Episode 32: Vulnerability...Scary but Worth it
Description: It is extremely scary to be vulnerable. As we learn the key areas we need it, and develop the skills to practice it, our lives move forward. We get better, feel better, and our relationships greatly improve. Vulnerability is a form of honesty and integrity. It's imperative for growth and healing.
Today we're going to be talking about vulnerability. It's a hard one, it's a scary one, it makes us feel uncomfortable. But the end result is movement. It helps us grow it helps us see better and clear and live in reality. And it helps us so that all of our emotions don't get stuck deep inside to where they come out kind of sideways, either with anger or sadness, or pain, or isolation, frustration, any of those things, it is so important to learn how to live with vulnerability so that we can thrive.
I recently returned from a retreat for women that I put on, there were 24 of us there. And I'm talking you've got to be super vulnerable to come to an event where you don't know anyone or maybe you only know a couple of people, and you're there so that you can move forward in life, you're there to open up your heart and mind to learning to growing to hearing new insight and wisdom, you feel stuck in some area. Maybe you're thriving over here.
But you are feeling kind of like in the unknown in a different area and you want to move forward. That's what these women did was to gather for an event that would help them just kind of see clear what was standing in their way. And I'm telling you, it was so impactful. I left there just in awe of the women that were there, the way they shared their stories, their their happy times their sad times the wisdom that they had the insight that they gave us.
And it was so cool to see how people showed up one way and kind of left with a new added spark to their life. So first, let me just kind of take you to how this even got started. I used to attend different kinds of conferences or retreats for companies that I worked for. And I loved going. But usually I had somebody there that I knew I wasn't ever going into something just by myself with having to open up and, and share things with people.
Now that sometimes happened. But that's not what I was going for. And in these particular things that I went to, I would stay in a hotel room with either myself or with a few other people of people that I already knew. And so there was this safety to it. I remember the first conference that I went to in regards to betrayal trauma, which is what my focus is, personally, because that's my experience.
And I had found this group online, it was called the togetherness project, they no longer exist. But at that time, I was following this group on Facebook. And they had been doing these conferences. And so I thought, Okay, I'm gonna go to this, I'm gonna I'm gonna do this. And I invited a couple friends to go. And I knew that I was going to be showing up probably first because because I was meeting people there. And what I found was, I felt like it was okay that I didn't know anybody because it was a large group. And I could kind of sneak in and I could sit at a table, and nobody would have to even know me.
And if I felt uncomfortable, that would be okay, I could leave whenever I wanted. And I kind of built this little safety net around me these little walls that felt protective. Like, I only need to share if I feel like I want to share and I I just kind of felt like I could do this because I wouldn't be put on the spot. Well, I went and I learned so much. And I listened to people around me that were already comfortable in this arena that had already been sharing their story.
And I started learning key new things. I listened to the speakers, I gained insight, I took a ton of notes. And it began my journey of opening up and how awesome it can be if you share your story with people who feel safe and who support you and who want things that are good for you. And what it does, what it does to my heart and mind and where it makes it so that all the stuff that I'm thinking about or feeling isn't just stuck inside.
It was life changing to be able to attend something like this. And then I attended them later in the future and of course I had grown and been more open and I was excited to be there and met new friends and saw old friends That I had met at previous conferences, and it kind of just kept going. Well, as I started my journey into healing, betrayal, trauma, writing my book, starting a podcast, all of these things, I knew I really wanted to do a retreat.
Now my retreat didn't center on betrayal trauma, it didn't have to this was women coming together, like I said, at the beginning, to grow, to learn to see what is holding them back. Now were there some there with betrayal, trauma, of course, because that's who I am. And that's a lot of the people that listen to me. But there were so many that had other things that they were learning and wanting to grow and move through. Now, because I had experienced some conferences before and the anxiety that I had felt, I was already feeling like I kind of know where they're coming from.
I was imagining them that day, the day of the event, thinking, why did I do this? Why did I sign up for this? I'm walking into that house, I have no idea who's going to be there. And I'm going to be sleeping in this house with these other people that I don't even know how uncomfortable how awkward? What if I don't know what to say? What if I don't know what to share? What if I don't want to share my story at all? So many questions and concerns and anxiety.
Yet, one by one, they walked through that door? I talked to several and they said they were freaking out they wanted to cancel. They were thinking why am I doing this? Yet they walked through the door. how vulnerable is that? Amazing. It was amazing to me. They walked in and and honestly, they came in they got their name tags, we showed them to their room.
And and the lights started coming on the feeling of acceptance right from the start that we're all here for the same purpose that we're all trying to become more and find out who we are, and how to thrive in our life. within just a few minutes, the room started getting loud. And as more people came in, the talking was just non stop. I thought it was so powerful.
