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The Discomfort Of Vulnerability

Written by: Allison Castle, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Have you ever experienced a time when vulnerability surfaced at an inopportune time?

That is precisely what happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to appear calm, cool, collected, confident, and intelligent in the discussion of a social issue that is very important to me. It was my turn to share the stories of those who were being impacted. I was feeling the vibe, the emotion of the room and I broke down. I sobbed in a room full of people, unable to control my voice and finish what I wanted to share.

In the moment, I apologized, “I’m sorry, I’m emotional.” My embarrassment was apparent. My first thought was: What would these people think of me? I worried that I would be seen as just an “overly-sensitive” woman not to be taken seriously. How could I have let my emotions get the best of me? Would what I had been able to share be dismissed?

Even in business, I have heard the saying: share from your resurrection, not your crucifixion. So, it is ok to share “after the fact” vulnerability as a selling point. There is value in having figured it out! But what about the vulnerability in the now? The vulnerability shared wasn’t planned. The truly spontaneous emotion. Is there value in that?

At the end of the meeting, several people reassured me that it was ok and I should never apologize for showing my emotions, but I still cringed every time I replayed my breakdown in my head. Over the next 24 hours, I felt the discomfort over and over again. A vulnerability hangover, if you will. It wasn’t just a mental or emotional discomfort it was also physical discomfort. Each time it replayed, I unconsciously let out a deep breath and shivered a little like I had a chill, caving in like I was trying to make myself smaller, protecting myself. But something I noticed was that each time it replayed and I let my body react in the way it needed to, I felt a little bit better, a little more comfortable.

It was interesting to notice how I couldn’t just release the discomfort of vulnerability; this perceived judgment from others and, more importantly, the judgment I had for myself with my thoughts or the words of others. So, during this process of releasing, I learned a few things:

  1. I had to allow my body to process the discomfort so I could fully let go of my mental and emotional discomfort.

  2. It is important for me to stay grounded when I am in a space with lots of other people’s energy.

  3. I never need to apologize for being true to myself, my values and my beliefs. Instead, I can offer words of thanks to those bearing witnesses to my truth.

  4. I will always strive to appreciate others’ vulnerability as it is an expression of deep care, love, and compassion.

This experience was one of growth and continued work for me. My hope is that by sharing this "after the fact" vulnerability, you will be able to find some value for your own personal growth if this is your work as well.

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Allison Castle, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Allison Castle is a Mastery Certified Transformational Coach, Meditation Teacher, and Certified Public Accountant. After years of following the "expected path", chasing the traditional standards of success, and coming up short on feeling successful or fulfilled, Allison created her Life Alignment Coaching Program to help women stop waiting until they reach that milestone (number on a scale, job title, income level, etc.) to finally find the feeling of fulfillment and success that they have been working so hard for. Her mission: Don't wait for the destination, Enjoy the Journey!



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