When it comes to the volunteer work that I do – as well as the GBMM  work – it leaves me open to a great deal of criticism.  Some of it is real – some of it is imagined.   Criticism is a vulnerability soft spot for me – I wonder if it’s because I worry that once one of my shortcomings are identified by someone that the floodgates will open and all the shitty things I think about myself suddenly will be nothing but the truth??  Gawd, as I type this I know how silly it seems to think this.

I’m involved with a book study of “The Gifts Of Imperfection” by Brene Brown and today this quote just rocked my world:

“Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection…”

The last 2 and half years of my life have been an experiment of living authentically and vulnerably and I have had the very highest of highs and the lowest of lows but today that quote made me realize I will always stay low if I get too scared to stay vulnerable. The end of 2013 was very difficult and the first half of 2014 hasn’t been much easier and I see so clearly now that my survival mode was to stop being vulnerable and I really shut-down quite a bit.

It got me thinking about the criticism that I’m so afraid of …. it’s never the constructive stuff.  The people that offer constructive criticism have just as much skin in the game as I do… they are living a life as authentically as they can and they reach out to me and offer me guidance when it’s needed.

But that destructive criticism?  That’s the shit that gets me.  That’s the stuff that gets me in my tender little heart.  How do these trolls know where to get you?

The quote “It’s not the critics who count….” is my mantra.

That’s my new barometer for taking outside criticism and considering if it’s constructive or destructive…. if it’s coming from a person who has been in the arena…   I hear it … if it’s coming from an asshole who has nothing better to do than attack a person from behind the comfort of a computer screen I am getting so much better at dismissing it!

Also… putting myself in this role did magnify my shortcomings…. how can it not? None of us are perfect! I’m pretty proud of the courage it took to plow ahead anyway and proud of the courage it takes right now to not give you a laundry list of all the reasons why the work I do is hindered by my inadequacies. 

Today, when I read the words about staying vulnerable I realized that I had “vulnerability burnout”…  I forgot to nurture my vulnerable parts and had to withdraw… guess what? That didn’t work and I have simply felt stuck for the last 4 months.

This is so clear to me now…. if you make a promise to yourself to be your most authentic you… you MUST make a commitment of EXTREME self-care and compassion.  This is the only way to protect your vulnerable heart if you want to wear it on your sleeve ❤not the critic

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