I'm not sure when it started; my fear of vulnerability, but I can remember it way back to when I was about 6 years old. I recall one Christmas when I was so excited that I could not go to sleep on Christmas Eve. I was awake for hours. Like most kids that age, I woke up really early on Christmas morning. This is where I stop being the typical kid. I laid in bed for hours. I wanted so badly to get out of bed but I was unwilling to show my excitement. Finally, one of my parents came in to "wake me up" and tried to get me excited to get out of bed. I still wouldn't budge. I acted as if Christmas morning was no big deal and that I was quite bored with the whole thing. When I finally did get up, I went out into the living room, saw all my presents under the tree and sat there as if I wasn't the least bit interested. I begrudgingly opened a couple of gifts, giving either no response or very mild appreciation. At one point I got up, went into my room, closed the door and silently danced up and down and quietly screamed with excitement over the gifts I had received. I then went back to the living room and continued the crazy charade.
What I have since figured out, is that showing emotion; any emotion equaled vulnerability to me. Anger=vulnerability, excitement=vulnerability, sadness=vulnerability. No willingness to be vulnerable=outward stoic, inside miserable. I spent most of my life attempting to control myself and not show emotion of any kind. Because I held it in most of the time, my emotions would sometimes unexpectedly erupt. I couldn't figure out what was wrong with me and neither could anyone else. I was so sad and unhappy and couldn't figure out why I didn't have the deep, meaningful relationships that I desperately wanted. People didn't relate to me because I was unwilling to show myself or my vulnerability. Everyone thought I had it all together, did things perfectly and never had any problems. People generally liked me (I think!) but it was hard for me to really connect.
Thankfully, through a series of events, I gained the knowledge that I needed to make a huge shift in my life! I have been on a mission for the past 5 years to show my humanity, imperfection and vulnerability. This means showing that I'm ticked off when I am. It means speaking my mind when I think it's important. It means crying in front of people (yuck!) when I need to cry. It means simply showing that I am excited about something.
What freedom this has brought! I am in love with my life today. I am finally making progress towards my goals and dreams and I have so many incredible relationships with people. I am near bursting with gratitude.
Where in your life are you unwilling or unable to show your humanity, imperfection or vulnerability? What is it costing you?