We visited for a while before we had introductions. And we went around the room and talked about why we were there. What we were hoping for a little bit about our story if we wanted to share and just kind of to get to know each other a little bit on a personal level. Before these women came, I had a few emails about some of the nerves that people were experiencing and making sure I understood that, you know, they might not want to share their story. And that was totally fine. The thing about retreats is that this is for you, you get to decide what feels right for you, you get to decide if you're just going to be an observer, if you're just going to kind of take it all in and process it or if you want to share at the time before people got there. Everybody had their own perception of what it might feel like or be like.
Well, some of us are more protective of our stories, or some of us are a little bit more introverted. And so we're not super big shares. Some people have never shared their story at all. And then they get to this retreat. And this information is just pouring out of people's mouths, right, they're looking for support, and they're looking for friendship. And it happened, it just kept happening over and over.
And you saw people sitting together and, and crying together and hugging and, and offering so much validation and assurance and laughter the laughing was, was so much I just kept smiling every time I was in another room and the and the laughter would would break out, I would just think this is so cool. But I want to share that some of the people that I talked to before the retreat that were nervous about not really wanting to share, they just kind of wanted to observe by the end, they did not feel that way anymore.
They were so shocked and surprised at how open they felt, how they wanted to be a part of things, how they felt connected to these other women and how, for one time in their life, they felt like people understood that even though the details of their story were different than someone else's our heart and that the painful things that we go to each one of us in our life we all do.
The heart feels the same. And we have to use the same tools to move forward from whatever it is that we're going through. We have to use the tools to heal or to open ourselves up or to accept new learning and new skills into our lives. If we go about our day and our years and our life with the same tools and the same knowledge and never learn any more. We're only going to go so far. So what they found was learning and being vulnerable actually gave them so much more growth and movement.
We had a speaker come we had a couple but one of them was Ryan, my counselor from years ago, and he came and he was talking about the different pieces in us that hold us back, that we kind of get trapped behind. He taught us kind of things about parts work, which I've talked about before in previous episodes. But what he was trying to do is get us to see that the emotion that we're having about something that is on the surface that we're feeling, usually is protecting something else that we feel underneath.
And it was so cool, because he actually did a live counseling session, he asked for a volunteer, and someone did, and I am telling you, the vulnerability that came from doing a personal session, about your work and about what is holding you back, the emotions that were coming up, was unreal to be sitting there in a room with 24 people sitting there sharing your thoughts and feelings and emotions, while other people watched, was so vulnerable.
And I was in awe at the way the room, as soon as the emotion started coming up. The women in that room, it's as if we zeroed in, like we surrounded this woman with our thoughts and energy that we were with her, she was not alone going through this, she was not being judged or criticized, nobody was on their phone, there was not a sound, except for the tears that were falling from each of our faces.
Ryan asked her to bring up a scenario that was kind of causing her a little bit of harm or bothering her in some way. And she brought something up about one of her kids and, and a new dynamic that was going to happen with it with that child and, and he said, Okay, this is great, this, this is what we're gonna go with this one. And I'm going to walk you through how to recognize and sit with your feelings, so that you can see the parts of you that need to be heard.
And so that you can address those things. So they can kind of move out of the way and you can see what else there is. So as he did this, and as he kind of was talking to her about her story surrounding this event, she started feeling fear. And her body started responding with kind of triggers with trauma where you're kind of shaky, and your emotions are coming to the surface. And she started feeling a lot of fear in talking about this, to where he asked her well, where are you feeling this fear, and she's like, it's in my throat, and it feels like it's, you know, all in there.
And it's like, it's choking me and, and she was trying to keep down the pain that was coming up. And he so kindly was walking her through this and saying, No, just sit with it. You're okay, you're safe here. This is a really safe group, these women are with you. Let's feel this, let's talk about the fear. And as he worked with her about the fear, and as she was vulnerable, and talked through all the emotions that were happening, I'm serious.
It was so sacred to be sitting there with someone in their vulnerable moment. It there was so much love in that room, it was tangible, as he helped her deal with the fear and move the fear aside, what fear was protecting was sadness. And then all the sadness started coming up. And the tears were just coming and coming and coming. It was so hard to watch. This beautiful person just sob all of these emotions out.
And at the same time, it was so beautiful. It was beautiful to watch her feel and see and notice and feel like she was supported in having that experience that she didn't have to do that alone. She didn't have to do that in isolation, that she could sit there with 23 other women and a therapist and feel exactly what she needed to feel. It was a spiritual experience. It really was. And everyone was with her.
Everyone was zeroed in on her sending her shooting her all the love and energy that they could even give. And what was so cool is at the end, Ryan was able to bring her from the fear through the sadness, and then to this place of calm and peace, where she was like, wow, oh my goodness, I feel so good. Wow. This is so crazy. I feel like at peace. She was smiling.
