Life is an accumulation of experiences which have the potential of teaching us a great deal if we are up for it. 2021 was a year in which I’ve initiated an important shift, among other things, one of the concepts I was clear on, suddenly turned into something completely different. Strength was redefined for me, and I hope it’ll be of service to share my findings.
Emotional bypasses were my jam, and vulnerability equaled weakness to me. I was the tough one, who was pushing people out of their sorrow, and because I was never letting a tear fall, I felt strong. I have said, countless times to my mom: “no way, you’re crying again?” while rolling my eyes. I could simply not stand it. I was so afraid of emotions, they were like a foreign country to me, and my passport would never get that stamp.
The shift began last year when a threatening diagnosis was pronounced on my mother’s life. This news shook my world down to its roots, I had never experienced such a confusing, derailing, bundle of energy in motion. I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by amazing people, but one person in particular, my friend Vanessa, offered me what I believe to be one of the most valuable gifts of my life.
While engaging in our weekly chat, she sensed that a heavy wave of emotions was moving inside of me. She gave me the opportunity to step out of the narrative and tip a toe into what I was really feeling with her. I felt up against the wall, I mustered all the courage I could find, and I decided to let it out. I felt like a failure, sobbing in front of another human. Displaying my vulnerability was nothing like me, but man, it had to come out.
That event profoundly shifted something in me, because one person gave me the permission, the space, the safety, to be me; one person guided me through what seemed unbearably scary. Gearing up, and deep diving into the darkness took so much effort, and this experience has allowed me to really understand a whole new level of strength, that all along, existed inside of me.
A year and a half later, I am proud to say that my vulnerability and willingness to explore and express my emotions has become something I am truly proud of. This new skill allows me to stay true to myself, to restore balance in my life, and to build deeper social connections. But above all, it makes me capable of accompanying people through their own shift and even to build a career upon it.
Life is change, and change can be scary. Doing the scary thing is demanding, but once you sit in it, and manage to move past it, you will discover a new, upgraded, version of yourself.
With love and transparency,
Coach Ashley xx