The other side of vulnerability

vulnerability (1)

It would seem that my previous Blog post struck a few chords with a lot of you. I received several emails and dm’s with your own definition of what vulnerability means to you and how it affects your lives. I think the one thing that we should all be proud of is that it seems many of us have recognised what triggers these feelings and that is such a good place to start from, to either learn to cope or develop strategies to survive.

My strategies? Well I got one yesterday …

I was down at the Western Health and Racquets Club Gym for a PT session with GymGuyMark. It was a long overdue tough one and after I really pushed myself for 30 minutes on the treadmill after which we did quite a tough weights session. On one of the machines, I had to stand facing away from it, hold onto the handle, pull over my right shoulder and try to straighten my arm. I managed about 7 pulls then my arm and shoulder crumbled. I felt so weak and shaky down my right side, yet at the same time I was angry at myself for not being able to complete the reps. The same thing happened again when GGM lowered the weights, my arms and shoulders just would not play ball, Then when we moved onto one of my favourite kettlebell exercises, I folded half way through that to, the breathing went, my heart started pounding and my head spun. If I am honest for the first time in the Gym I thought I was going to faint and that brought on a feeling of vulnerability. Luckily, in GGM, I have a great PT who keeps me going and I managed to complete the rest of the session but that vulnerable feeling was making me angry. Angry at how pathetic I was perceiving myself to be and furious that I could not complete exercises I should be able to do in my sleep.  But perhaps more than anything  I was so annoyed that I was making myself vulnerable to disappointment and that in turn was defeating the whole object of being at the Gym because I was focussing more on that than lifting the weights etc.

So how do I remove that vulnerability or do I? My friend Claire sent me the link to Brene Brown’s TEDtalk on the power of vulnerability (link at the bottom of the blog), I hadn’t listened to this for a while and after the second listen things started to make sense. The idea that I was ashamed of myself at not being able to complete exercises had brought on that sense of vulnerability and shame so in turn totally disconnected my brain from my goal. Why was I ashamed and angry at myself? Due to circumstances out with my control I have not been able to do a proper weights session for a while so why beat myself up so much when I have a genuine excuse? Answer, I need to get used to this feeling of vulnerability, I need to stop struggling and as Brene Brown said think of “vulnerability as our most accurate measurement of courage”. Opening yourself up to this is very scary but, for example, the fact that when GGM said “are you up for a proper session?” and I said yes even after killing myself for thirty minutes on a treadmill, actually makes me realise it was in a tiny way quite “brave”. Okay so I couldn’t swing that kettlebell for as many reps as I should have but I kept trying, I couldn’t pull that weight up as much as I should have but I kept trying, I know what I can do physically and now what I need to aim to do emotionally . The thought has gone from anger to “right what do I need to do to move on from here!”

The fact is that, in my opinion we often lie to ourselves about how vulnerable we feel, we hide it behind other emotions, in this case anger, so that the outside world cannot see it. But if you actually think of an example like I have above, write it down and read it out you will find that your “vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”(Brene Brown)

So my friends here is to showing that side of us that we don’t normally do, time to connect with that feeling, learn from it and lift that bloody heavy weight!


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