In recent weeks we have seen several Black public figures die by suicide. In each of these cases I have seen the question asked - what was wrong - because everything seemed right. I am sure that all of us have experienced being on one end of this experience or the other. We have either been the person or known the person who seemed like everything was good, but things, in fact, were not.
As I meet new clients, every time I start a new R.A.W. cohort, as I delve into new spiritual realms and continue on my own personal healing journey, the avoidance of vulnerability is ever present. Over and over again I'm confronted with the ways we feel we are expected to show up and the direct opposition to healing that creates. Over and over again I see the ways that many of us do not trust people to show up for us. Over and over again I see the ways that we do not fully trust ourselves to investigate that gut instinct we have that something is brewing, something is wrong, something needs to change.
When we enter a room, our smiles are expected. When people ask how we are doing, the honest answers that would bare our souls don't really feel welcome. In truth, we even find it challenging to sit with and investigate the areas of our lives that are fragile or even broken. The discomfort is too real, the answers don't come fast enough, we are afraid to investigate because we don't know the "fix." If we dig even deeper, for some of us, the pain feels so vast that the task of unpacking it seems insurmountable.
Vulnerability is the hardest part of the healing journey because it requires us to take off what we spent most of our lives creating and then putting on - our masks.
We've been taught to hide so well from ourselves and to hide any discomfort we feel from others that to admit it, even for a moment, feels foreign and it also feels like defeat. If the goal is to appear well, to seem like you have it all together, to make other people think that things are fine, then vulnerability is the enemy.
However, if the goal is to be well then vulnerability is the first step to finding the key.
Vulnerability is one of the things that IS REQUIRED on this healing journey. Coming into any healing space, sitting before your helper and saying that you are well with a smile when you are hurting doesn't help them help you. Wearing the mask that you've constructed only helps to keep the pain buried. Sure it avoids the hurt and discomfort of acknowledging the pain, but we can't heal what we don't reveal. If we are honest, you are already feeling the pain, you are just choosing ignore it, which is actually what is making it grow.
The first step in any healing journey is admitting to yourself that things are not well. That you are not well. Then doing the work to identify what you need so that you can do something about it and get the help you need is the next step.
If you are feeling lost & need support to unpack complex feelings, please consider contacting any of the below resources. Often they are anonymous, allow you to text, and sometimes it can be easier to begin our transparency and vulnerability under those circumstances as we learn to be okay to opening up to others in or real lives.