Sounds like truth and feels like courage.

I think about vulnerability a lot. The word floats in and out of my brain like an unresolved melody. Why do people struggle with it so much? Why do I struggle with it so much? What does it even mean? How do we define it?

First off, society proposes that being superhuman, bulletproof, and tough are what we strive for. I’ve always felt that way myself. And I have developed a certain resiliency to which I attach a certain pride. And I always sort of perceived vulnerability as a weakness, as something to put a wall around and to protect. This is not necessarily a healthy mentality.

I was just reading from the book “Daring Greatly” by Brené Brown…it’s a fantastic book that explores vulnerability and its vital importance to well-being. She says,

Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.

and quoted from Theodore Roosevelt’s famous speech in April of 1910 in France:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again…who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly…

Brené says vulnerability “sounds like truth and feels like courage” – and those things are not weaknesses. In her book, she explores these questions:

  • What drives our fear of being vulnerable? (I can answer that one for myself)
  • How are we protecting ourselves from vulnerability? (pretty sure I know the answer to this, too)
  • What price are we paying when we shut down and disengage?
  • How do we own and engage with vulnerability so we can start transforming the way we live, love, parent, and lead?

I ‘bolded’ that one up there because it’s one that I am focusing on for myself.

This is a current topic I am swishing around in my mind.
Hmm, that sounds like mouthwash. Well maybe it is…mouthwash for my brain. lol. I’d like to clean some of the bacteria out of there, you know, the stuff that’s not helping.

Vulnerability

I’ll probably think about this for awhile and blog more later…

7 Reasons Most People are Afraid of Love

7 Reasons Most People Are Afraid of Love –  reposted article by Lisa Firestone

Note from Katie: I saw this article today and it seemed relevant. Several of these points I could definitely relate to. I’m sure many of you can as well.

What keeps us from finding and keeping the love we say we want?

The story of lost love is one most of us can tell, and the question, “Why do relationships fail?” lingers heavily in the back of our minds. The answer for many of us can be found within. Whether we know it or not, most of us are afraid of really being in love. While our fears may manifest themselves in different ways or show themselves at different stages of a relationship, we all harbor defenses that we believe on some level will protect us from getting hurt. These defenses may offer us a false illusion of safety or security, but they keep us from attaining the closeness we most desire. So what drives our fears of intimacy? What keeps us from finding and keeping the love we say we want?

1. Real love makes us feel vulnerable. 

A new relationship is uncharted territory, and most of us have natural fears of the unknown. Letting ourselves fall in love means taking a real risk. We are placing a great amount of trust in another person, allowing them to affect us, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. Our core defenses are challenged. Any habits we’ve long had that allow us to feel self-focused or self-contained start to fall by the wayside. We tend to believe that the more we care, the more we can get hurt.

When we enter into a relationship, we are rarely fully aware of how we’ve been impacted by our history. The ways we were hurt in previous relationships, starting from our childhood, have a strong influence on how we perceive the people we get close to as well as how we act in our romantic relationships. Old, negative dynamics may make us wary of opening ourselves up to someone new. We may steer away from intimacy, because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger or rejection. As Dr. Pat Love said in an interview with PsychAlive, “when you long for something, like love, it becomes associated with pain,” the pain you felt at not having it in the past.

3. Love challenges an old identity

Many of us struggle with underlying feelings of being unlovable. We have trouble feeling our own value and believing anyone could really care for us. We all have a “critical inner voice,” which acts like a cruel coach inside our heads that tells us we are worthless or undeserving of happiness. This coach is shaped from painful childhood experiences and critical attitudes we were exposed to early in life as well as feelings our parents had about themselves.

While these attitudes can be hurtful, over time, they have become engrained in us. As adults, we may fail to see them as an enemy, instead accepting their destructive point of view as our own. These critical thoughts or “inner voices” are often harmful and unpleasant, but they’re also comfortable in their familiarity. When another person sees us differently from our voices, loving and appreciating us, we may actually start to feel uncomfortable and defensive, as it challenges these long-held points of identification.

4. With real joy comes real pain. 

Any time we fully experience true joy or feel the preciousness of life on an emotional level, we can expect to feel a great amount of sadness. Many of us shy away from the things that would make us happiest, because they also make us feel pain. The opposite is also true. We cannot selectively numb ourselves to sadness without numbing ourselves to joy. When it comes to falling in love, we may be hesitant to go “all in,” for fear of the sadness it would stir up in us.

5. Love is often unequal.

Many people I’ve talked to have expressed hesitation over getting involved with someone, because that person “likes them too much.” They worry that if they got involved with this person, their own feelings wouldn’t evolve, and the other person would wind up getting hurt or feeling rejected. The truth is that love is often imbalanced, with one person feeling more or less from moment to moment. Our feelings toward someone are an ever-changing force. In a matter of seconds, we can feel anger, irritation or even hate for a person we love. Worrying over how we will feel keeps us from seeing where our feelings would naturally go. It’s better to be open to how our feelings develop over time. Allowing worry or guilt over how we may or may not feel keeps us from getting to know someone who is expressing interest in us and may prevent us from forming a relationship that could really make us happy.

