Vulnerability=Weakness.

by Christine Gulrajani on August 4, 2011

Turtle

The need to develop vulnerability skills is a theme that shows up in the hands in several different ways.

The School of Love (as indicated by the type of fingerprints that you have)
The Healer as Life Purpose (also reflected by the fingerprints)
The Gifted Healer Marking
The “Hermit” Heart Line
Emotional Authenticity Life Lesson
Trust/Surrender as a Life Lesson

When any of these show up in the hands, the owner is being called to develop “vulnerability skills.” The first rule you learn at Vulnerability Skills Bootcamp is: Your vulnerability is your strength.
Uh, yeah right.

Speaking as the owner of several of the markings on the above list, that was pretty much my reaction to the concept. Where I came from, vulnerability was like the soft little underbelly of the turtle, precisely the reason you have a shell, so that no one could reach this weakness. This was not something to be displayed. Just as the turtle retracts safely into it’s shell at the first sign of a predator, I too hid my vulnerability for fear of getting hurt.

During the first few years of my marriage I was regularly forced out of my comfort zone. I tended to be pretty reserved around people I didn’t know and I wouldn’t volunteer information on things unless I absolutely knew what I was talking about. My husband on the other hand is more of a “talk first, think later” kind of guy. So in social situations he would offer information about me in conversation that felt really vulnerable. Now he wasn’t revealing my deepest, darkest secrets or anything but it made me furious at the time. I am grateful for that experience now because it revealed how uncomfortable I was in my vulnerability and exactly where I needed to grow.

Signs that you may need to learn vulnerability skills

You feel unsupported
 There is a marking in the hands that indicates feeling a lack of support. What you need to explore if this resonates for you is “how supportable are you?” Do you lament the fact that your children don’t help out with the housework but have a hard time letting them do it their way. (Oh, I could just do it myself more quickly). It can be hard to receive the support we really crave unless we’re willing to look at ourselves honestly and see where we sabotage ourselves. That type of honest self awareness is the key to unlocking our true inner workings and vulnerability skills.
You feel isolated and crave connection

The paradox with isolation is that often we can feel isolated, really crave connection at the same, but take actions that increase our sense of loneliness. Have you ever heard a speaker share a painful or challenging experience that they were able to overcome and you felt inspired? There are several reasons. First, to share that kind of personal experience is vulnerable, it makes you recognize the humanity of another person. Wow, I’m not the only one who struggles with that. Second, it allows you to glimpse what is possible for you, your potential to overcome similar challenges. Just by revealing what may be thought of as vulnerable information, you connect with others on a deeper level. This is what intimacy looks like and this is exactly why vulnerability is truly a strength, it allows us to share our deepest truth with others and experience connection. The way out of isolation is straight through vulnerability.
Repressed or unhealthy anger

I find that anger very often masks a deeper feeling. For example: Let’s say my husband comes home really late and I tear into him because I’m angry. The truth is the anger is only the surface emotion. Maybe what really happened is that I was afraid something happened to him and the anger is really about the fact that I experienced the fear and I’m now blaming him for feeling that fear. I could be honest (if I can slow down enough to check in with myself) and say I felt worried that something had happened and that I felt disrespected that he didn’t call to let me know and could you please call or text next time. This is the recipe for intimacy. Express your true feelings and ask for what you want. It takes vulnerability to do so.
Trust Issues

This is a big one. If you’ve been hurt and your way of avoiding future hurt is to build a wall around yourself you are trying to avoid vulnerability because you think it is the weakness that allows you to get hurt, you may miss a very important point. You don’t get hurt because you’re vulnerable. Let’s say you trusted someone that betrays you. It’s easy to simply blame the betrayal on the other person. The truth is, the only person you need to trust is yourself. You have an inner voice, your intuition or inner guidance and it always knows the truth. So let’s look at that betrayal through another lens. Rewind the tape and watch in slow motion. Was there was a moment there where you had a gut feeling you shouldn’t trust the person? But you didn’t trust yourself and listen to your inner voice. If you trust and listen to your own inner voice, you don’t have to worry about whether you can trust this person or not. You have a way of knowing. Now you can use your vulnerability as your strength. Come out of your shell and connect to others through your vulnerability from a place of strength and inner knowing.
My challenge to you is this: look at your comfort level with your own vulnerability. Is there a way you could share your inner truth in a bigger way than right now (even if it’s only a bit more). Is there any place in your life where seeing vulnerability as a strenth would shift things in a positive direction? Try it and watch others connect to you in a deeper way than ever before. Let me know what you find.

 

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Are you hiding out?

by Christine Gulrajani on July 6, 2011

Woman hidingI recently read an account of a 1968 debut performance by Rod Stewart in which he was so nervous that he sang the whole first song from behind a stack of speakers.

I share this story because it closely mirrors one of my own performance anxiety moments.  I had agreed to provide entertainment during the cocktail hour for an auction and I decided to set up directly behind a podium and planned to do my entire set from there, where I couldn’t be seen.  In my mind, I rationalized that it was a reasonable thing to do since I wasn’t the focal point of the cocktail hour and that people would be talking and mingling.  It wasn’t a concert after all!  The truth was I had terrible stage fright and it somehow felt comforting to think that I wouldn’t be seen.  Alas, one of the event organizers came over and “relieved” me of the podium before I started so there I was in all of my vulnerability, visible to everyone.

