Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

August 2013

The Power of Being Vulnerable

Last week, I had a break-through that could change my life.

My therapist is one of the best listeners I’ve ever experienced; she pays attention with her heart. What I realized last week was that I was unable—or unwilling—to receive her love.

For the first forty minutes of our hour-long session, I shared several insights that I had discovered the week before concerning my feelings about intimacy. She took detailed notes as she listened intently. When I was finished, she asked several probing questions. Then our eyes met, and she was silent. One minute, perhaps two, passed. I panicked.

I felt vulnerable and I felt exposed. I had been sharing some of my deepest thoughts and feelings, but I had not been sharing them with her. My therapist had become no more than a receptacle for my words.

I often teach that there are three centers of intelligence: the head, heart, and gut.  When I am vulnerable(as I was with my therapist last week)I tend to use only one of these centers—the head—to communicate. While this strategy might help me feel safe, it does not create connection.I have to wonder if I’m using this strategy in the safety of my therapist’s office, how often do I use it out in the world? I suspect a good bit.

How different my experience would have been if I had communicated from my head, gut, and heart. Perhaps then I could have fully experienced what it feels to be seen, heard, and understood.I could have felt her love.

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