Why would you want to be vulnerable? Being susceptible to physical, emotional attack or harm means pain, twisted butterflies in the stomach, and a situation you probably want to avoid at all costs.
Let me let you in on a little secret. I despise any kind of conflict and will go to great lengths to avoid it, even if it means stuffing it down and spewing it out later. Then whatever it is rattling around in my head, I imagine every type of scenario good and bad that that will probably never happen.
And this makes me a joy to be around.
Where did you go, I’m often asked as I blanky stare out into space. You really don’t want to know I think to myself. Then if everyone around me is lucky, my passive-aggressive behavior kicks in as the cherry on top.
Avoiding conflict in the long term doesn’t do me or others any favors.
What Has This Got To Do With Staying Vulnerable?
Recently my therapist suggested when having an ingrained behavior or being a drug addict that it pays to stay vulnerable. But what does that mean? For a drug addict who has kicked the habit, you open up to the fact that all the hard work in getting clean can disappear in a heartbeat when you slip up.
Being acutely aware one slip means going back to square one is staying vulnerable as one way to stay on the path. Does this thought feel good? Probably not but it may help in staying clean. For the ingrained behavior, let’s use my aggressive anger as an example.
Keeping a long story short, over 2 years ago things were not going well for me personally and professionally and my friend committed suicide. I was a ticking time bomb, ready to explode when I lost control and things were not satisfactory. This almost cost me my family and may have permanently damaged my relationship with my oldest son.
Currently, but not always, I’m keeping my anger triggers (thanks to therapy) at bay by trying to stay vulnerable.
Most people have something that sets them right off and I’m no different. Mine in no particular order are
My oldest son’s behavior towards me and his mother. And me wanting to protect her from this.
The need to control the uncontrollable. This ranges from situations, people, and in adamite objects.
Bad drivers 😊
Every time the national news is on.
Recognizing your triggers is one thing but keeping them under control is another, especially when you’re under attack. Now I’m not the first or will I be the last parent to have a problem teenager. The coming of age, hormones, and wanting to get their way leads to clashes with their parents but when you throw in social media, being different, and mental health issues into the mix, it adds fuel to the fire.
Without getting too personal or into too much detail, his aggressive anger has led to problems at school and home. Granted, he hasn’t had the best role model, but it is tough sledding for both me, my wife, and my youngest son. The verbal abuse and threats toward me and his mother are huge triggers for me.
Do I always handle it well? No, but fighting fire with fire doesn’t work when you’re under threat. Because what I do or say isn’t always kosher. But something that helps is staying vulnerable.
When Triggers Are In Full Effect, Being Vulnerable Helps
Losing my cool is the last thing I want because it will be disastrous. When I’m under attack and not trying to react, embracing the emotional pain, the butterflies in the stomach, the stress, and reminding myself what might happen if I lose my shit keeps my aggressive anger in check.
In short, staying vulnerable. And rather than avoiding conflict, I’m trying to embrace this uncomfortable feeling and not let it spill over into something more serious.
But What Does This Mean For You
Let’s bring it back to health and fitness.
You probably all face some kind of physical, mental, or emotional barrier to keeping fit. There are things real or perceived that prevent you from being consistent or starting a new diet or exercise program, at least from my experience. But rather than ignoring these barriers, hoping they will go away and so the situation will be perfect, embrace them.
Know your triggers, recognize your barriers, and open your eyes to what may happen if you don’t do anything. Open yourself to those uncomfortable feelings of staying the same or not improving yourself as a reminder of what the cost is of doing nothing. A missed workout or a diet slip-up is no huge deal but letting it snowball is.
Don’t run away from being vulnerable but embrace it so you can be and do better.
A slight detour from my usual health and fitness musing but I hope I’ve opened you up to be more vulnerable as a way to stay on track. It’s working for me so far and I hope it will work for you.