This is a story about connection, vulnerability and showing up just as you are. I just came back from a conference. It wasn't your usual conference though. I travelled across three time zones to spend 3 days with 37 other therapists that I had never met in person. As my depature date drew nearer and near, my anxiety began to creep up.
“What if they don't like me?”
“What am I going to say? What if I sound dumb?”
“What am I going to wear?”
I knew that in order to get the most out of the conference, I would need to be authentic. Honest. Actually admit that I didn't always know what I was doing. This was both terrifying but also curiously freeing. I was not only permitted, but actually encouraged, to just show up as I was.
So I did show up, anxiety and all.
And the most amazing things started to happen.
My anxiety started to go down. I began to learn not only skills, but started to learn about myself. Other attendees were sharing about their own fears and vulnerability. Walls came down. People started sharing parts of themselves.
And then the connections started happening.
People were developing relationships. Finding kindred spirits.
People who had only met the day before were sharing their struggles and supporting each other. We had found our tribe. A group of people that understood us, appreciated us and wanted to support us as we grew.
At the end of the conference, many tears were shed. My own protective shell had completely crumbled and the soft marshmallowy core of me was seeping out of my eyeballs. We were sad that we were parting ways but also so grateful that when we showed up with vulnerability, we were received with warmth, acceptance and kindness.
This is what we all need. We need our tribe. We need to feel safe to just show up as we are. We need those people who we can be vulnerable with.
But it's so, so hard. Even walking into a space filled with therapists, some of the most non-judgmental, empathetic people in the world, was really scary. Leaning in to our own vulnerability leaves us feeling so exposed, so at risk for hurt and rejection.
However, the alternative is just as scary. If we walk around all the time with our walls up, we miss the opportunity to truly connect with others. By tapping into our own vulnerability, we are able to truly show up and then allow others to show up as well.
Here is a challenge for you; show up just as you are. We want to see you.
Please share this with the people that you truly want to see #ShowUpAsYouAre