Posts tagged with ‘vulnerability’

02 feb

Let Go of Worry

MikeRobbinsNewHow often do you catch yourself worrying?

When I was a kid my mom used to say to me, “95% of what you worry about never happens.” I think she recognized that I was the “worrying type” and was trying to help ease my mind. Although this rarely worked, I appreciated her sentiment and know now that she was right.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been prone to worrying. I continue to work on this, let it go, forgive myself for it, and choose different ways of being in the face of my fear. And, I still catch myself worrying more than I’d like – about the future, about my body, about how things will turn out, about what people think about me, about money, about the well-being of my loved ones, about the state of the world, and much more.

However, no matter how much we worry, it never really helps. And, as we look deeper at what worrying actually is – a set-up for failure, a negative attractor, and a denial or avoidance of feeling our true feelings – we see that it can have a damaging impact on our lives, our work, and our relationships. When we worry, we’re simply preparing to be upset or angry – assuming something won’t work out in the future.

Worry not only creates stress, it has an impact (usually negative) on what we create and manifest, and on our experience of life in general. Worry is a superficial emotion. It’s clearly something that many of us are all familiar with, can share with others in a way that will garner sympathy, empathy, or even pity, and is easy for us to go through daily life experiencing. However, underneath our worry are usually deeper emotions like shame, fear, guilt, hurt, or anger; many of which are more difficult for us to feel and express.

If we’re able to tell the truth and face our deeper feelings, we won’t have to waste our time and energy worrying. We can then deal with the root of the issue, not the superficial impact of it (which is what worry usually is).

There’s nothing wrong with feeling scared, angry, hurt, and even “worried,” in and of itself. These emotions, like love, gratitude, excitement, joy, and others are very important to our human experience. Emotions that are felt deeply and expressed appropriately give us power (regardless of what they are). Emotions that are not felt deeply, that are denied or avoided, and are not effectively expressed, can be damaging to us and those around us.

Worry is always a sign that there are some deeper feelings or issues for us to address. It’s often a good reminder for us to get more real, take better care of ourselves, and pay attention.

Below is a list of some things you can do when you get worried. These simple ideas can help you move through your worry in a positive way:

1. When you notice yourself worrying; stop, check in with yourself, and take a few slow deep breaths (all the way down to your belly)

2. Ask yourself, what’s underneath my worry? (i.e. why am I really worried and what am I really feeling?)

3. Face, feel, and express these underlying emotions – get support from others in this process if you need it.

4. Once you have felt and expressed these emotions, choose how you want to feel and what you want to create, instead of playing the role of the victim.

5. Appreciate yourself for the courage it takes to be honest and to deal with the challenging situations or emotions you’re experiencing.

6. Focus on the good stuff in your life (i.e. be grateful for what you have, who you are, and what you’re going through)

7. Be of service to others – generously put your attention on those around you who can benefit from your help. It will be a great gift to them and to you. Service can allow you to shift your attention from your worry to what you have to give, which is a true win-win for everyone involved.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on February 2nd, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , , ,

01 feb

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

MikeRobbinsNewHow do you feel about asking other people for help?

I’ve noticed that many of us, myself included, get a little funny about requesting support. While we’re all different and we each have our own unique perspective, reaction, and process as it relates to reaching out to others, it seems that this can be quite a tricky exercise for most of the people I know and work with.

I have somewhat of a bi-polar relationship to asking for help myself. I can definitely be a “lone ranger” at times and often, especially when I feel stressed or pressured, try to do everything myself – either because I feel insecure about asking for support or because I self righteously think that I’m the only one who can do it the “right” way. On the other hand, I can sometimes be quite pushy, forceful, and presumptuous with my requests (aka demands) of support (or so I’ve been told). Ah, to be human!

However, as I’ve also experienced personally and seen in others many times throughout my life and in my work, there is a beautiful place of balance between going it all alone and demanding help from others in an obnoxious way. This all stems from our ability to genuinely ask for and graciously receive the support of other people. The irony of this whole phenomenon is that most of us love to help others, while many of us have a hard time asking others for help ourselves.

