The “Floodlights” of Vulnerability
Since becoming single in December 2017, I have been on an accelerated journey of personal development. As I mentioned in a recent podcast taping with Lisa Foster, I am known as The Challenger because of my intense personality type!
What I have come to realize over this journey of self discovery that has lasted over two years, is that I can come on pretty strong and over the top when I am passionate about something! I have worked through two break ups during that journey and I attribute coming out the other side to the intention I placed on continuing to learn and grow for myself.
As The Challenger, I tend to go “all-in” and I become a raving fan of something new very quickly, such as Jiu-Jitsu-Jitsu, a new relationship, or weightlifting. That’s where I’ve landed today, a pinnacle moment in my transformation and journey of personal growth.
What happened after my most recent break up was startling and unnerving to me, feelings of extreme anxiety for the first time in my life affected sleep patterns, work life, and exercise routines. Therefore, I went into a fierce tail spin! Anxiety kept me up nights and woke me up early which only compounded the challenge of getting out of the downward spiral and return to greatness.
I found vulnerability at this time was my greatest ally. I began to open up to loved ones plus a counselor at rm3c.com for the first time in twenty years and found great progress by tearing down the walls of a stoic mask I had formed. However, I ended up alone in then end because of one grave mistake.
I overshared with friends, my community, and even on some dates(yikes, I know). I ended up not really realizing why I wasn’t finding the authenticity I was seeking. It was because I had the approach all wrong about what being vulnerable was capable of doing for me. I was new to the process and couldn’t understand why people were shying away from me instead of coming in closer.
I got into the positive habit of being vulnerable with my counselor and by writing my memoire, Aspire Higher, in early 2018. I gained positive feedback from those that read the first draft of the book because they had known me for years and our foundation of trust was formed long ago. However, when I opened up to new connections in my community, I had a tendency to come off as overly intense.
So I wrestled with the question of “why am I still alone” for a few months, all the while continuing to date in Denver.
“Why aren’t those that I am vulnerable with coming in closer when I need them most?”
I finally found the answer I was looking for in Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly. It was a slap in the face and reality check for me after oversharing for a few months. Why did it feel that people were “deer in the headlights” when I spoke of the Enneagram, personal growth, and vulnerability?
It’s because of the “Floodlights” I was giving off to others in my life. Powerful first impressions of my vulnerability can “shock” others when presented to soon. Whether they had known me for one month or six, I need to be conscious of where others are at on their journey and hold grace for them that they may not know the context of my journey.
As Brown said, “We can purge our vulnerability or shame stories out of total desperation to be heard. We blurt out something that is causing us immense pain because we can’t bear the thought of holding it in for one more second. Our intentions may not be purging or blurting to armor ourselves or push others away, but that is the exact outcome of our behaviors. Whether we are on the purging end or the receiving end of this experience, self-compassion is critical. We have to give ourselves a break when we share too much too soon and we have to practice self-kindness when we were capable of holding space for someone that just hit us with the floodlight.”
I owe myself some grace for continuing on this journey and understanding that this was a small set back in building the quality authentic relationships I seek. It’s reassuring that others have felt this way and that I am not alone. The answer to finding an authentic community of daters will come over time, but I believe that this was a key piece to learn at this time so that I can show up more authentically!
I was reminded that the answer to the question I asked myself repeatedly for months… I needed to look within myself and determine what piece of me was showing up unauthentically so that I could address it and move forward!
Your facilitator and host Dave Glaser, owner of www.fitlifechampions.com, specializes in online personal training for busy adults that want to improve mental health, decrease stress, boost energy and want to become stronger physically, mentally, and emotionally. Click the link above to grab a free week of online personal training! Please subscribe on iTunes or Spotify and if this message resonates with you, please share this podcast with your friends and family!