Putting down the armor

Two nights ago I sat down to have dinner with my boyfriend and began to cry uncontrollably. Not the cute little tears…like the ugly sobs. I was hunched over and he would ask me “what’s wrong??”. I would sit up, sobbing and then began laugh/crying because I hadn’t a clue what was going on!

The good news is…we made it through dinner.

The bad news is…my extreme rush of unexplainable emotion caused a headache which turned in to a migraine that had me in bed most of the following day.

Even today thinking about what that was all about, I STILL couldn’t pinpoint it…until I read this:

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” (Brene Brown – Daring Greatly)

I realized something… I have been standing at the fence surrounding the arena watching people line up to go in. I am not even IN the arena. Every single day it weighs on me more and more. Until, wham! Uncontrollable tears and emotion. I broke down. It was ugly. Dallas saw a side of me he has NEVER seen before. His exact words: “I’ve never seen anyone do that before.”

Well got another first out of the way I suppose…

I am not ashamed. I am not worried. I am not beating myself up over it. It was necessary. I needed to be brought to me knees.

The arena I am referring to is that of many things… putting myself out there as a fitness professional in a new town/state…putting myself out there as an adventurer and going on hikes…putting myself out there and letting myself be seen.

Before I moved 1600 miles to start the next chapter of my life, I had many people tell me: “What an amazing opportunity! It’s a new place for a fresh start where you can be whoever you want to be!”

Yes true… but here’s what happened. I began trying to be a person who I am not. Why? Fear.

Fear of people not liking me. Fear of people not caring who I am or what I was about.

What seemed to be an exciting time for me became a very scary time in which I had to start over the very thing I did back home when I finally accepted who I was. It was hard to introduce the new ME to people who I already knew… It was difficult to lose relationships because some didn’t like the new me. It was tough….but o so worth it for the new connections I was able to make.

So why would I want to change that? Why would I want to be anyone but who I am?

Vulnerability. Trust.

I had to be brave and respond to vulnerability again on a larger scale.

“Experiencing vulnerability isn’t a choice  – the only choice we have is how we’re going to respond when we are confronted with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”

I have to build trust with others and share my vulnerabilities with others who have earned the right to hear them.

“We need to feel trust to be vulnerable and we need to be vulnerable in order to trust.”

Like I mentioned before though….it is o so worth it for the connections a person can make. Genuine connections. Authentic connections. Caring connections.

Sharing this with you is the first step in gaining your trust. There are people in the same arena as you (myself included) so by spending less energy on those watching from the stands, you are able to open the doors to those who are right there with you.


Let’s look back at the first quote I put up…

“When we spend our lives waiting until we’re perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable, we squander our precious time, and we turn our backs on our gifts, those unique contributions that only we can make.” (Brene Brown – Daring Greatly)

This is the very feeling so many have before making a decision to make a positive change for themselves.

“When I am down 20lbs, then I’ll get a trainer.”

“When I get to size X, then I will wear shorts again.”

When I get back to the same size I was in high school, then I’ll go to the class reunion.”

What happens is exactly what Brene talks about… someone is so caught up with trying to be their perceived version of perfect before stepping in to the arena. They spend years trying to build up a suit of armor so that when they go in to situations that will make them vulnerable, they have protection. They are able to put on a smiling face and hide from everyone their true self who at that time is feeling shameful, unworthy, not enough…

That armor will break. It won’t hold up over time. It will become too difficult to carry around with you anymore. It will continue to shrink you and keep you from knowing who you really are.

Showing up AS YOU ARE is the bravest and most courageous thing you can do.

Vulnerability begets vulnerability; courage is contagious.”

Step in to whatever arena you are faced with and pay attention ONLY to those right in there with you…. not those watching from the sidelines saying things like:

“Won’t all that lifting make you…manly?”

“People only eat like that because they hate themselves.”

Those on the sidelines want company… ever heard “misery loves its company”?

Don’t feed the beast. Be brave. Be courageous. Keep working hard day after day. Find people in the arena with you and ask for help.

“As iron sharpens iron, so one (wo)man sharpens another.”

A knife is just a knife, but when sharpened against another it begins to shine. Don’t feel like you need to go at it alone…we can’t learn to be more vulnerable and courageous on our own. It takes a team. A tribe. A group.

“I’m with you. In the arena. And when we fail, we’ll fail together, while daring greatly.”

 

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