Mallory’s list really lights up the effects of self-judgement and avoidance. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t suffer from severe self-judgement and the avoidance behaviours which make self-judgement bearable. We all (at least everyone I know) believe that there is something inherently flawed deep down and that if this/these parts are seen or discovered by others we will be found unworthy of love, respect, and esteem. These beliefs create such painful wounds that the only thing we know to do is avoid or numb the pain of believing; this is the impulse that drives our numbing and addictive choices.
It is way easier to own the bad, hard, difficult parts than it is to believe they should not be there. The spiritual path is one of finding these fragmented parts of self, understanding that they are a part of our unique wholeness, and accepting them as such. Once we’ve seen, understood and accepted, there is nothing to do but keep on keepin’ on in full knowing that we’re imperfect and will always be. This is my personal definition of courage. (See intro. to Kara’s list.)
When we own this, not just to ourselves, but also out in the world as we’re doing with these lists we are trying for something new. We let other's see us as we are and model showing our vulnerabilities up to the light. This makes it easier for others who want to give it a try. Have you written a list yet? Write it for yourself! Then, if you want, share a bit of it with us on our Huron chalkboard or on social (#owyintentions #owyvulnerability).
Thanks Mallory for helping us all see once again that everyone is the same.... Everyone is the same. -Shannon
PS. I'd also like to nod to Mallory's owning of some of the effects that porn has had on her self image. This is an epdemic issue in our culture. Thanks for saying it out loud.
What Does Vulnerability mean to me? by Mallory
Taking off the mask.
Allowing oneself to be exposed, seen, heard and felt.
Fear of knowing my truth, of knowing myself, Fear of self.
Uncertainty, lack of self-knowledge, unknowingness of who I am.
Insecurity, comparison, judgment, ideas of who I want to be.
Withdrawal, unwillingness to share my thoughts, emotions, art, or express myself.
Authenticity, Honesty, Facing Self-Deception
In order for connection to really happen we must allow our true selves to be seen, heard and felt.
1. I repress and avoid my emotions and feelings. I am so good at it I don’t even realize I do it sometimes. I’m always going, going, going, often not giving myself the chance to just BE. It is hard for me to S L O W D O W N. To be in my body and aware of how I feel. To give myself space to process, accept what is and let go. It is foreign and uncomfortable and as soon as those feelings start to arise I want to immediately distract myself.
2. I’ve used coping mechanisms most of my life to help me repress and avoid my emotions. We live in a culture that thrives on our unhappiness. The more inadequate we feel, the more we consume. Consumption has been an incredible distraction for me, allowing me to avoid facing my emotions and dealing with the root of my insecurities. I have used EVERYTHING as a coping mechanisms in the process of avoiding my emotions. FOOD, Nail biting/ picking, screen time, shopping, gossip, drama, masturbation, sex, alcohol, marijuana, etc…
3. The emotional trauma I’ve held on to has fragmented me. By avoiding and repressing my emotions instead of integrating my experiences I have created separation within myself, deeming some parts of my truth to be too much to share, accept or love. These are the things I have kept hidden, my darkness, my shadow self. Basically the parts of myself that I have deemed unworthy of love or unlovable. This created a false self, a people-pleasing, attention-seeking, ideal version of myself that isn’t the truth. It’s the way I want to be perceived by others; my mind’s idea of the “perfect self” (or social media self.) I lost touch with who I was for a while and turned into what I thought everyone else wanted me to be. I was just going through the motions of life feeling unfulfilled and wondering why I wasn’t happy.
4. I am a chronic over-thinker and I suffer anxiety and depression. I CARE SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK ABOUT ME THAT I (used to) LET IT PARALYZE AND DEFINE ME. It is exhausting to spend so much time thinking about yourself. This is the epitome of self-absorbed. I don’t mean to be so selfish, but sometimes I just can’t stop thinking about myself and worrying about how people are perceiving me. I end up stuck in my mind bouncing back and forth between anxiety (fear of what others will think) to depression (the limiting and defeating beliefs that I believe and play on repeat)
5. I am critical, judgmental, harsh, expecting perfection and constantly punishing myself for being human. I can seriously lack compassion towards myself, which ultimately translates out to how I perceive and interact with others. Some of the thoughts that have played over in my head for years are…
“You aren’t good enough.”