The tears were gone. She was no longer having any sort of trigger or trauma response she was she was at peace. This was so important to see. Because this is what it looks like when we do our work. This is why I am always saying do your counseling, get a counselor. Do your healing work. It is so important because we got to see in front of us right in front of us. how it actually works. Everyone's scared to be vulnerable, everyone's scared to go into a therapist and talk about or try to uncover maybe we don't even know what's wrong.
But to try and uncover what it is that's holding us back. And we're afraid because we get to that panic spot, the same place where this woman was where the fear is taking over, the panic is taking over, we do not know what's underneath, and we are scared, and we would rather not do it, I just want to step it down, I just want to step down, I don't want to deal with this, this feels too scary. But to see it in action to where Yes, it is scary. But look what happens.
As you are walked through it, guided through it loved through it, you get to move it, you get to release it, you get to see it for what it is, you get to uncover sadness and pain, you cry it out, and then you get to feel better. That's the whole purpose of doing our work, is instead of stuffing it down, over and over and over, we let it out. And we feel better, we get on the other side, we get to grieve the losses and get on the other side to where we get to find and feel joy and happiness.
That's what healing does. That's what being vulnerable does. So important to do our work. Now I know in this situation, this was a guided thing where nobody else was talking to her this was not in a relationship setting, she was being vulnerable, kind of on her own with a therapist. And so I know there's other areas that we have to be vulnerable in as well.
And mainly in relationships, whether it's with a spouse, or siblings or children or in the workplace, we have to be able to state what's happening, what's real, what we're feeling. If we're in an abusive or toxic situation, whether at home or at work, we need to be able to see that clear, and be open and vulnerable in saying and sharing. This is not okay for me. Why is that vulnerable. Because when we say something that goes against maybe someone else or someone else's thoughts or ideas, we are putting ourselves on the line, we don't know what the person is going to say we don't know how they're going to react, or not sure if we're going to be eaten alive.
Or if it's going to be taken in a place of compassion, empathy. Yet, that is the only place that there's any change. So if we look at a relationship, and we're vulnerable in a relationship, that means we come open to sharing our thoughts, feelings, ideas, pains, weaknesses. That means we don't have to be perfect. That means we can show up and do things wrong. We can even say things wrong, and be like, okay, that didn't come out, right, I need to try this again. We get to practice and we get to be open, it doesn't always go well. We sometimes get a response back that is damaging, that is hurtful, that is abusive.
The reason we still need to be vulnerable, is because it then still shows us what we're living in. It shows us the reality it shows us truth. As we practice being vulnerable, we become stronger, because we then start seeing what we need, and why we need it, the importance of it. Instead of being quiet. We never kind of expressed those things. And so we don't really see how important they are. But as we start sharing and being open, it's like it turns a little switch inside that goes, Hey, wait a second.
No, I get to feel this. I'm allowed to have feelings, I'm allowed to have thoughts. I'm allowed not to be perfect. I can be happy one day and sad the next day. All of that is okay. And when we're vulnerable, we start accepting those things within us. And we start also expecting people around us to accept us the way we are, we no longer feel like we have to walk on eggshells or make sure we're doing things a certain way so that they don't get upset.
As we are vulnerable with our children. They to build a more healthy ideal of what it is to be a person and an adult. Instead of looking at us like they have to be perfect or that we expect them to be as we are open and vulnerable with our mistakes as we say, Oh, I'm so sorry. I totally overreacted with that. That was me Not you. I was upset about something else. And that's that's where it was coming from but it had nothing to do with you. They can start relaxing into themselves they can also start being vulnerable. Are we expecting our kids to be happy all the time?
Do we get super irritated when they are sad or crying or angry or or causing problems? Probably right our tolerance sometimes and our patience level. Sometimes we're kind of in our own head. And so the things around us are very irritating but as we become more vulnerable, we'll be able to see the vulnerabilities in our children. And we'll be able to say, and notice, oh, they're acting different different than they were yesterday. So that means something may be going on.
Kids don't usually say I'm sad, or this person hurt me, they usually start acting out, they hit, or they squeeze, or they yell, or they squeeze their fist and fight. When something is hurt them when they're feeling vulnerable from the outside world, yet they don't express it. When we're vulnerable. We can notice it in them, and we can ask them the questions. We can sit with them. What happened at school today? What's going on? How are you feeling about things?
Let's talk about why you're angry, or why you're upset. And as they start talking, and you keep asking questions, you don't have to fix it, you don't have to solve it, just keep asking them questions, and then validating Oh, that makes sense. I'm so sorry, that that happened to you. And as you do that, you'll uncover what's really underneath. Just as in the example, when the therapist walked the woman at the retreat through her pain, and her fear, as she kept talking, really fear was not what it was, it was sadness. And that's what we can do with our kids.