Two years later, I was introduced to hand analysis and discovered that my life purpose is The Successful Healer to Healers in the Spotlight.  The “Spotlight” part of my life purpose is also known as “The Artist” and knowing that part of the reason I’m here is to share what I create with an audience in some fashion, I decided that the performance anxiety would have to go and did a lot of work around moving through my fears in this area.  These days I’m not terribly shy about speaking (or singing) but I do see some of the deeper themes of “being seen” come up from time to time.

So when I was having coffee with the lovely and brilliant business strategist Tammy Redmon a few months ago and I told her a story, she remarked that it would make an excellent blog post.  “”Do you have a blog?”

Hmm, well I have one…

I mean I set one up with my website,

I’ve been meaning to send out a newsletter to those names on my list….

CRAP!  I just got caught hiding behind the podium again.

To drive home the point, later that day during a phone call with my friend and colleague Rebeka Gentian (with whom I’m offering the Conquer your Kryptonite program.  It’s not too late to join us…..) commented on my failure to send out my newsletter,  only she said, “It’s like you’re having a series of one night stands with your clients and you’re afraid to call the next day”  Yikes.  This brings me to a couple success tips:

1)  Always surround yourself with people who will tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear.

2)  If you get called on the same thing twice in the same day – Pay Attention!

The truth is what I was experiencing was plain old Tomato Fears.  Tomato Fear is the catch all term that we use in hand analysis (thanks to Richard Unger, the creator of the system I use) to describe the various fears of rejection and criticism that come up for people in relationship to using their creativity or being visible.  In the olden days, if an audience didn’t like a performer, they threw tomatoes.  These days the tomatoes might not be visible, but the truth is the fear of rejection feels very real.  When an artist, musician, performer, or simply someone who shares their unique way of seeing things shares their creation with the world (or an audience of two or three), the fact is not everyone will appreciate their work.  That is not reason enough not to show up.

How to tell if you may be hiding out

  1. “I like working behind the scenes” Yes you do, and here’s why, you can get close enough to the stage without having to walk through the fear of actually stepping out behind the lights.  The problem is getting close enough to the stage but not on it will never feel right if it’s where you want to be.  Now, before you email me to say that you really love being a stage manager, just know that your hands reveal whether that’s really true or not.
  2. You’re the class clown. Another interesting way to hide out is to go to the other extreme.  Some people show up, say outrageous things, and appear to be unafraid of public speaking, and they’re still hiding out.  Only it’s behind a persona instead of a podium.  You know that person who is constantly talking in class, drawing attention to themselves at the wrong time.  That’s simply one who is needing an audience and getting one inappropriately or showing up larger-than-life, but it’s a mask.
  3. You are highly critical of others. I find that there is a direct relationship between criticism and not showing up in your own life.  If you are extremely skillful in dissecting every performance you see and have extensive detail about how you would do it better you might want to take inventory of the projects that you are not creating out of fear that it may not be perfect.  Your outward criticism is a measure of just how self-critical you are.  You may be surprised to see how the need to critique seems to disappear when you are actually doing something or putting yourself out there.

Here are 3 tips to help you come out of hiding:

  1. You fear because you care. Let me share an interesting fact with you.  I never see Tomato Fears in the hands of people who are not creatively talented in some way.  The fear exists because it’s important to you.  It is absolutely true that you won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, however, you must risk possible rejection in order to find the audience who truly wants to receive what you have to offer. What if you shifted your perception of the fear?  When I feel nervous about speaking (or sending out newsletters LOL) I re-frame my fear and it feels different.  Instead of gut wrenching it feels more like “aww how sweet, I’m nervous because I care”.  Neurologically, fear and excitement are identical.  Think about what that could mean.  Maybe what you’ve been conditioned to perceive as fear is really excitement.  What would you be willing to do if you experienced your fear as excitement?
  2. Creation needs to be received.  When you create something, whether it’s art or ideas, it needs to be received on some level.  There is a feedback loop that exists between artist and audience.  The fastest path to apathy or a sense of feeling stuck is to not share what you create and it causes a downward spiral where you start to not care and then not create anything.  Think of a newborn baby, what it needs most (and in fact will not thrive without) is touch.  A baby needs to be held.  A baby is certainly a profound example of creation.  Anything else created is no different than that newborn child.  What if it’s not your job to decide whether your ideas or your art is good enough for us to hold?  What would change if you simply allowed yourself to “give birth” to whatever it is that wants to come through you?
  3. It’s not about you/and yet it is.  As I mentioned above creativity is something that you can allow to come through you.  Creativity is something you could compare to a beam of light, we all have access to that light, however the way it reflects off our individual surfaces is what makes it appear unique to each individual.  So you are not the source, and yet by allowing yourself to show up in the way that you feel moved is how your individual brilliance is made visible.   Sometimes, your resistance comes from a  self conscious feeling that it’s all about your ego and that to be visible means you’re feeding some sort of self importance.  Who do you think you are anyway?  So knowing that creativity comes from Source, Spirit, God (it doesn’t matter what word you use) is a way to get out of the self consciousness that causes the fear.  You just have to let it through.  Think about it.  Who would you be if you weren’t worried about whether what you had to offer was ok and you just offered it anyway?  You have a uniqueness that is made visible by simply allowing that light, that creativity,  to flow through you and reflect off of your many facets.  What if someone right now needed to hear what you have to say, in the exact way that you say it, even if it’s been said before?

Maybe it’s ok if you sing your entire first song behind a stack of speakers, as long you just sing it.

 

 

 

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