After reading so many books about vulnerability, “being enough” and self-love, I realized that what I am struggling with the most is the transition periods. Transitions periods are the unknown times – the limbo periods between the knowns in life or the waiting periods. Here are some examples of transition periods: waiting to hear back if you got a job, to hear if you got the apartment, to hear if you don’t have that illness, to start a new graduate program, to change your gym, etc. It is the time in life where there is greater uncertainty.
This is the time in life where you have to have faith and believe that good will happen and that worry will only stop the good. In order to not destroy ourselves from this potentially stress-inducing time that occurs way more frequently than we realize or care to admit, we must move from the mentality of “What will people think?” to “I am enough.” We take back control of our emotions and no longer allow these other people to hold our happiness in their hands.
In these vulnerable times, I have felt the most out of control. I have felt like my perfectly crafted world of “to-do” lists and organized workouts comes crashing down when one brick is pulled out from the Jenga pile. What I have been told is: “There’s a crack in everything. That how the light gets in.” Sometimes we feel it is easier to say “no” – this world doesn’t understand how hard it has been to maintain this stability and I finally got the balance of life and even though I want happiness in this new area of my life, I am not ready to offset all of the other harmonies in my life. I just am not ready for potential danger in other parts. I am not ready for change. I am not ready for anything that pulls me outside my comfort. Funny thing is – “life happens when we live outside of our comfort zone.” Gosh, I want to disagree with this statement so much because I love the rules, structure, boundaries and walls I have built around my life and heart, but when I tear down, even just one wall, wow does my heart glow brighter and stronger than ever.
Because of the struggles I’ve had in my life, I recently wanted to expect the worst throughout the job process with my new employer. I wanted to expect that they wouldn’t negotiate and straight up wouldn’t care about me. I made it clear very firmly in my initial interview that I needed freedom and to feel valued, above all else, at this new place of work. And you know what? They actually heard me and listened. But why did I spend a whole week dreading the offer letter. Was it really them that I was dreading? Or was it that I felt that I wasn’t enough? That I was lying about what I could offer? That I didn’t feel like I truly was a value so why should they value me?
As Brene Brown states from her research, “As I conducted my interviews, I realized that only one thing separated the men and women who felt a deep sense of love and belonging from the people who seemed to be struggling for it. That one thing was the belief in their worthiness. It’s as simple and complicated as this: If we want to fully experience love and belonging, we must believe that we are worthy of love and belonging.” (p.145)
So is the issue that I don’t believe that I’m worthy of love and belonging? Absolutely. I grew up in a very dysfunctional family with a lack of clear love and more anger than should ever be accepted. I grew up learning that I was unworthy, as a child, of love and belonging. But, with every moment I spend moving forward, I need to use these vulnerable moments to teach myself: I am enough. I deserve to be loved just like my little puppy of 4 months old deserves to be loved and in a healthy environment, despite his little issues. The goal isn’t to be perfect – the goal is to be happy.
With this being said, even if I did get a bad response via the offer letter, I should remember that I am worth it – I am valuable. As Scott Stratten eloquently put: ” Don’t try to win over the haters; you’re not the jackass whisperer.” (p. 171) And at the end of the day, we are hardwired for connection, curiosity and engagement, but we need to be around people who believe in us and see our true value for us to really open up, be vulnerable and create those connections.