You've been hurt, unlucky in love, and it really really sucked. I know because I'm right there with you- been there, done that, don't want to go there again.
Or perhaps it wasn't a relationship that hurt you but something else- rejection, maybe? Or someone you loved left this world a little too early or before you got to say goodbye. Whatever the cause, the resulting mood usually swings violently from anger to low mood, and everything in between.
When we finally let the dust settle, we vow to ourselves- never again. Never again will we allow ourselves to feel that insurmountable pain. We put our guards up, our fierce faces on, and swallow back any tears that try to push their way into fruition. Eventually, we become so used to our calcified hearts that we start to believe that that is simply the way things are supposed to be.
I would consider myself a pretty open person. I am starting to become more comfortable in disclosing the more intimate, less "pretty" versions of my story; however I will be the first to say i was not always that way. Even today, I have to remind myself to continue to choose the path of vulnerability not because it is easy (it isn't), but because it is the path of what is true.
It is a shedding of the "looking good" and a thread in the web that connects all people.
If this all sounds a bit "out there" for you, then consider this:
Why are paparazzi photos a thing? We can look up the most beautiful photos of celebrities yet there are magazines that exist solely to provide snapshots of their intimate/ private lives.
It's because we want to see the thread of connection. Deep down, we know they're just like us. A couple million dollars wealthier, yes, but at the core of it all- they feel joy, anger, and they are hurt by others, just like us. Wipe off the Grammy makeup and you get truth.
"In our hearts, we want others to take their shoes off and show us their souls. But we keep on thinking that what we need to do – if we want to be liked and make friends – is get smartened up and do our own version of the grand entrance."
-The School of Life
In yoga, we do backbends to crack our hearts open. I often have students stand in mountain pose for a few breaths, heart lifted, and firm in their stance. It's just as good for posture as it is for building a sense of self awareness and self confidence. It's like a silent "HELLOOOO WORLD!, HERE I AM!" When we start to become comfortable and confident with who we are, where we stand, the space that we occupy both in the room and in our lives, we can start to get out of our own heads and into what's real and what's true.
In every day life, we can continue the practice by choosing to be raw and real in our portrayal of ourselves, in the telling of our own stories, as well as in the conversations we have with others. Instead of worrying about what others may think, know this: by being vulnerable, you are making space for the other person to step in and do the same. And then you'll step in and make some more space. And so on, and so forth.
It's a dance and we let vulnerability lead.
To end, I'll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite yoga teachers:
“Tell the truth about feelings and experiences – the good and the difficult –
and see the golden road appear that immediately connects you to others.
It’s my favorite alchemy:
this turning the garbage of shame and pain
into the gold of understanding and friendship.”