Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Power of Vulnerability

OK...Im gonna put my serious hat on for a minute here and continue to talk about some real life stuff, not training and food and funny stuff. Yeah, it'll connect to training at some point...
My blog has always been a reflection of me and my life so today I am stepping out of my OWN comfort zone and writing about being Vulnerable, while building on my last post about FEAR

FEAR: to be afraid of (something or someone)

VULNERABLE: open to attack, harm, or damage

2 very powerful words and 2 very powerful emotions. Scary stuff. Who wants to feel afraid and open to attack?? NOT ME. Im pretty sure you don't want to feel this way either...

I have spent a lot of time thinking about these two things the last 5 months and I have been working hard to face certain fears -- trying to find my way to that fragile and scary thing called VULNERABILITY, which is surrounded by thick walls, build out of bricks of FEAR. It can be a very difficult place to access...at least for me. I've been building these walls for a LONG time. Mostly to protect myself, my feelings and my sometimes too sensitive heart. It's easy to keep things under wraps and protected if you don't let anyone TOO FAR in...which in and of itself it SO super confusing to me because there are certain parts of my life where I AM FEARLESS and can allow myself to be as open and vulnerable as you can be. It's a paradox for me...the ying & yang of fearful/fearless Jen. 

It's ALMOST like I wear my heart on my sleeve, open to the world on some things and yet still protected by thick mortar on others. It's a process and it will take time to untangle.

As humans, we just want to be loved. To feel connected to others. 
But do we allow our TRUE, authentic self to thrive? do we create a persona that we feel we need to be to be accepted and loved?

EXCRUCIATING VULNERABILITY: the idea that we have to allow ourselves to be seen. 

But this FEAR and VULNERABILITY comes into play in SO many areas-not just connections with other people. 

This can apply to training and racing too! I see athletes do this ALL THE TIME when it comes to races and training...If you don't truly allow yourself to believe that you can break 2 hours in a half marathon or really qualify for that BQ time, if it doesn't happen, you won't be disappointed...will you? If you don't put ALL of your HEART and SOUL into it, it won't hurt as much if it doesn't happen.

I remember one year training for Quassy and I put ALL OF MY energy and heart into training for this race. I had very specific goals and I knew what I was going to do that day on the course. I had visualized it, my coach and I had it all mapped out. It was gonna be my day out there and I was going to finally PR that course and kick some major hilly ass. 

And it was my most horrible race ever. EVER. The temps all spring had been very cool and it was super hot on race day. My body shut down. And as my body shut down, my mind started to quit. I even considered DNF'ing. One the drive home to Maine, I sat there dejected. Hurt. Crushed. Disappointed. This wasn't the race I trained for...I called Coach and cried with her. I got over it eventually and I still race that course every year.  But what if I left FEAR of that hurt stop me from ever racing again? That would be SILLY. 

Makes sense...right?

It is the WILLINGNESS to do something that has no guarantees. And if you have the willingness and ability to put yourself out there and into a place where you might get hurt, you might "fail" or you might even end up winning big time. 

I am trying to be more and more aware of when I "shut down" and go into protect mode and I am learning that's it's ok to step into that very slippery place where I could fall and get hurt. 

It's very easy to hide behind the "i don't cares" when you really care very much. 
It's safe to say you don't want something when you want it so bad you can taste it, feel it. 

This is such an amazing breakdown of being vulnerable. I watch it all the time. It's a great reminder to me. Take time to watch this and think...

What makes YOU feel vulnerable?