Opening up to a deeper vulnerability

Photo by Joe Gardner on Unsplash

I had a moment this week where I felt deep fear.

There was nothing to be scared of externally, and I knew that. But I felt fear all the same.

I am someone who has generally always kept my composure in situations. I rarely lose control. Even in moments of intense emotion, these are often calculated, deliberate actions.

But here I was in a situation where I opened up more deeply than I am used to. I no longer felt in control. It was like standing in a room where the floor suddenly disappeared. I was at a loss on how to manage it all.

It may seem that I am very open with the way that I write and talk about my emotions. Perhaps that is true – I am more open to talking about my feelings than a lot of people. It’s not any sort of deep bravery, but something that is just natural to me.

But I always feel in control of this. I decide what I really want to share, and why. I think the logical part of understanding that sharing emotions usually helps means I learnt that it was an important thing to do.

But the truly scary part for me is letting go of control of how I act and react. When I drop the ability to analyse, I feel truly naked.

I’ve been more socially reclusive recently. This has meant that when I do go out and spend time with people, I have an increased sense of social anxiety. This has made my analytical way of working even more obvious. Even in calm times, I tend to subliminally assess the situation – the mood, response of people, their eye contact. I make a conscious effort to pay deep attention to what they are saying to show that I am present with them.

But with my currently more frazzled mind, these sensitivities have been on overdrive. Small gestures, such as a glance away when speaking (which was most likely nothing) have felt like I have done something wrong. My internal reaction is to hurry up what I’m saying in case I’m boring the other person.

The challenge for me this week has been to get comfortable with however I come across to other people. Letting go of my fears that I might be too boring, obnoxious or intimidating. It’s the only way I can come to a place of calm and comfort mentally.

The process for this is accepting that the fears are valid. People have indeed told me I can be intimidating, and I certainly can sometimes come across as obnoxious. I don’t doubt either that I can be boring when I talk about something that has no interest to the other person either.

What I am increasingly seeing is that these opinions are not necessarily a reflection on me. My quirky behaviours are just that – quirks. Some people will like them, some people will not. And when I come from good intentions, I can absolve myself of the upset and harm I might cause to others in the process of being me.

There are many things we can be scared of in life. But I find that the deepest fear is during introspection.

Being genuinely honest about ourselves is one of the most frightening experiences we can have in our spiritual existence.

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