Have you ever had those moments where you stop yourself from doing something you secretly wanted to do because you were afraid of putting yourself out there? The thought of doing that one thing made you extremely happy, but the possible reaction from other people stopped you in your tracks and made you second-guess yourself. It’s never easy to put yourself out there. Heck — if it was, we would do it all the time. However, most of the time, we stop ourselves from allowing these feelings and thoughts we feel to be exposed because they make us vulnerable and accessible to hurt.
While it would be safer to live within our mind and only expose our truest selves to people we trust, we’re losing out on so many beautiful opportunities to experience new things, to connect deeply with others, and to have the courage to put ourselves out there. So if you’re thinking of breaking down that invisible wall and being more vulnerable, here are five ways you can do just that so you can begin to live the life you always knew you were meant to have.
1. Take baby steps
If you want to be more vulnerable, you don’t need to throw everything you feel and want out into the world all at once; you can take baby steps until you feel 100 percent comfortable with putting yourself out there.
For some, it’s easier for them to share what they’re thinking and feeling, while for others, it might take them a little more time to open up — and that’s completely okay. To begin, post more vulnerable pictures and stories on Instagram, tell your significant other your deepest fears, write a letter to yourself of ways you wish to be more open, and take the necessary steps to get there. Whatever you decide to do, trust the process and don’t beat yourself up if you’re taking longer to open up.
2. Believe that you are worthy to share your story
There’s something really gratifying about relating to someone else. We’re constantly in search of stories that allow us to feel heard and connected. They’re there to provide comfort and expose areas that may have never been brought to light before. But if you don’t believe that your stories, dreams, and passions are worthy to be put out into the world, then you’re preventing yourself the opportunities to connect with others and provide comfort to someone who may need to hear your thoughts, failures, and aspirations.
When you believe that you’re worthy of being vulnerable, you’re giving yourself the permission to step outside of your comfort zone and to love yourself even when you don’t feel in control — because, sometimes, those fragile moments are what make us grow, and that’s how we learn to adapt to even the most unsettling moments in our lives.
3. Know your triggers
When you’re about to try something outside of your comfort zone, you may experience a quick moment of relapse and second-guess the action you’re about to take. You may get inside your head, tell yourself a story that you and only you would believe, and may even feel sorry for yourself because you couldn’t muster up to do the thing you wanted to do. Honestly, going through this emotion happens to the best of us — I’m sure even Oprah has had a few moments of doubt before she opened up to the world. However, to overcome these snippets of doubt, you should try to be mindful of the triggers that help create those moments.
The next time you’re given the opportunity to be vulnerable and you begin to feel the resistance, ask yourself why is this happening now, what is triggering this moment. Are you stopping yourself because you’re afraid of what the other person is going to think? Are you afraid to fail? Whatever the reason, figure out what it is so you can begin that internal dialogue and begin the process of feeling comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
4. Surround yourself with a community that will support you
When you’re in the beginning stages of becoming more vulnerable, you might be afraid to connect or share your perspective with people who you don’t consider part of your close circle. To test the waters, begin by opening up with people who you know will support you. Tell them something that you’ve been afraid to express, a dream you’re afraid to go after, or a thought you just can’t shake. They’ll give you that unconditional love you seek, which could give you that confidence boost you’ll need to express yourself to others who may not know you as well.
5. Allow yourself the room to feel uncomfortable with poor outcomes
When you do build up the courage to be more vulnerable, there may be times where whatever you say or do may not be well-received by others. As much as you’d want to hide and run away, this is the time to give yourself permission to learn how to be uncomfortable with these situations.
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be as accepting as you’d hope, but when you allow yourself to sit in these moments and embrace them for what they are, you’re giving yourself the control to confront your emotions and anxieties head-on.