By Nadine Araksi, Toronto-based Story Coach

Is the fear of vulnerability holding you back?

Right now, there’s something you want to do or say, a truth to reveal or pursue, but you can’t seem to take the next step.

You tell yourself you’re holding back because:
– It’s not the right time
– It’s gonna be expensive
– It’s gonna be a lot of work
– It’s fine the way it is
– You don’t want to rock the boat

But the truth is that if things felt the way you wanted them to, you wouldn’t be spending so much energy still thinking about it. You’d be decided.

What is fear of vulnerability?

Fear of vulnerability is an emotional state where you might feel fear and discomfort about opening up and sharing your emotions, thoughts, and experiences with others. Fear of vulnerability shows up when we believe we might be rejected, criticized, or judged for our vulnerable shares. It can also lead to feelings of shame and insecurity and — in some cases — prevent us from forming meaningful connections with others. 

People pleasers are often scared to be vulnerable

I’ve always thought I was amazing at being vulnerable. For much of my career, I’ve been a memoirist, sharing my personal stories all over the Internet. (You can find links to some of my articles and podcast appearances here.)

But it’s only recently I’ve learned how often I choose my discomfort, prioritizing being polite over saying what I really want or mean. For example, I have a tendency to say yes to helping others, even if it means derailing my day. I will sometimes say something is “fine” rather than possibly offend someone by expressing the truth. And what it’s taken me 45+ years to learn is that worrying about “What will they say” and choosing to be a people pleaser has a toll.

 

Why do we fear vulnerability?

We fear vulnerability because we fear rejection. We may subconsciously believe that being vulnerable with our friends will inadvertently make us an outcast. Or that speaking our desires out loud is somehow shameful.

Here’s a vulnerable share: I’ve quit jobs, broken up with people, and missed out on amazing opportunities because I was too afraid to speak my truth. Was I worried saying it out loud would show how weak I was? Sometimes I avoided sharing my truth because I didn’t know how to trust my gut and didn’t trust what I was feeling. Sometimes I worried I was going down the “wrong” path or making the “wrong” choice and that people would judge me if I made the ACTUAL choice I wanted to. Sometimes I worried that putting my hand up for something, signing up for a program, or saying yes to an invite would mean I’d have to share the ugly, messy truth of me.

How to overcome fear of vulnerability

Finding safe spaces (and people who can patiently call us in when our fear shows up) can help transform vulnerability into a superpower. What changed things for me was surrounding myself with people who made me feel safe. People who challenge me when I’m being polite. People who have helped me to feel secure by providing safe, secure spaces, so I could share without fear of judgement or punishment. I feel more comfortable addressing uncomfortable situations head-on now, and while I have much room to grow, it’s gotten way less scary over time. I spend less energy spinning in mind drama about how to handle something — energy that goes towards doing more of what I love.

Being more vulnerable has meant my stories can connect others to parts of themselves they’d closed off. I feel strongly that Kickstartology creates this kind of community environment for those who are learning to be comfortable sharing themselves with others. Cultivating safe spaces is something I’m quite passionate about. I want women to get louder and bolder when it comes to finding their truths and sharing their gifts confidently but in a way that’s authentic to who they are. 

What I love about our online group coaching program is that you’re never forced to share. We’ve had women go through the program who talk a lot and others who choose to listen thoughtfully and still get the impact and results of learning from those who do share. We help you build the skills needed to feel more confident and in control, be it of your emotions, thoughts, or actions.

How to embrace vulnerability as a strength, not a weakness

Vulnerability can be a powerful tool and a strength once we embrace it. If you’ve been wanting to try coaching but have been afraid of what you might need to share or reveal, we promise that while our job is to push you outside of your comfort zone gently, we’ll never make you share if you don’t want to. I joke that we hold your hand and pass you a flashlight while you discover the monsters under the bed were just shadows.

Come find out how to create change the fun way and meet amazing women in the process. The first step? Book a free exploration call with Stephanie today to see how we’d apply the Align to Thrive program specifically to your life circumstances, habits and goals. A new cohort starts soon!

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