Requesting support can often make us feel vulnerable. We usually think (somewhat erroneously) that we should be able to do everything ourselves or that by admitting we need help, we are somehow being weak. In addition, many of us are sensitive about being told “no” and by asking others to help us we put ourselves out there and risk being rejected.

What if we had more freedom to ask for what we wanted and for specific support from other people? What if we could make requests in a confident, humble, and empowering way? What if we remembered that we are worthy of other people’s help and that our ability to both ask for and receive it not only supports us, but also gives them an opportunity to contribute (which most people really want to do).

It still might be a little scary, we may get our feelings hurt from time to time, and on occasion people may have some opinions or reactions to what we ask for or how we do so. But, when we give ourselves permission and remind ourselves that it’s not only okay, but essential for us to ask for help – we can create a true sense of support and empowerment in our lives and in our relationships!

Here are a few things we can do to have more freedom and confidence when asking for help.

1) Make Genuine Requests, without Attachment. A “genuine” request can be accepted or declined, without any consequence. In other words, if we get really upset when someone says “no” to us, not only were we attached to the outcome, it probably wasn’t a real request to begin with (it was a demand). When we ask for what we want, without being attached to the response, we have more freedom to ask and ultimately our chances of getting what we want are greatly increased.

2) Be Easy To Support. There are some specific things we can do to make it easier to support us. Such as:

- Be open to the coaching and feedback of others
- Thank people for their support
- Let people do things to support us in their own unique way instead of micro-managing them (this one is often tough for me)
- Allow people’s support when it is offered

3) Give Your Support to Others Generously. When we put our attention on supporting other people, the universe has a way of returning the favor. It may or may not always come back to us from the people we help specifically, and that’s okay. We want to do our best not to “keep score,” as many of us often do, but instead to look for opportunities to genuinely help those around us. When we do this, we remind ourselves of the power of support and we experience it as the true “win-win” it is.

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on February 1st, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , , , ,

30 jul

The Power of Getting Real

MikeRobbins96A few weeks ago my wife Michelle and I found out, surprisingly, that we were expecting our third child. Since this wasn’t something we’d planned, we were shocked, excited and a bit freaked out, all at the same time. We began telling lots of people about this big news and starting to imagine our life with another baby – which was both thrilling and overwhelming for us to contemplate.

Within just a few days of learning about the pregnancy, however, we had a miscarriage – something we’d never been through and weren’t quite prepared for. The range of emotions we experienced during that week, and in the weeks that followed, has been quite intense.

As jarring, painful, and somewhat surreal as it has been, Michelle and I both feel a deep sense of peace and gratitude – choosing to believe that this happened for a reason and doing our best to use this experience to deepen our own awareness and healing in life. While it has been difficult, it has also been a very rich time of growth and connection for us on many levels.

One of the most complicated aspects of this experience has been sharing it with others – which we have been somewhat forced to do given that we told a lot of people about the pregnancy. Many people don’t talk about their pregnancies until the second trimester, since the majority of miscarriages take place in those first three months. I understand, even more so now, why people keep this private – as talking about a miscarriage can be quite emotional and uncomfortable for everyone involved.

However, even though this has been an intense process for us and many of the people we’ve talked to about it (especially those who have gone through this personally), Michelle and I have been so grateful for the amazing love and support we’ve received. We’ve also been blown away by how many other people have experienced a miscarriage – some we knew about, but many we didn’t.

Even in the midst of this personal and emotional experience, I’ve also been fascinated by human phenomenon of authenticity at play. There is such power, freedom, and liberation available for us when we get real. And while I do believe that it’s important for each of us to make conscious choices about what we share and with whom, far too often I think we choose not to share certain thoughts, feelings, or experiences because we deem them to be “inappropriate” or “too much” for people to handle.

