The fear of being vulnerable led me to constantly run away from new experiences

[Just a quick reflection that I would like to make]

For a long time, and I suppose even before I came along with joining the Thriving Now Circle, I have to say that I’ve always been so afraid of new experiences. And I do know that a lot of it comes from my past traumas, and insurmountable sufferings that I’ve endured when I was trapped in a dysfunctional family situation and a restrictive religious culture.

And so I suppose I ran my life constantly on the lookout avoiding terrible situations that make me feel so insecure, vulnerable and hurt. And I supposed that what I have realised is that yes, it has perhaps saved me from numerous mental suffering. However, it has also severely limited me in many learning opportunities and growth from mistakes.

But yes, I suppose at each moment of my life, I would need to honour what my system needs, if that means running away at the expense of growing. And vice versa can be true too, which means if sticking around in hopes of growing and learning hurts too much as it wrecks my system.

3 Things All Introverts Need To Stop Doing - YouTube After watching this short video, it did gave me some insights in the way I behave. I think that because of my fear of vulnerability, I have, as the video suggests, self justified myself in putting myself in a box of “wallowing in my unresolved suffering”. And though I was clear in the need to run away and protect myself, I realised that I wasn’t clear about what it means to stay, to hang around and run the risk of being vulnerable, being shared with disagreeable opinions and learning how to co-exist with them respectfully.

I realised that I have definitely put myself in the position of victimhood (though this is definitely a huge issue that takes time to work through). And validated my fears and use them as a form of superiority over others because of how strongly the emotions and memories were still strongly attached to the fears themselves. And I too also have started seeing myself as the “more emotionally intelligent” one and therefore have put a barrier around myself, concluding that most people actually don’t really understand me at all since they don’t have that set of intelligence.

And now, with more inner work in place, I would say that I do want to slowly break out of my self-validated echo chamber of sulks, and perhaps slowly unsee myself as this special victim that hurts terribly and painfully (though the pain is still all true!). But instead, I want to remember that I can take on new opportunities and challenges for greater healing only if I learn to take the risk of being vulnerable and enabling the triggers to happen as healing opportunities. And that includes being here too!

I need to learn to embrace the new and the uncertain and learn to willing to clean up mess when they inevitably do arises (rather than waiting to be completely healed to take the first step!)

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There is so much deep brilliance and insight into what you are descrbing Jun Rong!! And so much of it is exactly what I’ve been considering lately…and not for the first time.

It seems to me there is an inherent danger to too much self-examination…and that danger is that we remove ourselves from living in the world. And you’ve described it so eloquently. Thank you!! And, again, these are things I’ve been considering. And I can absolutely relate to your description of feeling “more emotionally intelligent” because of how deeply I’ve gone into my own wounds and suffering as if there’s some inherent ‘saintliness’ to doing this. There isn’t. And even if there is there is a great penalty to be paid if we spend too much time alone in that dark cave looking for some facet of enlightenment…we stop living in the greater world. I see the consequences of that clearly in my own life.

I recall my father telling me how his father said to him one day “You think about yourself too much” and my father telling me this because that was his feeling about my oldest brother. Which all these years later brings forth in me this question: Is my life a problem to be solved…or is my life to be lived regardless of how problematic that may be at times? There is, of course, a middle path I believe. Many years ago I threw myself into the culture of psychotherapy…I was a problem to be fixed! And yes, as you indicate, there seems to come with that by default a form of victimhood regardless of how ‘enlightened’ my thoughts and languaging around my ‘problem’ may be. Problems have causes…so there must be a cause(s) for my problems. And the usual suspects are easily found of course. But if “wallowing” in all that pulls us out of the stream of life (which is short!) then it does not serve us in the quest for Thriving and freedom. It’s just another prison.

