeper, meaningful relationships and trust.
The greatest challenge is continuing to choose honesty and vulnerability after you’ve been hurt. Our natural reaction to pain is to draw back. Protect ourselves. Survival of the fittest! I did this for over a year, scaling and recalibrating my armor so that my heart could never be decimated again.
In the process, not only did I shut out the people who loved me unconditionally – I also shut out myself. I always wondered why I wasn’t able to write anymore. By shutting down and running away from my pain, I lost the courage to be honest with myself.
It’s been a messy process, but I’ve started choosing honesty again. One lesson I’ve learned about relationships is that sometimes – it’s not you. When someone stops choosing you, it’s so easy to question your value and wrestle with inadequacy. “If I did/said/acted differently, they wouldn’t have left.”
I’ve realized that sometimes people leave because THEY’RE not ready. Your bags are unpacked, but they’re still struggling with suitcases of childhood trauma, abandonment, and toxic past relationships.
Understanding that has helped me heal and move on. I used to be caught in a vicious self-blame cycle, but I’ve slowly been learning how to forgive myself. Vulnerability is still terrifying, but I’m excited to embark upon more life – deeper connections – and honesty with myself and the people I love.
Last year was all about mustering the courage to face my pain. This year is about choosing joy.