A Note on Self Awareness and Vulnerability

Jared Wolff · 2015.9.8· 5 Minute Read

You’re free falling. It feels like your stomach has already left your body through your mouth. All of a sudden a change of motion and your body responds. You seem to be at the whim of some force out of your control as it jostles and throws your limp body in all directions like a rag doll in the hands of a 7 year old girl. Sounds like fun, right?

It’s easy to control our physicality to avoid a situation like this (watch out for little Susie, she doesn’t mess around) but what happens when this type of experience happens at the mental or emotional level? It’s been hard for me to answer that question. I definitely don’t have all the answers but it’s taken a boat load of exploration in the past year to really grasp the necessity, find the tools and then use those tools.

Self Awareness

Warning: Engineering analogy ahead. Our emotions are like a sin wave. Where the magnitude of the signal relates directly to the emotional highs and lows. Take that emotional sin wave with an emotionally sensitive person and those emotions all of a sudden get multiplied a few times over.

Emotional Sin Wave

For a sensitive person, when they feel on the top of the world they’re really jazzed but when they’re at the opposite end of the spectrum life doesn’t always appear to be so great.

Personally, I tend to be hot headed and jump to conclusions and judgements before I let my prefrontal cortex do any processing. I also tend to be more sensitive and am prone to swings high or low in either direction. I usually run around clicking my heels with a beaming smile during my highs and activate hermit mode to avoid people during my lows.

Albeit the highs and lows i’ve come to be aware of these emotional states and accept them for what they are. Sometime’s its as easy as taking a third person perspective and ask myself “Hey Buddy, why are you mad? Does it make sense?” or “Why are you bummed out?.” Then I take the time to remind myself about how much i’ve accomplished and how much potential my future holds for me rather than sulking about negative.

More recently though I’ve been taking the time to meditate every day and also performing some power poses when i’m low on emotional energy. The net result? Fortunately it is a positive one. I’ve been able to identify where I am emotionally and deal with it accordingly. Gotta cry? Cry. (Yea, real men cry but that’s for another blog post all together.) Want to run around the neighborhood in your birthday suit? By all means..

Vulnerability

Warning: another engineering analogy inbound. In engineering, we build our software, firmware, hardware to be the best that it can be. The problem is, getting a product to a place where it is the best representation of our work is often fraught with design flaws, bugs, and design decisions that have been made. The not so glamorous things that we don’t always talk about or own up to are the vulnerabilities within our designs.

Workflow

Very much like design vulnerabilities, personal vulnerabilities are the things we’d rather not share and keep hidden from other people. They are also the things that we feel we would get judged or potentially rejected for. Part of a deeper connection with other people involves exposing our vulnerabilities. Sure, you can be friends with someone for years but do you feel like you can talk to them about your worst fears or secret desires?

Personally, my life has been a bit of a roller coaster for the past year. It has been littered with attempts to filter the best people into my life and the worst people out. There has been no shortage of drama, work and more work (workaholism is a serious problem). It’s oh-so-easy to stay locked up to avoid rejection but at the same time this mechanism isn’t so useful for making deep meaningful connections.

Owning my vulnerabilities has beens somewhat of a challenge and it’s something I’m still working on. I chose to write about it though because I realize the importance and the impact that it has on the relationships around me. As I continue to work on this I am making a conscious effort to be more real with people by speaking my mind. Also, when it’s appropriate, open up and make those meaningful connections that matter.

Take Aways

A younger me thought to get along in the world you focus outward. You depend on the people around you to make you who you are. You try and manage to control on the things within your grasp only for them to erode between your fingers. A now older me realizes I was sorely wrong. There is a foundation of self-awareness and vulnerability that if it’s missing or damaged doesn’t provide a stable base for anyone to build on. Would you want to go into a skyscraper with a crappy foundation? I think not.

Special thanks

Special thanks to Janet and her Un-marketing Blog Challenge. Wouldn’t have written this without her inspiration.

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