Tagged: emotional

Confessions of Vulnerability


Original photo cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by 55Laney69

Original photo cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo by 55Laney69

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for me professionally and when things aren’t easy we need strategies to cope or ways of easing the stress or strain. For me, music is an avenue to escape for a while. I have a large collection and range of music from hip hop to folk, from grunge to pop. Music can make me laugh, cry, dance, relax and at times reflect.  I am often drawn to singer songwriters who tell a story and rouse imagery.  Josh Pyke is brilliant at this and it was while listening to his Memories and Dust that I took a very deep breath and found a sense of relief.
First I was a hatchling waiting for my little bones to form
Next I was a fledging leaping from the nest despite the fall
oh they fall, how we fall
I consider myself a fairly strong, resilient individual.  I’ve had many emotional and professional challenges including the loss of both my parents and I continue to focus on what’s great in my life. These lyrics remind me that we can at times be fledglings who fall, hoping our bones aren’t so brittle they break.  I am learning that being vulnerable is not a bad thing, it’s how we manage during and after such time that will show our constitution.
Along with music I lean on my amazing circle of influence.  These people play a range of roles for me. Years ago, I could pick up the phone and call my mother and in her, I had someone who would listen, who understood, who could give wise advice and at times when I needed it, just let me be sad.  When my mother passed away, it took me a while to figure out how and with whom I could debrief or be vulnerable. I have never felt comfortable asking for help, or confessing to feeling overwhelmed. What I have come to realise is that I have amazing people in my life who fulfil different roles to help me manage during times of hardship or tension. The past week, these people have brought me back to life, helped me “shake it off” and face a new day with the conviction and energy I normally approach each day. For this I am truly grateful.


cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Backdoor Survival

cc licensed ( BY NC ) flickr photo by Backdoor Survival

I work with people………actual human beings!!

I think I have always been a fairly secure person even through adolescence.  I think this confidence came from my parents who instilled a sense of “anything” is possible with hard work and determination.  This is not to say that at times I don’t feel unprepared or unsure and even nervous and anxious, it’s just that I have the confidence to approach the challenge, knowing that I will be ok.

At school and university I would wonder why my peers would get so anxious about exams and tests.  I was a good student, I loved school, I achieved well,  but so did many of my classmates. My attitude was, whether I prepared well or not for the test, there was nothing I could do in the next hour or two or three that would make a difference to how much I’d prepared, so just get on with it. If I ‘d worked hard,  I could feel assured that I had done everything I could to succeed.  If I had not, then really I had no one to blame but myself and I should just give it my best shot!

So I guess in this sense I “own” my securities/insecurities. I “manage” them when it comes to my performance, because I know that it is not static but based on my own effort.

As I learn more about how to work with “people” I am starting to get better at identifying how my frustrations are more about me and my expectations (oh no) than I had imagined.  Part of developing my emotional IQ means that I need to respect that whilst I may manage my insecurities fairly well, others wear them on their sleeve for all to see.

I am not threatened by the growth, perceptions, knowledge or brilliance of other people, in fact I want to be around it (circle of influence). It is what inspires me to be better. When my opinions are challenged or threatened, I want to know more.  I see it as an opportunity to open up, to engage, consolidating my views or constructing a new one. I won’t sit quietly (still working on it), but instead try and thrash out why it is that I came to my understanding and how it can evolve.

This is where my new self-awareness is arising. Recognising insecurities, both our own and those of others, is an important part of interacting with others in an empathic, caring, and perceptive way. I would never want to intimidate or make another feel less valued. Whilst I have mountains of patience and understanding for my students, for adults I can tend to push it aside.

Whilst I see being challenged as an opportunity, others may see it as an attack and become defensive. It fails to be objective at this point and this is where I need to STOP because there is no moving forward under this stress.  Instead I am taking this advice and I will see how it works..

It can disarm your insecure colleague if you compliment (she), especially at times when it would be easy to criticize… instead. Focus on at least several positive traits that your co-worker possesses, or something positive that (she) contributed, so that when (her) insecure behavior surfaces you can tame it before it has a chance to escalate. Honest compliments also serve to boost your colleague’s self-esteem so (she) is less likely to act defensively. – Anna Windermere