Why do I post such vulnerable messages on a professional blog? Am I seeking attention or am I trying to be relatable to clients and potential clients? Both!
To me being vulnerable means that you are able to communicate in a way that shows your “human” side. It means that you are able to put down your defenses and to stop trying to prove to others that you “have it all together”. When a person has the ability to be vulnerable they likely maintain the ability to heal their emotional wounds because they aren’t afraid to draw attention to what they feel. You can’t fix something that you don’t understand, that you don’t recognize and that you won’t pay attention to.
The benefit of vulnerability is twofold: the person being vulnerable is open and their emotions are exposed in a way that allows them to be comforted by others and to comfort themselves just through their verbal expression. Then the person receiving the message is able to relate and to recognize that the struggles they face are all too common and that maybe if I (or whoever) can be brave in the face of adversity and can share what I have experienced and receive some healing that maybe they can too.
BUT… what does it mean to receive a message, truly? When we listen with the intent to understand rather then to respond it allows us to connect with the person we are engaged with- to use healthy communication skills and it provides an opportunity to stop making everything about us! But for a minute or two actually allow ourselves to be present for and WITH another person.
This involves not being defensive which is for sure a primary struggle for most people. Probably for a number of reasons- one of which is not having experience being validated and not believing that what they think and feel has true substance- that its worth sharing. When a person operates from a place of insecurity- as we all do at times because we all have insecurities- it blocks us from receiving and offering connection. Insecurity tells us that we need to be defensive because we might get hurt. And really that’s ok because we want to be protective of ourselves but hopefully not at the expense of cultivating a true and meaningful relationship.
So to now respond directly to the original question way back at the beginning- Am I seeking attention- YES- I post vulnerable messages to bring attention to the fact that I am human and that I have real feelings and thoughts and that just because I am a professional counselor doesn’t mean that I don’t have my own struggles. I post vulnerable messages so that the reader recognizes that the professional counselor who they may be interested in working with is relatable and that because I am relatable I have the ability to teach them how to be vulnerable and relatable too.
So many of our personal struggles stem from relationship issues- be it our own personal complications or sorting through/with the complications that another person brings to the relationship. Either way being vulnerable takes courage and it brings you to a place where you can connect and heal and maybe even where you can offer that to another person.
– human connection is truly invaluable. If that’s something you struggle with consider asking yourself if you are able to be vulnerable in relationships and if you are open to allowing others to be vulnerable with you. If you aren’t or if it’s a challenge for you evaluate your options and figure out what you need to do to learn how to open up and connect. Maybe, just maybe it’ll include meeting with a relatable professional counselor who recognizes how important real, meaningful, substantial human connection is.