Sadly, in this process of withholding our true experiences and feelings, we miss out on opportunities to connect with people in an authentic way, get support, share love, wisdom, and empathy, and connect in a real way with everyone around us.

Carl Jung said, “We’re only as sick as our secrets.” And, Mother Teresa said, “Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable.” Then she said, “Be honest and transparent anyway.”

How We Can Get Real in a Vulnerable Way

One of the best ways to access a deeper sense of authenticity, vulnerability, and transparency is through a powerful exercise called “If you really knew me.” This exercise, which has had a profound impact on my own life and is something I’ve facilitated in various forms with many of the groups and individuals I’ve spoken to or coached over the years, gives people an opportunity to get real and vulnerable.

The exercise was taught to me by my friends and mentors, Rich and Yvonne Dutra-St. John, founders of an incredible organization called Challenge Day, which delivers life-altering, experiential, personal development workshops for teens, schools, and people of all ages. Challenge Day’s high school program is featured in the new MTV reality series which is actually called If You Really Knew Me.

How the exercise works is that each person in the group – usually a smallish group of anywhere from four to eight people (although it can be done one on one or with a larger group) – gets a minute or two of undivided attention from everyone else in the group and repeats this sentence, “If you really knew me, you’d know…” and then completes the sentence by sharing things that are real, vulnerable, and below the surface about themselves (thoughts, feelings, dreams, insecurities, opinions, experiences, passions, challenges, etc.).

There’s no pressure or expectation on each person to share anything they don’t want to share – just a challenge to step outside of their comfort zone, choose to trust the people in the group, and be more open, real, and vulnerable than they may normally be with others.

Whenever I either participate in or facilitate this exercise (as I just did earlier this week during a program I delivered), I’m always amazed by its power. People laugh, cry, get real, let go of things they’ve been holding onto, and truly connect with each other – heart to heart and in an authentic way.

What I always get from this exercise myself and hear people say in different ways is that even though we’re all unique, we’re way more alike than we are different. When we have the courage to get real with each other and speak our truth, it’s one of the most meaningful, rewarding, and connecting experiences we can have with other human beings.

Michelle and I have experienced the power and importance of getting real in these past few weeks. Even though we weren’t prepared for this, didn’t see it coming, and weren’t planning to share it with lots of people – it has been life-altering in so many ways and has taken a difficult, painful, and somewhat unexplainable situation, and turned it into something that is allowing us to grow, deepen, and experience more joy and gratitude in our lives.

When we get real (first with ourselves and then with others), even if it’s scary, uncomfortable, awkward, or intense, it has the potential to liberate us, impact those around us, and bring us all together in a beautiful and genuine way. We don’t have to go through whatever we’re going through in life alone – there is more love, support, and care around each of us than we usually realize and when we’re willing to be real about our experience, let people know what’s truly going on for us, and ask for help when we need it – it’s remarkable what happens!

Mike Robbins is a sought-after motivational keynote speaker, coach, and the bestselling author of Focus on the Good Stuff (Wiley) and Be Yourself, Everyone Else is Already Taken (Wiley). More info – www.Mike-Robbins.com

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

Posted by Mike Robbins on July 30th, 2010 in Global/Social Change, New Directions, Personal Stories, Relationships, Uncategorized | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , , , , , , , ,

29 jan

On the Edge of Wholeness

Lately, my posts have been flowing one from another, as if writing one allows an insight to surface and wash over me. It feels sort of like a scavenger hunt, where one clue leads to the next, and that one to the next. Maybe that’s not the best analogy, but close enough…

After writing my last post, The You That Takes Your Breath Away, I remembered something I wrote a few years back. It was never shared here on my blog. In fact, I don’t think I shared it with anyone. At the time, what I was writing felt too close to my heart to make known to others. Sometimes, this is exactly what needs to happen; we need to not speak those moments of insight so that they continue to work their way through us.