“You have no friends.”
“You are a failure.”
“You are socially awkward.”
“No one cares about you.”
“You are undeserving of …. Love, Support, Happiness, Success.”
6. I have a tendency to be scattered and ungrounded, disconnected from reality because I am stuck in my head, lost in incessant thought, literally exploring these other realities…SPACED OUT. This makes it incredibly hard to focus, listen, recall and remember because I am literally not present in the moment. At times I feel like I am going through the motions of life Unfocused, unconscious, unintentional. Lacking in direction, planning, goals, drive and motivation.
7. I fear being seen, expressing the truth of who I am. I have withdrawn and disconnected for so long it scares me to hold my own power, to look people in the eyes and actually share with them my thoughts, my opinions, my art, my life. I am afraid of true authentic connection, but it is what I desire more than anything in the entire world. I fear rejection, ridicule and failure for not being accepted for who I am. I often feel unsupported, unloved and alone because I don’t let other people in.
8. I am dishonest. I find that I frequently lie by omission. I leave things out of conversation because of fear of judgment, sometimes I feel like I won’t be able to explain it well. Sometimes I feel like others won’t understand or it will cause more problems in the relationship if I do speak up. I have a fear that stems from high school, thinking that the less I shared the less people would have to gossip about me behind my back
9. In exploring this topic I found myself asking where I felt most vulnerable in my body. (Where do you feel the most vulnerable in your body?) I have a belly that I have struggled with accepting my entire life. There is so much hate and disgust that was directed at and lodged in my stomach for most of my life. It truly made me hate my body and in return hate myself for not looking like the thin women I adored. From years of sucking in my belly it caused me to become a shallow breather. It is still incredibly hard for me to let my belly completely relax when practicing pranayama, to literally let it all hangout, I have to let go of all of this bullshit. I developed an eating disorder (Bulimia) around my senior year of high school that I struggled with throughout college and after. Because I was emotionally binging on food my fear of gaining weight caused me to resort to purging. I still suffer with these thoughts and tendencies. I also carry embarrassment and deep shame in my genitals. Not as talked about, but women are like flowers and we all are just as unique as men in the way that our vaginas appear. I felt from an early age that what I had wasn’t acceptable or love-able. (This idea was mainly based on false ideas / images from porn and rude judgments from friends.) I carry every single negative comment, remark or interaction like a scar of rejection proving my unworthiness.
10. I am spiritual. I have always had a deep connection with the Divine. It was innate. I always felt one with nature, the elements, the earth, the moon, the sun, the stars…. I can remember never wearing shoes, connecting with trees, talking to plants and animals with my mind, losing myself in the sunset and feeling deep peace standing in the rain or floating in the lake. This part of me was unconsciously suppressed as I grew up and felt pressured to conform to the Catholic religion, which told me what and how to think about divinity. This ideology contributed to the suppression of my intuition, my voice and my authenticity. I stopped thinking for myself and took on what others told me as truth. I became disconnected from my spirituality, religion became something I did, not who I was.
I now practice my own form of spirituality through Yoga, sacred ceremony, and my own personal experiences with the divine. Spirituality is individual and experiential. From my perspective I believe that we are all divine, powerful creators intimately connected by a consciousness of LOVE that pervades us all and is the truth of who we are. We are here to experience, to learn how to release resistance to what is and to surrender to our divine truth allowing that love to flow through us and be expressed uniquely. Through Practicing Yoga I continue to develop deeper and deeper self awareness, I become more integrated, intentional, compassionate, loving, open, honest, real…
Other Vulnerable Share pieces from the series:
The following are two pieces of Mallory's art she would like to share with us!
Mallory's OWY Teaching Schedule
8:30 - 9:45 Yoga Flow Sandusky
9:00 - 10:15 AM Yoga Flow Huron
5:30 - 6:45 OWYoga Flow Sandusky
6:00 - 7:15 PM OWYoga Flow in Huron
9:00 - 10:15 AM Yoga Flow in Norwalk