A friend of mine wrote me an email catching up. She asked me how I was doing since my dad passed. When I wrote her back I started to type 'I'm doing okay with my dad..' But then I stopped. I pressed backspace. Something felt off with what I just wrote. Part of my being is committing myself to staying in integrity. That entails being honest with myself. In that moment, those words didn’t entirely feel like they were accurate. I had just cried that morning on the metro. I looked at the email for a few minutes and rewrote the sentence. I typed 'I'm healing from losing my dad..' I felt a sigh of relief. My inner self was happy that I wrote the truth.
When my dad first passed away, I downplayed how heartbroken I was. It was challenging for me express all of the sensitivities involved with grief. Not only was it challenging but I was exhausted from having the same conversation. I felt triggered when others would say 'I can't imagine how that feels' and I felt triggered when my sweet friends didn't say anything. I downplayed how much pain I was actually in. I wanted to be strong and handle it. And I was acknowledged for being “strong.” Something didn't feel right and it was that I wasn't fully being honest when speaking out loud. I was getting clear with what my new normal was, I was letting others meet me halfway, I was open about what I could and couldn't do, I was letting myself cry when I needed to and feel everything. But still something was feeling off.
People would say 'i'm sorry' and I would respond with 'it's okay.' I wasn't fully being vulnerable in these moments. A mentor/friend/coach/teacher/soul sister of mine who has dealt with grief said 'I want you to stop saying I'm sorry. Try saying thanks'. So I started practicing this. The first few times I said it, part of me wanted to follow-up with 'it's okay'. I felt vulnerable AF, it felt raw and it stung. I sat there and asked myself what the hell is wrong with saying I'm healing from X. None of us are perfect. No one constantly has their shit together all of the time. All of us are healing from something. So why are we so afraid to be vulnerable? What would it look like if we lived in a place of truth/honesty AND vulnerability? For one thing- we'd stop putting on a front that everything is okay and be real with our healing.
Part of the reason that I want to be open about my healing is to get real with myself, tell the truth, let others support me, and allow myself the space for vulnerability. All of these things enable me to be a better coach. Being vulnerable actually makes you stronger than acting like you've got it. I'm devoted to healing through vulnerability. I cry a lot. I feel grateful that I have individuals in my life to give me that space, that support my vulnerability and a partner who constantly has his hands at my back.
How do you and your body react to vulnerability? What commitments have you made around this space for yourself?
For me, writing this piece and talking about healing is me committing to my healing. I made a commitment a few months ago to write more, to express myself more and to use my voice. So this is that happening and my wish for you, is that you feel empowered to do the same in whatever capacity that means for you.