Well-Being//

Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared of Being Vulnerable

The longest journey you will make is the eighteen inches between your head and heart.

nelen / Shutterstock
nelen / Shutterstock

Excessive working seems to cocoon you and keep you safe, but it also disconnects you from people. Making yourself vulnerable requires sticking your neck out and taking emotional risks: sharing your honest feelings, speaking your truth, and apologizing when you’ve done wrong.

The longest journey you will make is the eighteen inches between your head and heart. It’s risky opening up on the inside — pulling back the curtain and allowing a friend, family member, or coworker to see your heart. But the healing that heartspeak gives you can be worth the risk.

Forego Gobble, Gulp, and Go

Did you know that the average American spends only eleven minutes eating lunch at a fast-food restaurant? What about you? Are you a mindless eater, someone who grabs a pastry and gobbles it down with gulps of coffee as you rush out the door?

A well-nourished body has a stronger stress-resistance shield and fosters sustainability in the workplace. Whatever you put into your mouth and your frame of mind when you eat influence the quality of what comes out of your brain. It’s time to balance your busy schedule and treat eating as a singular activity to enjoy for its own sake, just as you would an important work project.

Express Gratitude

The problem with constant wanting is that desire expands, and wanting increases discontentment. It fuels your work addiction so you can obtain things that help you feel better inside. Perhaps you overspend, overindulge, and overdo, but sooner or later there will be something you want but can’t have, no matter how hard you work.

You can change this pattern with a more reliable approach to contentment: to feel grateful for what you already possess. Start by making a list of the many things that make life worth living, and visualize things you have taken for granted that, if you didn’t have them, would leave your life empty and unfulfilling.

Stop Dumpster-Diving

Chances are you’re so comfortable with castigating yourself for your shortcomings that it wouldn’t even occur to you that a more positive, self-compassionate approach might make you a more effective worker. So you clobber yourself with criticism out of fear of becoming a slacker.

Dumpster-diving for faults only sabotages your success. While it’s important to recognize your limitations and failures, it’s also essential to appreciate your successes, be proud of your strengths, and treat yourself with courtesy and consideration.

Let the Ghost Go

Self-doubt is a cruel ghost that can haunt you day and night. It stalks you when you have a big day on the job and lurks over your shoulder when you’re presenting a huge project or trying to mend an important relationship. 

A measure of doubt is a good thing to have. It’s a form of checks and balances helping you get to the truth. It pushes you to question your goals rather than naïvely move forward with blinders on. In the extreme, however, self-doubt can be debilitating, especially if you believe that criticism helps you achieve goals.

The best approach is to treat yourself as you would a loved one. During high-pressure workdays, mentoring yourself with pep talks and kind words spares you a lot of stress, calms you down, and carries you through the ups and downs. You can acknowledge uncertain thoughts — not to second-guess but to mindfully use them to benefit your daily balance.

Excerpt from #Chill: Turn Off Your Job and Turn On Your Life with permission from the author and publisher.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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