“…and that visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our own strength.” ~ Audre Lorde
We are often told to be the source of our own fulfillment, to find our happiness within and to face life with zero expectations from others. And to some extent these statements are amazing pieces of advice that we should all follow.
To be able to face life completely independently, not having to rely on anyone for anything and never having to look to someone else to lend us a helping hand, may sound like the recipe for a stress-free life.
But to expect that one could go an entire lifetime without needing anyone for anything would be the same as expecting ourselves to suddenly be able to start flying. Life is about connections and relationships, we cannot escape from the fact that we will eventually require help from another.
There is always going to be a point where we can’t do it all by ourselves, where we need assistance, where we will have to let our armor down and accept that we are not superwoman or superman. In essence it all sounds very simple, just ask someone for help if you need it, right? So why is it that so many people have such a hard time asking for help? Why does the thought of having to depend on someone else for something make some people feel completely debilitated by fear?
Let your shield down
“The problem with constantly having your guard up is that you instinctively fight life thinking it’s about to attack you when in actuality it is only reaching out to embrace you.” ~ Sheel Bhuta
When a person has had to experience constant feelings of frustration and hurt because of another person’s actions it is only natural that they would want to protect themselves. Unfortunately, in their effort to keep everyone else out so that they never have to feel any sort of emotional pain again, they also inhibit the most important thing we can give or receive from another human being from coming or going…love.
At this point of realization, a guarded heart must ask themselves probably the most important question that it will ever consider, “Is the guard around my heart that protects me from being hurt worth not being able to let love in?” If we ask ourselves this question and allow our highest wisdom to answer, we will always find that the answer to this question is unequivocally, “no.”
The sole reason we are here is to give love, receive love, and to be love, meaning there are going to be times when we are the giver and times when we are the receiver but a guarded heart cannot receive help and love simultaneously and keep it’s guard in tact. In order for help to come in, the guard must be dropped.
Let go of fear and be vulnerable
“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” ~ Brené Brown
Whenever we have found ourselves in the position where it is hard for us to ask others for help or it is scary for us to have to rely on another for something, this is the red flag that we are operating from some sort of fear. This would be the time to go inward and to ask ourselves what are we so afraid of.
By delving into our innermost thoughts and fears we will cultivate an honest relationship with ourselves that will ultimately unravel the limited belief system that is holding the fear in tact. As fears are confronted and honesty is cultivated we come into alignment with perhaps the most courageous trait a human being can possess.. vulnerability.
Putting ourselves out there involves a risk of getting criticized, misunderstood, labeled or fear of rejection and failing. But if we step back and observe our own life, we will realise that nothing is more disheartening than not having the courage to show up and let our authentic self be seen.
Strength is often misunderstood as fierce independence or even seen as one who isolates from the crowd. However when our “strength” is so fierce that we are not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable, this is where we cross the line between being the source of our own fulfillment and keeping love out.
A vulnerable person knows when they need help from another and they are not afraid to say it. They also know when not to rely so strongly on someone else that they give away their own power and travel into victim mentality.
An honest and balanced understanding of ourselves and deep questioning of why we do the things we do, will reveal to us which side of the line we fall. Some questions you may ask yourself if you fear that you may be so guarded that you are keeping help out of your life are:
Is it scary for me to have to depend on others? Is it hard for me to ask someone else for help with something? Am I afraid to not be in control of every situation? Or, do I withdraw or isolate myself so I do not have to face the fear of rejection, abandonment or disappointment?
By asking ourselves these questions we will be able to discern whether we are operating from a fear based belief system or if relying on our own self is something that is working for us. Authentic and sincere connections and friendships are formed by people who can give and take from one another. If we had a friend who always gives, but never takes, it would begin to make us feel uncomfortable just as much as having someone in our life that constantly takes, yet never gives.
By allowing ourselves to receive help by being open and vulnerable with those closest to us we will form strong bonds with people who are there for us in tough times just as much as we are there for them.