Why I Chose Vulnerability Over Pretending to be Strong
These days when I go out to meet friends and dear ones I feel a sense of satisfaction and joy, because now I am open about my Anxiety. Sounds strange? I have been mum about my mental health that has ruled most part of my life and it continues to hamper me while I learn to master it and not let it affect me. When I tell my dear ones about my anxiety I am simply being ‘me’. The genuine and authentic me who isn’t trying to put on a mask that depicts a brave face.
By putting on a mask I do not mean being disrespectful or manipulative. Society has instilled these principles in us that we are expected to be strong all the time and put up a brave face irrespective of how we feel within. Showing signs of weakness is unfortunately considered as being handicapped of sorts. So everyone pretends that their life is filled with sunshine even when they are going through a storm within.
I have done so too for many years, but not anymore.
Over the last year or two I chose to be my true self and accept my vulnerabilities and also share it with my friends. Now there are benefits of doing so which are slowly transforming my life:
a.I do not waste my energy in putting up a brave face. In trying to put on a brave face I become conscious of what I am saying and how I am behaving and hence I end up investing a lot of energy in trying to be someone I am not. When I am my true self, I do not have to worry about my behaviour and what I say because I am being genuine with myself and with others. Besides I don’t end up wasting energy on irrelevant thoughts.
b.Being genuine and authentic feels good. I have no shame in admitting that I am dealing with anxiety issues simply because I am. Mental illness should be seen and treated on the same lines as any physical illness.
Imagine all those people suffering alone just because the society perceives them as weak if they admit their mental issues. They put up a brave face whenever they go out and act as if everything is normal in their life. It takes a lot of toll on them not just to deal with anxiety or depression but also come out and act as if everything is normal.
c. The most important lesson I learnt after opening up about my anxiety is that there is immense scope for improvement. By improvement I mean building on my personality, my strengths, my passion and my skills.
Pretending that everything was going good in my life meant I got used to that feeling and did not find the need to improve myself or to exhibit certain positive traits or skills that were buried deep within me under layers of negative and destructive self-conditioning. But now that I have accepted my anxiety and my vulnerabilities, I have gone back to my roots of who I am and know where I stand. Now I see the need to improve myself in a way that would really help me progress and make me a better person in various aspects of life.
What I am learning right now is that our vulnerabilities, our fears and our insecurities teach us a lot. They give us a chance to build our character when we accept and face them. For over two decades I kept running away from my fears and that only made me a weak person who couldn’t face the challenges life was throwing at me.
Now I am learning to build the foundation for my growth. A foundation that starts with accepting my insecurities and fears. A foundation that would give me belief to face challenges in life going forward.