What I wrote to myself was sparked by this passage from , “Shadow Dance” by David Richo:

“We can even declare that we are what Byron saw: ‘a rose with all its sweetest leaves yet folded.” Eventually we realize that whatever in us has remained folded up is really that about us that was never loved. This is the sadness in the folded rose of ourselves. What was not confirmed and loved by others, especially our parents, did not have full permission to emerge. It is up to us to find this confirmation now from within ourselves, our relationships, and our spirituality. Joy results from permission to unfold.” (pg 110-111).

“Joy results from permission to unfold.” Wow. How powerful this statement is.

We are the only ones that can give ourselves permission to do this – to unfold those oh so sweet leaves of our being, those that hid away because, for whatever reason, it didn’t feel safe.

Now, we are adults. Now, we can hold these sweet and tender places within our own heart, hear what they have to say and give them permission to unfold, permission to be seen. Perhaps, being seen first by ourselves is the greatest gift we can give to them.

With this permission comes joy. And peace. And, as these parts come back into the light, wholeness naturally occurs.

The other piece is about the exquisiteness of vulnerability. Complete unfolding brings no more separation. When we open to the fullest extent possible, nothing hidden, petals outstretched, there is no longer anything that knows separation, and this can be frightening as hell.

But, our lives are really about the flower unfolding. We yearn to unfold, to blossom into complete nakedness, raw vulnerability that allows one to be seen and known.

This ripe blossoming is also the very last step before the petals fall and the blossom dies. This is our return to the whole, the moment of wholeness that is simply a breath away from death, where death ends our separation from the whole.

At the singular moment when we unfold every ounce of our being and exist at the height of vulnerability, that of out-stretched petals, we know our sense of separate self will fall away. When nothing is hidden, we can no longer be separate. In our complete vulnerability, we open to all and to everything.

There is a peak of each blossom, when it is poised at its pinnacle of beauty. This is our moment of realization of all that we really are. In this moment, our sense and identity as a separate flower falls away and we let go into our true identity as all that is.

When our petals fall and decay, we can grow into the fullness of a human being, wise and unconditionally loving, for who we now know ourselves to be is the life force that compelled the flower to emerge, bud and blossom, the instinctive drive to open fully to the light, the air, the wind, and all of the world around us.

The edge of wholeness, this edge of ripe beauty, happens many, many times, over and over, until we know ourselves to be the beauty itself. Nothing lasts forever. And, it’s in this knowing of our ephemeral nature, that we know what it is to be fully alive.

So, here is what I wrote, back a few years ago:

On The Edge Of Wholeness

Standing on the threshold of the one true moment of existence
I know myself as both blossom and the urge to bloom.
Every ounce of my journey has been to unfold
To follow the blueprint of this flower
From young rosy bud to powerfully stretched petals
From nubile possibility to the height of complete engagement.

As my petals open to the arc of full bloom
my arms stretch open wide and vulnerable
my chest aches with joy and
I am completely available to Life.

It is in this moment of complete openness
I know that I have loved to wholeness
Every ounce of who I am
Even those parts that once felt impossible to love.

Somewhere deep in the recesses of Being
I realize the natural path of this process and
begin to feel the life force that has propelled
my unfolding welcoming me home.

I know there is this one moment
When my petals are at the height of ripeness
The height of the arc of fullness
just before I turn to the face of release
This moment happens many, many times
And at the same time is a singular moment in my life

I can now see that petals falling is also an act of grace
For as I stand on this threshold of change
I realize it is only by being courageous enough to open
That I have come to know what I truly am

The sunlight and soil of grace have held my becoming all along
my urge to bloom was always at the heart of who and what I am
This urge to blossom is also my urge to return
To the one constant in all of Life, the very nature of all that is.

~ Julie Daley

Just look at the beauty of this inside of this flower. We would never see it if it remained closed.

If you felt moved, inspired, touched, helped, annoyed, or anything after reading this, please let us know. Our wonderful bloggers really do appreciate your comments and feedback. It’s super easy and takes a minute. Click on comments below.

(Image permission granted by Connor365 under CC 2.0.)

Posted by Julie Daley on January 29th, 2010 in Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,