In my Signature Series we’ve been talking about vulnerability and what happens when we let go of perfectionism and show the world more of who we truly are. I feel like this is an incredibly important topic because, for the most part, we women tend to hide our true selves. We worry people won’t like us or that the world will think less of us if they see our imperfections. We worry we will let others down or won’t thrive if our true colors show.
There are two things I have learned about being vulnerable that have changed my life. First, I learned that when we open up and share our stories, we also open ourselves up to heal. For example I recently shared a very personal story about my son (you can go here if you missed it). Many women came up to me later and thanked me because they too have a son with a similar temperament. Hearing their stories made me realize I was far from being alone, and honestly it helped me heal and feel more normal. At the same time, by opening up and sharing my story with them, they were able to relate and see that they weren’t alone either. So it brought us together. The healing power of sharing in this way is magical.
The second thing I learned was that being vulnerable is the key to us uncovering our authentic selves. When we open up and start to own the parts of ourselves that we might be ashamed of, it’s incredibly liberating because there is nothing more to hide. And when we show ourselves, it gives others permission to be their whole selves too.
This week the “practice” or homework for the women in my Signature Series was to write down 10 vulnerable things about themselves that they might be hiding from the world. We talked about how these 10 things could be potentially healing if they opened up and shared them with others. In the spirit of supporting the group and showing up as my true self, I made my own list and am sharing it with you. I’ve been nervous about publishing it, but my hope is that you can relate and see that you are not alone, and perhaps help you to find the courage to open up too. Here goes.
10 Things I Probably Shouldn’t Tell You about Myself
- I wear mismatched socks. I know this may seem fairly surface-level, but sharing this one is big for me because it reveals that I am not perfectly put together. My days are incredibly full and finding two matching socks is one of the things that doesn’t often get done. The funny thing is that now my daughter wears mismatched socks too. She thinks that as long as they are the same size and thickness, that’s fine. She thinks it’s just the way socks go. 🙂
- I am scared a lot of the time. Owning and running a business like Bloom Retreat can be terrifying. Even after almost 4 years, I often wake up in the middle of the night wondering what the hell I have done. The enormity of it shakes me. The risk worries me. The potential to fail sometimes paralyzes me. And the pressure to continue doing work with integrity and making hundreds of women happy is scary as hell. But my soul loves it and in fact craves more, and I know that it makes me stronger every day. So I carry on. I follow the bigger picture and practice putting my fear aside over and over again.
- I like to say Fuck. Not in a dirty way, not in a mean way, never at anyone, but in a way that gives strength to what I am saying. It feels good to let that rawness out.
- I practice yoga only 2-3 times a week (if I’m lucky). This is a dirty little secret that I worry about sharing with you, because there seems to be a perception of me as a perfect yoga teacher – someone who does yoga every day, eats perfectly healthy meals, and never says a bad word. The truth is, I am mom, a wife, a business owner, a home owner, I have two cats, and my life is very full. I have found that a regular practice of 2-3 times a week fuels me, but sometimes I don’t even get that. Sometimes it’s just 20 minutes after I drop the kids off, before I head into work. Sometimes it’s just deep breathing in the car at a red light. The consistency keeps me going, but the days are long gone where yoga was an everyday luxury.
- I have piles of laundry in my house. This goes a long with the mismatched socks. I can’t get control of my laundry. There are always piles on the bed and on the floor, and I don’t have time for it. With a full life, something has to give, and for me it’s the laundry.
- I am very self-conscious of my belly. Again, as a yoga teacher and a business owner, I feel the pressure to have a fit and firm body. Before kids I had a flat belly, but since then my tummy has changed and is now soft and curvy. My husband loves it, but it isn’t so easy for me. Every day I practice loving my belly and accepting that as I grow older and my life changes, my body changes with me.
- In college, I punched my 6’3″ boyfriend and gave him a black eye. I caught him cheating on me, and my inner badass came out and punched him so hard he dropped to the floor. This wasn’t a proud moment. I learned that day that I never want to punch anyone again, but there was something completely liberating about knowing and witnessing my own power. 😉
- I have an inner critic that compares me to really successful women in my field and tells me I’m not good enough, and that I’ll never get where I want to go. I see famous women yogis on Instagram and Facebook and I sometimes feel small. I have big dreams for Bloom. I want to serve many more women and bring the message and the magic of what we have cultivated way beyond these walls. Quieting my inner critic and listening to my larger, wiser self is something I practice all the time.
- I worry I’m not a good enough mom. My mom was the kind of woman who stayed home and loved doing all the typical mom things like being president of the swim team and the PTA. She was deeply involved in every one of my activities, she threw amazing birthday parties, and spoiled us like nothing else. I’m not like her in this way. I love my kids and love being a mom, but I also love my work (a lot). I often feel guilty, like I’m not giving my kids enough and I’m missing that super-mom gene. And I worry other women will judge me for this.
- I am extremely introverted and shy. Sometimes painfully so. Putting myself out there in social situations can be really hard for me. It’s interesting because I love leading classes and teaching, but social gatherings or parties where I don’t know anyone can feel excruciating. So I tend to avoid them. But I worry this holds me back from success in my life and career.
Wow! That was a lot. One last thing: I’m worried about how you will receive this, but I’m sending it anyway in the hope that in some magical way, my own vulnerability will allow you to find strength and permission to share your imperfections with the world, and that in doing so you find healing. The work at Bloom is all about guiding us women back to ourselves so that we can remember who we truly are and live unapologetically.
Cheers to us.
Michelle Long (Bloom Founder)