This post is for those of us that have a tendency to retreat from the world when life gets a bit tough. We like to handle our challenges inwardly and on our own. We find it hard to ask for help. We tend to hide our vulnerabilities and would rather wait until we are ready to show a brave face to the world. We withdraw and at times shut down when we are challenged. We take time out. We get quiet. We process.
This has been my default way of being for several years, and in many ways I actually feel it is a quite a strong and beautiful quality.
But there is a fine line that we walk when we take this approach.
Yes, it can make us self-sufficient and empowered. Yes, it can mean we develop a powerful ability to dive deep in to challenges and grow from them. And yes, it means we show up for the beautiful inner work rather than distracting ourselves with external stimulation.
However, if you are anything like me, the more I do this, the more it becomes a very comfortable way of being. Sometimes we don’t realise that we are actually shutting down and closing off.
Instead of opening up and feeling, we are in fact building walls around our heart. We are creating inner barriers. We are closing ourselves off from receiving the love, support and beauty that is waiting to flow towards us, if we will only let it in.
Stay Open When You Are Challenged
October has been a tough month for me. Lots of challenges have arisen externally, and seeing I have been surrounded by so much uncertainty, I have found myself retreating to the comfort of my inner world.
The external world has felt scary so I have found safety and familiarity within myself and within what I know.
One of my biggest challenges in October was that a significant relationship in my life came to an end. The beautiful thing about this relationship was that it was the one place I was unable to shut down.
With this person I was forced to open up, share and connect. He was a phenomenal teacher for me and it was the first place I learnt to feel safe being vulnerable, to give and receive love wholly and completely, and to communicate my truth even when I was terrified of how it would be received.
Don’t Retreat To A Place Of Comfort
So, without him in my life at the moment I have fallen back in to my comfort. I have not wanted to write on my blog, to connect on social media or interact with my community. I have at times not answered phone calls from friends or loved ones. And some days, I have spent the entire day curled up in bed with a book, almost unable to face the world.
I have realised that I now need to be the person for myself who pushes me to open up when I most want to shut down. I have to be the one to call myself out, to stretch myself to speak up, to push myself to connect and ask for help.
And that was the feeling that called me to write this post. To not wait to write until I felt better, but to write whatever I am feeling, right now.
Tear Down The Walls Around Your Heart
There is so much power in being willing to share ourselves with others, in the times when we feel the most vulnerable.
To be willing to admit we need support and we cannot do it on our own. To let people see we don’t have our shit together all the time.
To be real.
I want to keep opening.
I want to keep facing the world no matter how many challenges it throws at me.
I want to find the inner strength to stand in the face of it all and know I will be ok.
I want to be real, authentic, honest and true to myself.
I want to stretch myself to open my heart even when there is fear, so that I can keep showing up as the person I want to be.
Be aware of those moments when the walls come up around your heart. It is a dangerous time.
You close off from love. You close off from support. You close off from connection.
It is in the moments where we most want to close off that we must open. We must do the opposite of what fear is telling us.
We must resist the need to self-protect and instead make ourselves more vulnerable than ever.
Keep opening. Keep sharing. Keep asking for help. Keep showing up, no matter what.
We are all in this together. You don’t have to do it alone.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this post.