To be vulnerable, to allow yourself to be seen as you are, to completely accept your imperfections, to be honest, exemplifies courage.

When you are vulnerable, when you are honest with yourself, you see yourself as you are in the true sense, you become aware of your thoughts, beliefs and habits. The clarity offered by vulnerability enables you to compare who you are with who you want to be, your vision of tomorrow. The honesty of vulnerability, though uncomfortable, motivates you to plug your energy into aspects of your life that requires your attention, and to embrace creativity, innovation, and change.

Life should be characterized by daring greatly and being in the arena. The voice of shame and guilt in your head is often what attempts to stop you from rising above your comfort zones but you should learn to transcend them and step into the arena. Shame tries to pin inadequacy and incompleteness on you while guilt attempts to attach dissatisfaction to your actions. Depression, addiction, violence, eating disorders are all ills of extreme shame.

Inability to experience any semblance of shame identifies one without any capacity for connection or empathy. For women, shame is that feeling of inadequacy that floods their mind instigated by a myriad of conflicting, competing unattainable expectations. The voice of shame speaks to a man through his tendency to perceive himself as weak. Shame thrives on secrecy, silence, and judgement

Empathy snuffs the life out of shame. Fear of disconnection defines shame. Shame is uneasiness about something in your past or present that you fear would render you unworthy of connecting with others. When you are honest with your feelings of shame, fear, and inadequacy, it becomes easy for you to embrace your feelings of love, gratitude and joy. Then you can shine the light of your awareness on your disempowering feelings and unravel the falsehood at their core. Empathy, a very vulnerable choice, is feeling with People. To connect with others, you have to connect with something in yourself that understands what the other person is feeling, and that implies being honest with yourself, being vulnerable. Empathy is characterized by assuming or truly understanding the perspective of other persons, appreciating their truth as defined by their perspectives, keeping judgement at bay, and recognizing their emotions and communicating them back to the persons. Most times, people come to you, seeking to connect with you, not for you to solve their problems. To connect with others, you have to become vulnerable, you have to become completely honest with yourself as you discover that place of understanding and love within you, and you have to respond from that place. To respond with love and understanding is to be empathetic.

People with a strong sense of loving belonging believe that they are loveable and worthy contrary to those who struggle for it. What keeps us out of connecting with others is the fear that we are not worthy of the connection. To have a strong sense of loving connection is something that comes with believing that your imperfections make you unique and beautiful, demonstrating courage in telling the story of who you are, being kind to yourself first before extending kindness to others, and being willing to let go of who you think you should be in order to embrace who you are. Authenticity, vulnerability, the willingness to nurture a relationship, where there are no guarantees of being loved back, to deploy wholeheartedly at a task where benefits are not assured, paves way for connection.

Allowing yourself to be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen is to be alive. You are enough, complete, despite your seeming imperfections. Connection and empathy springs from that place of completeness within you.

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