And it takes vulnerability, and they have to be able to feel like they can trust us. As we practice and learn, we will be able to have healthier relationships, we will think more clearly about our own selves, we will value our own selves more, and we will feel like wait a second, I am deserving of love. I am deserving to be cared for the way this person is treating me, I'm kind of done with it. I'm over it. And what does that mean? We set boundaries, it's vulnerable to set boundaries, because we don't know how they're gonna react.
And we don't know if by us setting a boundary to keep us feeling better and feeling safe and not being abused. We don't know what the outcome will be. But that's okay. As we get stronger, we won't need to know what the outcome is, we will know that whatever happens is going to happen anyway, but we're going to be safe in the meantime, we're going to build ourselves, grow ourselves come out of isolation, learn how to do the healing work and what's holding us back, learn how to have a healthy relationship by being open and vulnerable and sharing the truth.
The truth hurts sometimes, but we're gonna share it. And by doing that, we get to grow, we get to change, we get to be more, we get to be a better person, a better friend, a better sister, a better wife, a better partner, a better coworker, a better mother. All of those things happen. When we choose to be vulnerable. It's probably one of the scariest things that we choose to do, honestly, because it's letting our walls down in our guards, everything that's trying to protect us. Kind of like how I was talking about when I went to my my first betrayal trauma conferences, where I kind of had all my security things in place.
And I was going to be able to sneak out if I needed to, and I wasn't going to share anything. Isn't it interesting how being vulnerable brought me from that place there where I wasn't going to share anything or talk to anyone. And here I am now speaking to everybody. That's what can happen. The growth, you don't know where you can be in the future, you don't know what tomorrow is gonna bring. If you open up, if you start sharing, if you start accepting.
If you start trusting yourself that it's Okay to tell the truth, your kids, you will do so much better by them. If you tell the truth. I need to do a podcast on that on kids, and their resilience and the truth and how they really do want to know what the truth is because their body's already telling them. If you ask any child that's grown now, if they knew what was really happening in their family's lives, they would say they knew something was wrong. And they thought it was them. And they thought if they were just a better child, it would all work out that their dad wouldn't be this way or their mom wouldn't be this way.
Or they would have stayed together or whatever. As adults, they'll say I wish my parents would have gotten divorced earlier. Because I knew something was wrong. They thought they were staying together so that I would be happy. But they were so unhappy. And now all I know is what that visual is of a relationship that's unhappy. That does not show love. It didn't teach me how to love more. It didn't teach me how to trust it didn't teach me the reality.
My body knew something was wrong. So if you're in the situation and you haven't been vulnerable and you've been protecting your kids from from the hard, things of the world and the truth, it's okay, you can start today. I promise you the healing work that you do even starting right now. The ripple effect just goes on and on and on. There's no reason to shame yourself into anything like ah not been vulnerable, I have not been truthful about all this, I've been trying to live with this pain and pretend it's okay. That's okay. Be patient with yourself.
Today's the day that maybe it's hitting you to do something different, that's perfectly fine, you're right on time, you can do things different if you choose to. And it all starts with you. Maybe take a piece of paper and a pen and write down some of the things that you wish you could be vulnerable about, maybe write some of the things down, that you're kind of holding back or you you wish your kids would know, you want to tell your partner that none of these things are okay anymore. And that this is how you feel inside.
And this is what it makes you feel like, maybe at work, you want to stand up to a co worker that is bullying or saying rude remarks. Start by writing it down, seeing where it's at seeing how you feel, if you notice that really triggered response or a trauma response, your heart starts racing, you start feeling panic or fear. Remember this scenario of the counselor walking through the woman through the fear. And know that even though at that moment, you're feeling fear and panic, if you do the work to get through this, you're going to feel better on the other side.
And you're going to feel empowered, you're gonna be like, wow, okay, well, I want to do that with other things in my life. When you feel the release from being vulnerable, and you feel that peace, kind of you heal it and it moves forward. And you kind of let that go and you keep going. You'll want to find more areas in your life, that you're doing that same thing so that you can keep feeling more free. It has such an impact on your heart and soul and your mind. being vulnerable, is scary, yes.
But it's imperative. If you want to grow if you want to move forward. And if you want to be happy. I challenge you to look at your life and see where you're not being vulnerable, where you can open up, let down your guards, Let down your pride. Let down the fears and choose a different way. Reach out to a counselor if you need to reach out to me as your mentor. If you'd like to do that. I'm happy to help you.
That retreat I talk so much about it was such a huge success. There were people on the waiting list, there's more people that are asking for another one. So we're gonna do one. It's in the process of being organized right now we're looking at the second week of November. It'll be up on the website at Roxanne Kennedy-Granata.com. That should be up really soon, probably this week. So take a look at that. And if it's something that interests you, send me a message or get registered. Remember to choose into your own healing and choose into you and I'll see you next time.