Have you ever seen the movie “What Women Want” starring Helen Hunt and Mel Gibson? There is a moment at the end of the movie (after a rollercoaster-ride romance) where Mel Gibson’s character says that he needs to be rescued, and that he needs Helen Hunt’s character to help him do it.
I felt a sense of uneasiness when I first watched that scene because of the depth of vulnerability that Mel Gibson’s character expresses. Since then, as I’ve grown as a person, a therapist, a couple’s counselor, and a life coach, I’ve come to feel respect and admiration for his vulnerability… and how much strength it takes to go there.
What is vulnerability? Vulnerability means opening yourself up to another person, which means risking being hurt by them. Vulnerability is difficult and often does not come naturally, however it is an essential part of healthy relationships.
Why Being Vulnerable Feels So Hard
I’ve noticed that oftentimes there is a fear of vulnerability within relationships that is coupled with shame. Brené Brown defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging – something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.”Has shame ever kept you from expressing your deeper thoughts and emotions to someone you care about?
Although it is difficult, allowing yourself to push past you shame and open yourself up to another being often results in a more fulfilling relationship.
Three Reasons Why Vulnerability is Essential:
Vulnerability Fosters Connection: We are made for connection with each other. If we weren’t, we would never experience loneliness. Vulnerability allows our relationships to be more fulfilling because it allows for more depth. Even though it feels uncomfortable at first, a relationship that is safe allows room for vulnerability that deepens our connection to each other.
Vulnerability Leads to Opportunity: When we are vulnerable, we get to share our lives with another person as well as give them the opportunity to share their life with us. Vulnerability is risky, however, it is often a risk worth taking as it allows us to experience community with others in a way that goes far beyond the surface level.
Vulnerability Brings Healing: Lastly, vulnerability is often associated with healing. When we are able to let someone else into our dark and hidden places, and have them let us into theirs — and feel loved in spite of our flaws — something wonderful happens. All of a sudden, those dark and hidden places don’t seem so bad, and our shame can be replaced with joy. We are able to experience a sense of freedom and deeper intimacy with someone we care deeply about, all because we took a risk and allowed ourselves to be vulnerable.
I hope these ideas help you cultivate the power of vulnerability into your life, and your relationships.
What do I mean by “blind spots?” I mean the unconscious ways of being, ways of thinking, ways of feeling that you engage in without even being aware that you’re doing it.
Sometimes, if our natural ways of being are healthy and helpful, these are to our benefit. And sometimes, these unconscious beliefs and patterns can be to our detriment.
The good news? With self-awareness and motivation, anything is possible. Once you know what’s really holding you back, then you can change it.
To help you increase your self awareness, I recorded a free mini coaching session for you. I walk you through the “usual suspects” that get in the way for many people, and I’ve created a self discovery quiz for you to find out what your inner obstacles are. Then we’ll talk solutions!
Access this free, online mini coaching session right now to start gaining the insight and self awareness that will help you break your old patterns, get unstuck, and start moving forward again.
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Schedule your free consultation. Meet online or in person.
Does your heart tell you one thing, and your head another?
As a Denver therapist and online life coach, I often sit with people who are stuck in agonizing indecision. Part of them wants to make a change, but another part cautions against it. It could be about a relationship, their career, a move, or another major life event. Sometimes, people can feel a powerful emotional pull towards something that, rationally, seems like a terrible idea. Even more mystifying is when there is an objectively “right” choice that still feels like doom.
So which one should you listen to? It’s so confusing when you’re being pulled in different directions.
Here’s a new idea: Don’t give either too much weight, until you’ve done some work.
The key to making the right decision is self awareness, and understanding your own vulnerabilities. Only then can you recognize when either your head or your heart is pulling you off track.
It’s hard work to recognize and flush out the “cognitive distortions” you might be most vulnerable to, and instead, cultivate values-based clarity. Likewise, it takes effort and intention to learn how to manage your emotions in a healthy way, and mindfully detach from old fears that are no longer necessary.
The good news is that that hard work pays off. When you are confident in your judgment AND in your emotional wisdom, then you can make major life decisions from a place of strength and confidence.
