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Being Vulnerable

man on a rock

“There’s nothing more beautiful than authenticity. There’s nothing stronger than vulnerability. There’s no better time than now.”
Vironika Tugaleva

Shortly I’ll be back at work.  Not after a period away, a short break away helping some friends out.  It has been a good time – a change is as good as a holiday.  I spend a lot of my leisure time working on, or thinking about EKO.  It’s one of those things when you believe in something.  My belief is that we can help each other help each other.  Does this make any sense at all?  I really want to do that.  That’s what EKO is all about.  And the more I get into it, the more I see the beauty and compassion of others doing the same thing – or looking to do the same thing.  It really is amazing. Today I’m throwing off the covers and continuing my journey into vulnerability.

Last time I spoke about courage – and some of my feelings around where I’m at.  I wasn’t quite sure what my fear was that required the courage I needed to exhibit.  Not real and obvious, like saving someone in a raging sea, or burning house.  But still something real in my head. And I’m still here.  I survived.  What I feared (less menacing in my mind now) may still eventuate.  But my fears are getting exposed as phonies.  I feel stronger.  I’ve taken a step.  I’ve learnt some stuff that gives me more knowledge, and I’ve received more support. I see more opportunities.  It’s amazing – confidence is growing.  Instead of pointing down, I’m staring up.  Stars are a better guide than a gutter!  Courage does that.

Courage is Vulnerability.
Having courage, especially without confidence, opens up so many opportunities.  Especially in your mind!

I’ve been thinking a lot about how I’ve felt.  Quiet time for reflection is always good.
I don’t have answers. That’s mostly the case when you’re on an uncharted journey.  Maybe it is approval I seek, and I fear not being approved, accepted, by those that matter to me – all of you.  Or is it that the basic human need of security is gone when you step out – and I need to continue feeling secure.

For much of my life I’ve made sure I’ve felt safe, comfortable, in control of myself, my thoughts, my feelings – as much as I could.  I’ve had my defences in place – barriers.  Layers.  Protecting me.  Control is but an illusion.  It is a tricky place to be.  For me it feels like I have some power when my barriers are there.  I’m protected, therefore I have power.  My ego allows no visible sign of vulnerability.  There can be no chinks. But ultimately this has not worked for me – and only now do I recognise it.  I can’t grow or change the way I want to when I’m living in my protected space; my self-imposed barriers designed to protect and help me are restricting me.  None of this kept out Type 1 diabetes (it probably even fed it).  None of this helped me share my love as I wanted, or stopped all the pain I’ve felt.  I guess, like the giant oak to grow to its full majesty it must break open its seed pod and make itself vulnerable to nature – the bitter winters, warm sunshine and rain.  I’m tempted to say “good” and “bad” of nature, but it is all good.  It needs it all to make it as strong and majestic as it becomes.

“We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful.”
Eric Micha’el Leventhal

So what am I doing?  Taking a good dose of courage and throwing off the barriers.
Control.  Attack.  Not the best form of defence at all.  It will get you from the inside.
Making myself vulnerable.  Vulnerable.  Naked.  Exposed.
Vulnerable to criticism, exposing my flaws, weaknesses in writing, intellect, feelings, business, people, emotional intelligence – it’s all out here.  And therefore vulnerable to disapproval, being labelled a failure, even actually failing at this – my dream – in public.  How vulnerable is that?

Dismantle the Barriers.
In life my barriers go up and down letting certain people and things in at certain times.  It isn’t an on-off thing.  Letting certain things out to certain people at certain times.  Always will I guess.  Controlled.  Safe.  I like to feel safe.  Isn’t security and safety a basic human need? But for me, times they are a changing …
Laying yourself open and vulnerable requires significant trust – like the trust of a dog rolling onto its back exposing its entire underside to you for a rub.  Would it do so if it felt vulnerable or threatened?  I guess we learn not to trust.  When you step out on your journey it is trust in your dream and yourself that you need.  I didn’t realise my barriers were going up, and didn’t necessarily consciously put them up.  We’re conditioned throughout our entire life to put them up – “don’t talk to strangers”, “be careful of …”, “you’ll hurt yourself”, “.  We put them up when we feel hurt by someone or something – “you’re stupid” and you say – “I won’t let that happen to me again”. Shields up! Automatically.  Not a conscious thing. It is a constant stream of tiny events or words spoken to us – not necessarily a single big thing.  And then constantly reinforced – like concrete.
When you step out you’re vulnerable.  It is a leap of faith.  Courage.
No one wants to be hurt – yet how do we move forward without putting our self in that situation.  Can we enjoy the joys of true love, fully express ourselves, if we’re not open to being hurt.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.”  Criss Jami

To improve you must change.  To change you must go through a step where you feel vulnerable.  This takes courage.  This is what I’m going through.
I think this is why people find it so difficult to make moves toward their dreams.  They’ve got these barriers they believe are protecting them, but they’re holding the hurt and security habits that caused the barriers to go up and reinforce them in the first place.  New good stuff can’t come in.  These barriers burden us with a weight and so much crap we can’t get out.  Everything in nature is vulnerable – and it thrives.  Our souls are pure nature and need to be vulnerable to thrive.

Sit for a minute in a quiet place. Breathe. What’s up? Do you feel yourself experiencing things fully?

“Vulnerability is strength. It is being honest about who you are and about your experiences.”
Tara Estacaan

Do Something – Move.
I have an inarticulate, long-winded way of saying – make yourself vulnerable.  Come with me on this journey.  Have courage – faith.
Peel back one layer today.  See what happens.  I want you to identify a barrier, or a hurt you have.  Open up a tiny bit to someone on something.  Make yourself vulnerable.  Let it be.
I’m not sure exactly how to help you do this at an individual level.  We’re all so different, but by sharing and working together we can crack this.  If you’ve been through this process – EKO is the place for you to help support others do the same.  Give back.

You can do it.  Let’s do it together.

Jump over to facebook or go to the comments below, and join us in a conversation about Vulnerability – whether you need some right now, or can support someone else, it’s good to talk.

Let’s keep it Real together,

  • Mike Overwater

Mike's an ordinary bloke who had a dream, and wouldn't give up. As the founder of EKO Group, and co-creator of, he thought it was time to share his truths and personal life lessons. Mike hopes to inspire you to always keep it real, to go for your dreams, and to let nothing stop you! Above all BE YOURSELF.

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