This word scares some people.
Frankly, it scares me a little, but that's the whole reason I picked it as my word this year.
I'm not big on New Year's resolutions or setting pie-in-the-sky goals for myself at the start of a year. I like to aim each year towards getting more comfortable with myself, growing in some way that I haven't before. Pushing past my limits and changing my beliefs to become a better version of myself each day.
Last year, for example, I decided in April to get better at taking pictures of myself or having people take photos of me. I have never liked how I looked in photos. Like many people, I always see every flaw, every curve, as something that wasn't worth looking at. It was something I knew I needed to start working on. I wanted to become more comfortable with myself and with capturing moments on film that are important to me. So that's what I've been trying to do.
I can tell you even with taking photos of myself every day for the past 10 months; it's something I'm still learning to be comfortable with. You don't start to love photos of yourself just because you see more photos of yourself. You have to really evaluate what you don't like and why you don't like it. When you're talking about your own body, this can be an emotional experience.
We all grow up in this world (women and men alike) that tells us through movies and print ads what we need to look like. What's attractive and what isn't. It can be hard not to hold yourself to unrealistic standards because of that. I'm almost 40, and I'm still trying to unlearn that standard of beauty.
So in part because of that, I've decided this year I will talk more about all my vulnerabilities. I will share my insecurities and my flaws because we all have them. We all have things we don't like about ourselves. Some things we can change, like our hair colour. Other things, we need to learn to accept or grow to love, and that can be a hard hill to climb.
We all have aspects of our personalities that we think no one could ever love.
We often believe that we have to hide parts of ourselves to be accepted.
We think we are alone in how we feel. Especially now with social media and "Instagram perfection ."
The truth I've learned over the last few years is we are not alone. Everyone feels this way. It's just that no one talks about it because we still live in this world that labels us as "too emotional" or "hard to handle" if we have open and honest conversations about real-life feelings and concerns. If we show our 'ugly' parts to the world who will want us? If we highlight something that most people hide no one will value us and we will be alone. A huge fear for so many people I talk to. No one ever wants to be alone. Even people like myself who love to be alone still want friends and people in their lives to love and support them.
In this world we live in currently, men are told they need to be more manly and need to "man up" if they show any feeling or emotion. They aren't supposed to talk about love, kindness or anything that could be viewed as not manly. Other men will mock them or joke about how "sensitive" they are if they dare to speak about feelings they actually have.
Women are told they are "emotional," "rude," or even "stupid" for openly having feelings. Worse off, you are told that things like sexuality, wages, and even politics are topics that no "lady" should discuss. We are expected to be "ladylike" at all times in order for other people to like us.
Every person I've met has something that makes them vulnerable. At one point in their life, they have had to keep something hidden from the world because of fear of judgment. It's universal, we are all vulnerable to the world we live in and it's high standards for us.
This year I'm going to start embracing those things. I'm going to openly talk about those things on the podcast and in the blog. It may be a year of uncomfortable conversations so buckle up.
I hope that by sharing my story, life, and vulnerabilities, you see that you are not alone.
I'm determined it will be a year of growth for all of us because once we get comfortable talking about these things, we will see that we are more alike in our vulnerabilities than we are different.