Vulnerability musings

The other day my Calm meditation focused on the concept of vulnerability and relationships. It suggested we consider being more honest and authentic with our relationships.

I personally find this a terrifying idea. As an empath, I already feel entirely vulnerable as it is. There are some people you just cannot show vulnerability to because they will use it for their own manipulative purposes down the road. At least with me, this has happened and I lived wishing I had never revealed anything. That or they try to tell you how to “fix” the “problem.” To me, there are very few people I can be vulnerable with. Even after opening up with one of these few, I am still fearful that they will eventually use it against me, tell me what to do, or secretly judge me.

The Calm advice was that when someone asks how you are, you answer honestly instead of giving the usual polite answer of, “Fine” or, “Okay.” Again this depends on several things even with a trusted person. Are they in a hurry? Are they in a good state of mind and open to hearing your troubles? Or do you even know how you are? Often I just feel bad for no obvious reason.

Vulnerability is supposed to make your life better. I see how this could be if you have a lot of trusted people in your life. People who would honor and validate your feelings. People who would listen and ask before offering their thoughts. However, in my experience, I have often been cut off and told (with good intention), “Oh my goodness don’t feel that way!” Or, “You know what you need to do?!” In both instances, good intentions were meant. However, growing up with these things being said to you every time you wanted to be heard makes you eventually decide your feelings are best kept to yourself. We need to be vulnerable with other authentic people especially when we are first emerging into vulnerability.

All you need is one person, to begin with. When they ask you how you are doing, and you can tell they really want to know, answer truthfully. You might be feeling a little tired. You might be feeling lonely that day. Perhaps things are really great and you share why. Or maybe you have a problem that you can’t solve. Often these authentic answers will lead to better connections and conversations.

During this pandemic, people have found they need more in terms of emotional support. I know I have. I have sought out a lot of help from therapists and they have helped. However, my family knows nothing about these struggles; my friends know nothing. I am currently contemplating on why. Why am I keeping this to myself? Mostly I know the way certain family members will respond and I don’t want to hear it right now. And my friends, well they are all rather far away from me at the moment. I know maybe a couple of people in my area. Truthfully, I feel completely disconnected from everyone. Also, mostly I am fearful of judgment. I often wonder even when people seem to be patient and kind and understanding if really they are thinking to themselves, “Boy what a loser; always complaining!” I think that is my real fear–are they really being honest in return? I don’t know why I think this way.

Relationships have always been difficult for me. However, I would like to perhaps try and open up more about what’s going on with me these days. Currently, I am trying to decide who that person will be and when the right time might be. Being heard and having your feelings validated is often just what you need to lighten your burdens. Maybe after all the worries and feelings are released I will have more space for the joy and creativity that Brene Brown talks about.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Grounding through meditation: 2 easy techniques.

Places of work can be especially toxic environments for empaths.  Job sites are often fast-paced, noisy places.  Add to it one or two energy vampires and the empath is overloaded often before they even realize it.  Even to those who do not particularly identify as empaths,  job environments can still be stressful and anxiety-provoking.  Many of us are in a less than desirable job when all aspects are considered.  Hopefully, most aspects of our jobs remain satisfying to some degree but some days are harder than others.  These are the days where a little extra help in the self-care department is necessary.

When we become anxious, our thoughts often spiral into a blur of worry.  Under some circumstances, leaving the room and going for a walk may not be appropriate.  If possible though, try to get outside and take a short walk at some point during the day.  If it is not immediately possible what can you do in the meantime?  Try a short grounding meditation.

Here are 2 quick easy-to-remember meditation techniques that you can try separately or even combined together.

1. Deep breathing 

Take a moment or two and pause to just breathe deeply.  When we are under stress our breathing gets a little shallow.  Just stopping and noticing this stops the swirling thoughts a little.  First focus on your normal inhales and exhales.  Once you have observed your breath for a few moments, practice a few rounds of the following breathing pattern:

Inhale for a count of 4

Hold your breath for a count of 4

Exhale for a count of 8

Do this for about 3 to 5 rounds and then return to your usual breathing.  Maybe you will decide to continue on for another few rounds of the breathing pattern with rests of normal breathing in between.

2. Imagine you have roots anchoring yourself to the ground. 

Maybe the roots extend out from the soles of your feet into the floor.  Or maybe they extend from the bottom of your spine through your chair and into the ground or both. The mental image of rooting yourself to the earth can be both calming and empowering.  You can even imagine returning the negative energy to the ground.

Often when we feel anxiety it is because we have become ungrounded and get lost in the stress of the moment.  Simple, short meditations can be a simple and effective tool for re-grounding yourself.  Try practicing these techniques when and while you are calm.  When you need to use them during a stressful time, you will be more prepared.

Photo by Daniel Watson from Pexels

Disclaimer: All articles written on microyogi are opinions and not meant to serve as any kind of instruction for how to move your body. I am merely writing as a means of trying to find my own answers. I am not a medical expert.