Taking steps towards being your best self doesn’t have to be complicated…
Have you been feeling irritated lately? Stressed out? Maybe a little more overwhelmed, or more anxious than usual? One way to help yourself feel better is so darn simple and accessible you may never even have considered it.
The Quiet Power of Your Mind / Body Connection
Sometimes larger issues really are at the root of our feelings of anxiety or stress. Other times, listening to our bad feelings and then responding to them by making major life changes is absolutely necessary. When either of those situations are the case, it’s important to dive deeper in to our experiences to see if we need to take action to change the way we think, feel, or behave thorough effective therapy or solution focused coaching.
AND it is also true that sometimes the way we feel has little to do with “bigger issues” but is rather a result of our current physiological state. For example, it’s common knowledge that if you drink too much coffee you will experience symptoms of anxiety like muscle tension, jitteriness, and irritability. Or if you are sick or injured, you will experience symptoms similar to those of depression, like exhaustion, wanting to isolate yourself, and feeling unhappy.
There are no “deeper issues” to address in either case: You are simply experiencing a mood state that is linked to what is happening in your body at the moment. When your physical circumstances change, so will your mood.
Did you know that the way you feel emotionally can also be significantly impacted by something as simple as being slightly dehydrated? Yep, being even mildly dehydrated can make you feel stressed out, anxious, overwhelmed and tired even when nothing else is “wrong.”
Dehydration = Feeling Bad Emotionally
The Science Behind Mood & Dehydration
When I first heard about the connection between mood and dehydration I was skeptical. I wade through swamps of psuedo-science nonsense every day in my quest for ideas that will be truly helpful to people, and at first this sounded like more of the same. But when I looked further the research is pretty darn conclusive.
In short? [Tweet “When your body isn’t nourished you won’t feel well emotionally either. “]
Here’s the most surprising part: “Mild dehydration” is defined as being around 1.5% under the normal volume of water in your body– typically the same level of dehydration that starts to trigger sensations of thirst. This is true for people who are both moving around a lot, or sitting still the way that so many of us do throughout our work day. If you’re actually exercising, your water loss could be much more dramatic– marathon runners can loose up to 8% of their water volume during a competition.
It is easy to get dehydrated, and not even realize it. And even the most happy, psychologically healthy person — with no adverse circumstances in their lives — are negatively impacted both mentally and emotionally by JUST the fact of being dehydrated.
Now, no one is saying that drinking more water is going to solve all of your life’s problems. But isn’t it interesting to consider that, especially if you are going through something that is patently stressful or difficult in your life, you are likely to feel worse emotionally, and less able to cope with whatever is going on if you are dehydrated?
When you’re going through something hard it is extremely important to take care of yourself as well as you can. You might not be immediately able to change your circumstances or make major changes within yourself. But you sure can take simple steps towards self care, like drinking more water, to ensure that your foundation is as strong as possible.
One of the fastest, cheapest, and easiest ways to take care of yourself, support your strong foundation, and increase the odds of feeling well is to drink more water. It can help you feel more easy going, in command of your emotions, more patient, and more optimistic than you will if you’re dry.
Here are some tricks to stay hydrated:
1) Use a larger water bottle. In my opinion “8-10 glasses of water” is hard to keep track of. You should be drinking at least the equivalent of a two-liter bottle full of water a day. The easiest way to monitor that is by actually putting your daily water in a two liter bottle, and then committing to drinking the whole thing throughout the day (obviously, pouring it into more manageable vessels along the way if you don’t want to look like the wierdo chugging from the mountain dew two-liter on your daily run).
2) Pay attention to your pee. If you notice that your pee is anything more vivid than a very pale yellow, it means that you are approaching dehydration levels. Get thee to a water fountain, stat! 3) Be prepared to drink much more water than you think you should. The “two liter a day” rule is a minimum. If you’re hot, exercising, sick, stressed, or tired, drink more.
The next time you’re feeling stressed or irritated, drink a few glasses of water and notice how you feel. I hope you share your experiences with me in the comments below!
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Fabulous discussion today about break-ups on HuffPost Live with host Nancy Redd, Growing Self’s Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, Jordan Gray of Jordan Consulting, Hannah Brancher of www.moreloveletters.com and a brave Exaholic in recovery.
Watch now, and get some great advice on what you need to do to let go, heal, and start moving forward again.
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