Written by Laila Ghattas 08/13
Many years ago I experienced the cascade of gifts that follow a shift in personal paradigm that began with a conscious act of allowing myself to be vulnerable.
For years the impression I unknowingly left people with was that I was only ever confident and together. When I shared the fact that I was actually insecure about many things, and required reassurance about stuff I did or said, I was met with disbelief and dismissal of being silly.
My outside was not reflecting my inside truth.
One of the first steps to correcting that misalignment came after discovering that my face was a mask to observers. Impenetrable.
Even though I believed the feelings that ran rampant inside me were SURELY known to everyone, nobody had a clue. To my disbelief I found out people didn’t know when I was sad, scared, discouraged, heartbroken.
You see I had unintentionally adopted the mode my mom maintained. Stoicism. I learned from the best how to stay tough and strong.
But what dawned on me gradually as I let people into my heart centre was that my strength revealed itself in my courage and willingness to be vulnerable.
I was strongest when I was softest with those I loved.
The most poignant and first memory of this journey was when my father came to my house- honestly I don’t remember how it was that he came over- when I was suffering from a broken heart.
He had told me as a teenager that I would never die from a broken heart, and perhaps I found a way to have him close to me at that time based on hoping it was true. This one really hurt.
We sat side by side and without giving him too many details, he simply held me close as I wept. I let him see me cry out my pain and disappointment, discouragement, rejection.
I let my father see me. I let him comfort me. Little did I know that I had given him an invaluable gift. TO BE NEEDED by his independent daughter.
Seeking him out and showing my emotional state was MY gift to him as I was receiving his gift of love and support, while he so wisely asked nothing, didn't try to fix anything, no details required, just held me in my despair. I’m moved simply remembering this now.
From that time on, I started to not hold in the upset or tears or truth as I spoke on the phone with friends, didn’t quickly end a call or a visit because my emotions were rising and I needed( in self protection) to release it in private.
I risked being judged. I let my friends in, and let them see me. I was vulnerable and I survived!
I was seen in my defenseless soft state, and experienced the paradox of the mystery of a strength growing, a power I did not know I had.
I know now for sure that I am strongest when I am allowing a loved one into my intimate emotional life. I am gifting both of us when I let down my wall. I am known better and more deeply.
My needs can be better fulfilled because I’m not surprising anyone in my state of need. I just am. Me. AS IS. Sometime bleary eyed and snotty with bad hair.
I know for sure that I am both really strong and really soft.
Intimacy, vulnerability, connection, love, trust. Building blocks to a life worth living.
Try it! Eventually you'll like it.
If you’d like to nurture
your capacity for emotional intimacy, strengthen your vulnerability muscle,
if you’d like to learn how to let others really see you, please
have a look at our upcoming programs for Women,
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Laila Ghattas is an artist, Gestalt therapist and Reiki practitioner.
She is an author, public speaker, group facilitator and the founder of Aziza Healing Adventures.
Laila expertly and uniquely combines creative self-expression with psychotherapy in programs designed to:
Laila draws on her worldwide outdoor adventure experience to facilitate international healing retreats for women, couples, mixed groups and corporations.
She is available on retreats for individual therapy and Reiki sessions
Laila has a private practice in Toronto where she offers hourly personal growth sessions and private personal growth workshops for individuals and couples.