I believe you have discovered where the gold is buried and I thank you for bringing it alive here. The things you have discussed are so fundamentally important to our freedom and our Thriving I think. Peace my friend… :slight_smile:

  • I just recalled recently how in a Tapping Circle this was very emotionally touched on by one of our members. He had recently been to a social gathering after so much time isolating himself during the pandemic…(as we all did). He described how emotionally rich and nourishing it had been to be around people again!! And he declared that he would never isolate himself again in that manner…that living and expressing that aliveness was paramount to his existence…it was a fundamental nutrient to his life and that he would rather risk illness and even death rather than pulling himself out of the stream of life in such a manner again. I understand and agree with that sentiment entirely. LET’S LIVE!!
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Thank you Glenn for the thoughtful response! :wink: You’ve elaborated on many points that do deeply resonate with my perspective too!

Likewise for myself, I can start to clearly see that occurring in my life too. Though I began validating my emotional sensitivities more and more, I was increasingly getting secretly arrogant and that clearly majority of the people wouldn’t understand my deeper thoughts and emotions. And yeah, though this may be true to many extent that people can’t quite think deeply as we do, I feel like there perhaps isn’t a need to immediately place a label of inferiority in who they are due to the lack of emotional intelligence. And this arrogance (though obviously a trauma-defence response to protect myself from perhaps feeling left out) has clearly played out in many facets of my life too, namely some of these examples:

  1. Struggling to show up and/or communicate in the Thriving Now Community because I’m afraid that I receive a disagreeable response from the people here, and how the defensiveness belief would kick in and turn into frustration and anger that people don’t understand my point of view. And apparently, that understanding is warply defined as a 100% agreeability to my stance.

  2. Being constantly aware of the red flags rather than the green ones. Because of people’s lack of emotional intelligence, the traits thus spill over to the recognition of incompatibility with almost everyone alive. Their lack of deepness, emotional maturity or recognition for psychological safety immediately turned me off in wanting to further communication with this said human being. An example is how I got quite turned off that my band was quite driven into wanting precision and synchronised effort whilst I wished that they learnt to let loose and have fun instead. And made me have thoughts of quitting because of this incompatibility.

And obviously as I live my life, I’m starting to get more awareness of this behaviour and realising how much green flags I’m failing to see from them. One thing that I experienced recently for myself was when I hung out with a friend that initially had red flags of emotional unsafety when I met her. But as I got to know her more, I began asking myself why I had decided to box her up so quickly when she had many other great traits that had her going (e.g. their childlike personality, overexcitement over the little things in life).

Problems do have causes! But they don’t seem to end unfortunately :frowning: . This is something I learnt back in church ironically as I’ve already left. There can reach a point of reasonable doubt in which we perhaps can thus be confident in taking that leap of faith. That means that we have worked on ourselves “enough” to finally say that “ok, I’m going to slowly enter the deep waters with all that I’ve worked on so far”. And this is perhaps where I “hope” I’m at (and the safe exit would definitely to still retreat as needed!).

I do agree, Glenn! But in introspection, prison or not, I wouldn’t say that I’ve wasted all my time back then wallowing in self-pity. I was perhaps the more comforting solution that I’ve took on and that was the only best thing that I could do without such an awareness now. I’d like to honour the trying aspects of the journey and how it has mold my views today!

That’s fantastic, Glenn! I do also, strive to put myself out there more and slowly work through the challenges of vulnerability as they come along!

One other thing that I do like to share is a show that I’ve been keeping on which is “The Office”. I think what’s most consistently insightful is Michael Scott who makes a lot of irrational and childish decisions in the way he runs his team. Putting him in real life, he’s probably considered a red-flag boss. However, what was really touching were always usually the last few scenes of an episode, where at times, he does weep, he does says things that were philosophical and profound, and he stand by his values deeply when challenged at a particular circumstances. I think that really does reflected the humaneness in a flawed human being like him, and all of us. No matter how unskilled, unwise or foolish people are, maybe that’s what makes them (and us) human in this messy place called Earth.

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