6. Relationships can break your connection to your family.

Relationships can be the ultimate symbol of growing up. They represent starting our own lives as independent, autonomous individuals. This development can also represent a parting from our family. Much like breaking from an old identity, this separation isn’t physical. It doesn’t mean literally giving up our family, but rather letting go on an emotional level – no longer feeling like a kid and differentiating from the more negative dynamics that plagued our early relationships and shaped our identity.

7. Love stirs up existential fears.

The more we have, the more we have to lose. The more someone means to us, the more afraid we are of losing that person. When we fall in love, we not only face the fear of losing our partner, but we become more aware of our mortality. Our life now holds more value and meaning, so the thought of losing it becomes more frightening. In an attempt to cover over this fear, we may focus on more superficial concerns, pick fights with our partner or, in extreme cases, completely give up the relationship. We are rarely fully aware of how we defend against these existential fears. We may even try to rationalize to ourselves a million reasons we shouldn’t be in the relationship. However, the reasons we give may have workable solutions, and what’s really driving us are those deeper fears of loss.

Most relationships bring up an onslaught of challenges. Getting to know our fears of intimacy and how they inform our behavior is an important step to having a fulfilling, long-term relationship. These fears can be masked by various justifications for why things aren’t working out—but we may be surprised to learn about all of the ways that we self-sabotage when we get close to someone else. By getting to know ourselves, we give ourselves the best chance of finding and maintaining lasting love.

Things I have learned (and re-learned) in the past week

Utah has fantastic sunsets.

My fan club will be there when I need it.

Big change will be weird and difficult for a period of time, it’s uncomfortable, and it’ll give you some hellishly freaky dreams, but that’s ok.

Wounds from random parts of life can be healed when you least expect it.

Forgiveness is a welcome and beautiful thing. I feel like there was forgiveness going all different ways, between multiple people this past week. It’s reassuring.

Other thoughts on dating:

One of my single parent friends says that she won’t date anyone who has never been married, or who doesn’t have kids. Which surprised me, and was a foreign concept at the time. At that point, I had never dated anyone with kids even though I have two myself. Actually, come to think of it…I still haven’t.

But I’m starting to understand why. As a single parent, I have discovered that I have little to no patience when it comes to dating and waiting to see if it’s ok with a guy that I have kids. Which has happened on several occasions. If I date someone who has been married or who has kids, we can automatically relate on those two levels and it’s a less scary topic. I see how that can be a protection for both people involved. I am 34. Life marches on, and I don’t have the emotional energy to wait for someone to be ok with it. What can I do when someone struggles? Nothing. It’s a big thing I can’t really help with. Someday I’ll meet the guy who is already ready and who will take me as the whole awesome package.

I’m guessing us moms see things in more black and white…gimme feedback if you single moms agree 😉

I love being a mom. It’s a special part of my identity, and a part of who I am. Although my kiddos need me just as much, they are older now, don’t wake up a million times a night, and require less immediate hands-on direction than infants or toddlers. Which frees up a lot of my mental space to think about these things and to wonder. Haha…

Several years ago.
Several years ago. ❤

It’s nice and warm down in the dirt…think I’ll take a nap

Ever feel like you have dug yourself a hole (with words), but you can’t stop talking and you just keep digging that hole deeper and deeper? To the point where you can’t remember why you started digging it to begin with? Then you get all turned around and don’t know how to get out?

I think humans (and by humans, I mean me…) are really good at confusing themselves when strong emotions are involved. The more confused we are, the less likely we are to have to reach a conclusion. This subconscious tactic seems to be most often used when either possible conclusion is scary.

Clarity can be elusive. Life can be scary.  I don’t like that. Every time I think I’ve kicked fear in the teeth, it resurfaces with a new face. And sometimes I feel like people draw me out of the hole just to wound me. Thus, the nice warm, safe hole in the ground.

So my conclusion is…I don’t have one. And that’s how it is sometimes. I’ma just stay in this hole until there’s a good reason to come out. Ha.

…and yes I’m aware this is not the first time I’ve blogged about hiding in holes. So what. Maybe I like the dirt:

:https://thisiskatied.wordpress.com/2014/03/24/a-hole-is-to-dig/

Where in the world is Katie??

If you had asked me 5 years ago, I never thought I’d end up here in Utah. But suddenly here I am.

There are less trees, less rain, less green…but more nearby mountains and more uninterrupted horizons. And more siblings 😉 It’s really beautiful here. The small town I live in actually reminds me of where I lived in Oregon. Family oriented, a bit artsy, farm lands surrounding…I feel very comfortable.

More photos and info to come later!

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View from my front door. Isn’t it pr’ee?
Can you spot Echo?
Through my window screen, looking into the backyard. Can you spot Echo?
Nestled all snug and cozy against the mountains…