When was the last time you swallowed a lump of words or a wad of emotion that you were ashamed or scared to speak out loud? We feel alone in our fears and our doubts. We hide them and desperately hope that everyone around us sees us and feels like we have it all under control.

In working with my clients, we do a lot of digging to unearth the truth behind what they really want to say, how they truly feel and what beliefs they cling to that hold them back. What are some of the fears that we hide? The lies that we tell? The secret truths hidden under them? How vulnerability can be your greatest strength. Here are a few that I hear frequently. Notice the whispering vulnerable belief behind the words being said.

  • I’m afraid I won’t be able to deliver or do the job. But I won’t know unless I try. And I really think I can over deliver. I just don’t have a guarantee of that.
  • I’m scared that once they really get to know me, they won’t like me. But I don’t like myself because I am pretending to be someone I’m not.
  • I’m scared to really let my personality shine through because it might be “too much” for some people. But I end up feeling small and voiceless and feeling like no one really, truly gets me. And I lose myself along the way.
  • I’m living paycheck to paycheck and some months I don’t know how to make my bills. But I am trying really hard to create something. I’m just afraid I will be judged for my struggle.
  • I feel like my friends only like me because they need something from me. But I secretly like being needed.
  • I don’t know if I am making the right choice. But, even if I am scared, I have to do something to move forward or I will stay stuck. And I don’t want to stay stuck.
  • I give away way too much of my time. I’m afraid people won’t like me as much if I don’t or won’t hire me if they know what I charge, except I’m resentful of the time people take from me.
  • If I don’t do it all, no one will pick up the slack and it won’t get done and people will be disappointed. But I hate doing it all and I know that if I didn’t, someone would step in. But I would feel less important.
  • I can’t talk to the person who judges me the most because they won’t listen to me. There is no reasoning with them. I’ve tried, but probably not my hardest. I just wish they understood me.
  • I don’t have time to move forward into the life I really want. I have the time, but I’m petrified to make a change because…what if it isn’t better?

What I have come to learn in my own journey back to my natural self and through my clients throughout the years is that control is a myth. And life is messy. My Mom says all the time, “if it isn’t messy, it isn’t fun.” I’ve learned to love that phrase more and more. I think she was referring to cooking, but I find it works in all areas of life.

What I see over and over again is that when you are really, truly, finally ready to lay the fears that restrain you out in the light of day to get a good look at them, they become so much smaller. Once you can understand them and truly grasp the root of them, you will find they actually illuminate you. The power they once had morphs into a mighty steam engine of motivation to push you forward. Those fears, while still looming at first, will eventually melt away with each step you take forward.

How do they become your greatest strengths? Over time…

  • You begin to practice better boundaries.
  • You begin to be okay saying no when invitations don’t excite you.
  • You react less and respond more.
  • You laugh at the challenge instead of wither from it.
  • You feel more brave and big and capable and less small.
  • You ask for what you need without apology but with respect.
  • You play more with what makes you happiest.
  • Best of all, you prove those fears WRONG.

The best part? You actually give others power to be who they are when you admit that you struggle. You remove the competition of being better, more put together, more in control, smarter, etc, etc, etc…Not only that, you learn a lot about the stories that you tell yourself and the ways you hold yourself back.  Self sabotage at it’s finest. Did I mention that your relationships with the people you love become stronger when you can be honest about your fears? I can’t tell you how many notes I’ve received from you all (thank you!) when I started opening up about my challenges from the past few years. On the other side of it, I actually have more to say and more to teach. And you will, too. But you have to be brave enough to be vulnerable. To look at the fear. To learn who you really are. Naturally.

To Adventures and Surprises!