Disclaimer: I guess this is technically part of the CREATIVELY INSPIRED SERIES, but I felt the topic was more fitting for my theme of LIMITLESS LOVE. Ugh all the feels, here goes.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”
― C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves

I’m the type of person who can pretty much talk to anyone. I am generally outgoing, chatty and personable. I can be opinionated and very direct. I have no problems digging into other people’s stuff. Listening to their fears, their dreams, their worries, their sadness. I’m empathic (most of the time).

You see the major disconnect is when it comes to talking about myself. That’s when things get dicey.  I’m a master at keeping things at the surface, at deflecting when things get too close and personal.

You want me to talk directly about my deepest, darkest feelings? That’s going to make me squirm.

Fuck with me or break my heart? Good luck, this wall is made of brick.

Sadly, my poker face has a much harder time hiding my emotion than the wall I’ve built does. I wear my emotions on my face, happy or sad. My Mom used to say to me from a very early age that I would get ‘thunderclouds’ on my face when I was upset. I had one of my favourite bosses tell me in a performance review, “Laura, the thing with you is, when you think someone is a fucking idiot, it is written all over your face”. I clearly thanked her and said he was though,right? She didn’t appreciate my humour haha.

I have managed to keep the raw, naked me behind this wall for many years. The things I keep close to my heart, few people know about. I have a big heart, but it’s protected. Vulnerability scares the shit out of me. However, I’m starting to learn, as I venture down this path of self-awareness, that being behind this wall can be a pretty lonely place.

In recent years, my values have shifted away from a life of status and things towards living a conscious and whole-hearted life, but how can I do that if I don’t show up with my whole heart?

Part of the reason I started this blog was to warm up my vulnerability muscles, something I’ve never been good at. To have the courage to show up, as Brené Brown puts it.  Fear can be a funny thing, paralyzing almost. Fear of failing, fear of judgement, fear of disappointment, fear of heartbreak, fear of the unknown. Fear is the foundation of that wall.

In her recent talk with Chase Jarvis, Brown opened with a statement on failing being inevitable. She says: “If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability”.

As I maneuver my way through this world, trying to live my best life, I’m starting to tear down these walls one brick at a time. I am seeing how it changes my interaction with people and the connections that are possible. It might be slow (and painful), it might take a few tries but I’m seeing how great it actually is to let people in. I’m trying to show up and  give my whole heart and true self to each interaction. To truly feel, regardless of outcomes. No on has all the answers, I don’t know why I think I should have them all.

I’ll close this post with the Roosevelt speech that Brown references in most messages she conveys. It is the perfect encapsulation on vulnerability and has helped push through some the bricks that have been rooted in the foundation of my wall for a long time.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

-Theodore Roosevelt

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