VULNERABILITY: Exercising Bravery Just to Be You Cultivates Confidence | Lesson 4: from The Unfu*kwithable Life | Amber Hawken | MINDFULNESS COGNITIVE BEHAVIOURAL THERAPY

Vulnerability is where the alchemy of fear begins. To be vulnerable means to surrender into being seen with the collective, perfect imperfections, of what it is to be human. Vulnerability in its literal sense means being exposed to potential harm or pain.

In this case, it is rejection from others that represents the harm or pain. We show courage when we show up as our authentic selves and risk rejection or, more honestly, how we stomach rejection, for it is a very natural and normal part of life. These all require bravery.

From this moment on, know that every rejection you sustain, be it from friends, jobs, partners, or family, is simply life filtering out the bullshit that doesn’t resonate with you. Rejection is like the qualification process in sales. Anyone who has worked in marketing knows that the better qualified the leads are, the more chance of happy customers and sales for the business; rejection = happy you that generates flow in life (business).

Think of it like this; you want quality, not quantity. Rejection only hurts when we hold onto the belief that our worth is based on another’s acceptance. You’re probably figuring out by now how false that belief is. Courage and bravery never feel how they sound, by the way.

We have this warped image of knights in shining armour being courageous. In fact, to be brave is to be without armour, and courageous is what we can use to describe someone who does something that they are terrified to do.

Let me give this context: People often say to me, “You’re so courageous talking on stage. You make it look so easy.” Well, this isn’t courageous of me because speaking on camera or stage isn’t something that scares me. Falling deeply in love with someone or taking a month off work terrifies me so doing those things would be courageous of me. Talking on stage? A piece of cake.

It’s not courageous of me because it’s easy for me. Courage is relative. What seems courageous to one person might be seemingly natural for another. Courage is very much the description that we can use after the fact, after we have faced our greatest fears.

Courage is the illustration of acting when we are shit scared. Like, showing up as ourselves fully, warts and all. Brave is what we must be before; courageous is what we become after. Neither feels like they sound.

Fake it till you make it, then? Nah, just know that when you are peeing your pants, you’re heading in the right direction. An unfuckwithable life is one that often requires spare knickers!

Combine this knowledge with the sense of fearless authenticity, reached through a state of stillness, being totally and utterly present with life and who you are, and you have reached what I consider nirvana. To be connected and aware of your true essence as a soul and accepting of your wholeness as a human is enlightenment.

But why does vulnerability—that acceptance that we are whole—feel so painful? Being vulnerable means admitting that the ego’s sense of self could be questioned, challenged, or weakened. However, the ego is always looking for a way to strengthen its sense of self.

Any challenge to the idea of who you are is a threat. Taking offense or feeling victimised is the ego’s way of protecting itself.

Now, since vulnerability is a complete and utter knowing that we are the yin and the yang, which make up the whole, it is also a state of awareness. Accepting the whole is authenticity.

Surrendering the mind while understanding the wholeness of it at the same time is epic. Here’s why the ego’s incessant self-preservation is a problem. If you can’t move beyond the mind and surrender into vulnerability, you will never truly be able to have healthy relationships, be that a healthy relationship with yourself, another person, or the world around you. Being in a healthy relationship means not needing the relationship to make you happy, whole or full in any way. It doesn’t take a psychologist to tell you that seeking happiness in someone else is going to end badly. You must be connected with yourself first.

Fall head over heels in love with yourself. Being full within yourself means realising that your weaknesses, negatives, and perceived failures are the perfect other half of your wholeness. These negatives compliment your strengths, positives, and successes. Acknowledging this is to be vulnerable.

To be in a healthy relationship, it’s equally important not to be reactive and defensive. If someone says, “You’re selfish,” being vulnerable allows you to observe yourself, check in on whether that’s true or not, change your behaviour accordingly if you were acting selfishly, and get on with things. You can create healthy boundaries this way. “Thanks for letting me know; sorry I was selfish.” That is authentic. How would the fearful ego-driven conversation go instead? Probably something like you throwing a tantrum, blaming something or someone else, and creating an enormous victim fight about it. I can hear it now, can’t you? “How dare you speak to me like that!” You get the idea.

The thing with being vulnerable is you’re essentially emotionally invincible and available at the same time. Here’s an example. If someone were to call you a purple elephant with yellow spots, and you aren’t, you wouldn’t get offended. You would feel nothing because it’s not relevant. There is no need to defend yourself or react. The ego would most likely carry on like an emotional dickhead, triggered by such a blow to its identity. However, a conscious person who’s present and aware can just simply observe the reaction without feeding it.

As humans, we are made up of negative and positives aspects. We have empowered personality traits, and we have disempowered ones.

We have dark emotional patterns, and we have light ones. We fail in life, and we succeed. We experience ups and downs, highs and lows. Vulnerability is seeing that there is always both, but it requires bravery to admit that. Self-love begins with the decision to open up to the fact that, as a human, you will be imperfect in many ways. When you realise that being imperfect is both inevitable and normal, you don’t give a fuck what anyone says!

You can take feedback, process it for any potential growth that it offers, and let everything else go. It no longer will lead you to emotional reactions, no more scrambling into a pit of insecurities cunningly disguised as flashy watches, Netflix, or Ben & Jerry’s. This is the yin and yang of life, the two sides to the whole in this world of form.

It’s important that you’re prepared to become vulnerable first. Before moving on to the other codes, before you can fully digest love and accept yourself unconditionally, lead with your heart, and choose love, you must embrace the unfamiliar world of becoming vulnerable. Are you brave enough to surrender your ego? You are if you choose to be. (See what I did there.)

Without embracing vulnerability, you’ll never be able to fully be authentic, because you will be stuck in your mind, stuck in judgment, stuck in fear of rejection, and stuck with the need for perfection. Your ego fears vulnerability because vulnerability is the realm where conscious awareness never dies and where thought and ego do not exist. Staying in your fear means that you will never truly be satisfied. You’ll never be rich enough, pretty enough, successful enough, or happy enough, but never being truly satisfied means that you will never feel confident within yourself. You will always seek more. You will always feel insecure and unworthy of love. You will always need that external validation. You will always remain addicted to your internal self-assurance via the ego voice that is either building up the self or critiquing it and bringing it down.

On the flip side, vulnerability and realising your wholeness is the real path to unfuckwithable.

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