Busy work-from-home lives, emotionally drained by cabin fever, increased need for conflict resolution strategies, and an onslaught of anxiety provoking news might be our new normal today, yet in the space between our laptops and refrigerators are wonderful connections being made. We must hold on to these nourishing spaces and remember how to be vulnerable.
In the last two days, I have received a delicious Tigadegena (peanut stew) recipe from a friend who spent time in the Peace Corps in Mali, an invitation to participate in a weekly prayer call circle, a promise of a handwritten note from a friend who is taking time to write letters, text messages from people who I had lost track of, check-in calls from three former colleagues and fun Facetime with my granddaughter, Bailey.
All these wonderful connections have made me ponder how I will hold on to these vulnerable spaces. The spaces that make me smile instead of grimace with overwhelm when my phone rings. The spaces that glitter like treasure in a few stolen giggles with colleagues in between video meetings and stat reports. The spaces that whistle, “Jada you are not alone. You are loved and cared for.”
Today, one of my cherished mentors called and I eagerly answered the phone in anticipation of a supportive connection. Believe me, I wasn’t always open to this type of vulnerable conversation. Yet, as I heard myself describing the anxiety I had been feeling, I realized that I wasn’t giving into the fear of being judged or concerned with projecting an image of strength and invulnerability. I was emanating the truth of the moment and it was received with kindness and caring.
When things return to the new normal, how long will it take for our fast-paced, no-nonsense attitudes to snap back into formation just in time to forget how much we needed each other during these uncertain times? How will we remember not to forget?
"I am committed not to let that happen in my life. I am committed to remembering how much I needed my friends lost and found, colleagues old and new, family near and far to wrap their big, warm virtual arms around me and squeeze. " Jada Berteaux
Join me in the commitment not to forget.
Here are 9 ways to remember how much we need to remain vulnerable to loving and supportive connections now and when this crisis is over.
1. Embrace 10 minutes per day as a vulnerability check. Mix up what you do in this reoccurring 10-minute block of time:
- Note your own vulnerability temperature. Are you feeling closed down for any reason?
- Apologize to someone who deserves to receive an apology from you.
- Share ways you use your vulnerability check by commenting on this blog.
2. Connect mentally with how calming it feels to support another person and to have them support you. Sit with the feeling for a few minutes after the experience and let it work itself deep down into your spirit.
3. Sketch a tree doodle of your important interpersonal connections and create new ways to express gratitude for their love and friendship. One new leaf for each expression. You want your tree to be full and a gesture as simple as a short text message greeting equals one leaf! This is a great activity to do with family.
4. Gift a cultural recipe to a few friends or family members. Set a time to make it together in a virtual cookoff.
5. #Remember that we needed each other. Share this blog post.
6. Forgive the errors of humanness in others. Every human error is not a purposeful attack.
7. Include those you have unfairly judged and excluded from your life in your weekly 10-minute vulnerability check.
8. Discover an article or quote today that will instantly remind you to slow down and remember. In my book, Dear Vulnerable, there are many quotes, clearing prayers and exercises that you can use for this purpose.
9. Speak vulnerably in a conversation. This means no judgment or blame. This conversation is a mission of mutual understanding. Find someone with whom this conversation is long overdue.
If you are a busy, stressed, and out of balance woman who struggles with vulnerability and remaining open to others in your life, I urge you to take this time in our world to expand your vulnerability capacity. While we are protecting ourselves against a terrible virus, we can practice opening up to others.
We need others to understand who we are, and they will only truly know us if we practice vulnerable communication. Remember not to forget how imperative this is in our lives.
Jada Berteaux is a vulnerability capacity coach, author and conflict resolution consultant. She is also known as the Vulnerable Free Spirit as she teaches people how to shed sabotaging self-defense mechanisms and expand their vulnerability capacity in private and business life.
Join my list below to become part of my growing community of self-discovery enthusiasts who want to become more vulnerable and set their authentic selves free!