The art of vulnerability is honesty. The brutal honesty that leaves the listener feeling it in their gut. The honesty that leaves you, the speaker, feeling emotionally naked.

I must precursor the art of vulnerability with the fact that you should only choose to use vulnerability with someone who you feel safe with. Vulnerability is a powerful tool, but should be used with those who can be trusted.

This blog series is a way for the team here to be vulnerable. To lead by example. To show you how its done and to ensure that we practice what we advise. No one likes a hypocrite – like the doctor who tells you to give up smoking and cannot identify with how difficult it is because they, themselves, have never lit a smoke themselves.

Our biggest “selling point” as a charity is that we, as founders, have lived experience with mental illness and by sharing our own recovery, we hope we empower and inspire others to do the same – alongside not being the same as that doctor.

So here goes…

vulnerability

Realisations

I spent the entirety of the first twenty years of my life trying to fit in. Trying to gain acceptance from those around me. Bad idea. I walked around becoming a piece of everyone around me and losing parts of myself, until I hit thirty and someone asked me who I was during a therapy session and I couldn’t answer.

That moment was a turning point in my life. I soon became aware that in my quest to be accepted, I had forgotten who I was. I was lost to myself. I had also learned that whilst trying to be accepted, I had collected “friends” who I didn’t even like. The real me wouldn’t have ever given that person a piece of me to hold and now I had to ask for those pieces back, put together the puzzle of me and figure out who the hell I am.

Awareness of the above was the pivotal part of the journey to discovering who I am and what makes me tick, and I am still learning. I even write statements in my journal about myself, the pieces I am reclaiming and the pieces I am newly discovering. They can be really simple:

  • I am a bit weird.
  • Weird is great
  • I can like an eclectic range of music
  • I tend to like music that makes me feel something, even if that something is just that it makes me smile.
  • Hummus is great
  • I prefer veg to fruit.

They can also be complex:

  • I have a tendency to not complete things that are beneficial to me yet I will always complete things for others. (I never said learning about yourself was all the good stuff.)
  • I phase through binge-watching Netflix, binge-reading, or binge-gaming. I don’t do a little of each because that overwhelms me.
  • Taking the above point further, I realise I am all or nothing. (This is something I am working on because this all or nothing bullshit needs to stop.)
  • I feel a lot of guilt and shame when I perceive I have “let someone down” – even though I probably haven’t.

Enlightenment

The most profound part of “discovering who the hell I am” (yes, it has a name) was when I realised the following point. It was a powerful realisation and furthered my recovery.

The only person I should require acceptance from is myself.

Sammie, Co-founder, CEO & Resident Weirdo, PoetsIN.

I’m right. It doesn’t matter whether others accept me. Unless I accept myself for who I am in this moment, I’m not going to attract the right people in my life moving forward. If I accept me right now, those surrounding me will accept me. Those who don’t accept me, don’t deserve to be in my life. This goes for you too. You, the person reading this. Stop looking outside yourself for acceptance. Find yourself. Write those “who the hell am I statements” add to them, I am still adding to mine. If I find myself unaccepting myself, I need to look within and find out what part of me I’m not okay with and figure out if I need to change that part of me or if my mental illness is doing its usual self-hate bullshit. If it’s the latter, I can then take control because I am aware of what’s going on in my noggin’. (Read: mind.)

Vulnerability

Another of my realisations on my quest to find out who the hell I am brought me to this piece. To the new blog series, The Vulnerability Diaries. I have found strength and power in being vulnerable. You most certainly don’t need to do it in such an open forum such as this, but I highly recommend finding security with someone you know and being a little vulnerable.

As a team we will continue sharing our experiences, epiphanies, and emotions, not only to inspire and engage with you all, but as our own form of catharsis towards our own recovery. Some Vulnerability Diaries might be short, some might be epic trilogies of meandering thoughts, but the one thing they will all have in common is this:

They will be honest.

If you are struggling with your mental health and have no place to be vulnerable, use the button below to join our safe, warm, and welcoming online community. Vulnerability is our second name – it’s not, but you know what I mean. Zero judgement, lots of love. Join us.

Until the next time…

Sammie.

Please follow and like us:
Award Winning Film Director Alasdair Mackay on Mental Health, Addiction and his Film 'Anonymous'
Civil Writes Workshops Throughout Black History Month

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.