• Emily Formea

Do I Feel Weird Being Vulnerable?


A very good friend of mine asked me recently, “Do you feel weird being so vulnerable online or on your blog?” And my first reaction was, “I really don’t think I am…”


Weird, right? I really don’t think I’m THAT crazy vulnerable online. I don’t think that I’m like pouring my soul out on the page or that I’m sharing like insanely private and life-changing information about myself… but then again, I don’t think that struggling should be seen as something we hide. I don’t believe in fighting your battle alone or putting up walls to pretend to be this tough, amazingly perfect version of a person that you’re not, that none of us are.


Social media has definitely trained us to be pretty, basic, casual, and SUPER cool. I see thousands and thousands of posts about coffee, dogs, flowers, and boyfriends. And some of them are mine ;) I’m not saying this is bad at all! Online has become more of an aesthetic battleground rather than being utilized as an online business platform or a place to share transformative messages, information, thoughts or ideas. And I LOVE both! I love seeing people’s Homecoming photos, brunch dates, and beach selfies! However, I also wish, hope, and want more vulnerability. I think being vulnerable is one of life’s greatest blessings.


Why?


Because only you can be vulnerable with what you are experiencing. Only you can be vulnerable with your own story. You’re the only one feeling and learning what you’re facing. You’re the only one that has your own specific path, journey, story, and struggles.


HOW POWERFUL!

We fear vulnerability because we fear being singled out. I just wrote a blog post the other day about how we want to be cool, how I want to be cool, how we want to be included, we want to blend, mimic, and copy others because being like others means we feel accepted and nothing is more valuable and sought after than acceptance, right? Wrong.


Being accepted could be a bad thing. It could mean that you helped your friend group rob a bank and they loved that you helped them out. How nice to be accepted;) Vulnerability, in my humble opinion, cannot be a bad thing. Because if people don’t like it then they don’t like you. And I for one, would rather have people like me for the person I truly was than for the person they thought I seemed to be.


I’m ‘vulnerable’ online because being vulnerable has helped me heal. When I pretended to not be sick, when I pretended to not be sad, or anxious, lost, or confused, it did me absolutely no good. In fact, it did no one any good! My struggles got worse, so did my friendships and family relations. I struggled in my job, school, commitments, etc. I made myself more miserable pretending I was fine.


What a weird thing… admitting I was not alright made me better.

Pretending I was alright made me worse.


I’m ‘vulnerable’ online because I hope it helps other people. I hope it showcases that life is messy, people are complicated, and no one is alone. I hope it helps people realize that hardships bring sunshine and that people who you may never have guessed had hidden battle scars have faced some pretty tough times.


I’m actually not ‘vulnerable’ online at all… I’m just actually myself.

That’s the bottom line: talking about being anxious or how I feel down, talking about my eating disorder or feeling lost in my career path… that’s not being vulnerable, that’s being authentic.


We see admitting that we’re unhappy or not feeling well online as this crazy, incredible feat when in reality we should all feel comfortable enough to do that ALWAYS! Our social media profiles are supposed to showcase the person we are right here and now, not the person we like to pretend to be. And I’ll be honest, I hide stuff from my profile all the time! And that’s something I really want to work on! I want to become more authentic. I want to become more honest. Because the more I share, the more love, incredible blessings, life lessons, and growth it has brought me.


I’m not vulnerable online, I’m authentic and I want to share some ways that you can become more confident in yourself, in your own struggles, in your own success online and in person because I think the Internet has enough latte photos *she says as she just posted one;) * but truly I also want to challenge myself to take my own profile, posts, blogs, and collaborations to the next level because it means the world to me to be me and I want you to be you, no matter how ‘vulnerable’ it may seem to others, I just want you to be confident in being authentically yourself both in person and online.

How to feel comfortable being vulnerable authentic online:


Own it yourself first


I think a huge life lesson in my young 20 years time spent on this Earth, was realizing that I needed to talk to myself. It was when I learned that I needed to have a solid relationship with myself. It was when I realized that I was stuck in this body, mind, soul, and spirit for good, which left me with two options: hate the journey or enjoy the ride. I had to realize that yes, I had an eating disorder. Did it suck? HELL YES! Could I just peace out and leave this body behind? Not exactly.


Whatever you struggle with now and whatever you will struggle with in the future, is your own battle. The world only gives the toughest battles to their strongest warriors. I had to accept the compliment. I had to realize that I was given this battle because I could beat it. And that, helped me beat. It helped me when I realized that pretending things in my life or things about myself that I didn’t like just didn’t exist did NOTHING for anyone. Pretending I was fine, pretending I was happy, pretending I was perfect made me very very, not fine, happy, and no one is perfect.


You need to own whatever causes you pain. That’s how you control it and control is when you grow, learn, and recover. I was out of control when I struggled with anorexia. I was out of control because how can you control something that you ‘don’t have’ or ‘don’t want to have?’ Once I owned it, once I harnessed it, I could get a grip on it. Was it easy from then on? Nope. But, it was the first step. You can’t fight something that ‘isn’t there.’ You can’t change something or share something with others that you refuse to admit to yourself. The first step in being authentic and being comfortable with being vulnerable is just admitting that you have something to be vulnerable about in the first place. It’s caring enough about yourself to support yourself during the rainbows AND the storms. It’s realizing that every single person under the Sun has some sort of struggle and you’re not alone.

In fact, I was way more alone when I pretended to be perfect because that little clique I was trying to desperately to join, never existed in the first place.


Do it more often


The more I shared, the more I healed. The more I shared how I was TRULY feeling and doing, the more I realized that I was able to be myself and being myself rocked! The more you practice what you preach and the more you act like yourself, the more you accept the ray of light you are and the more comfortable you become in shining it.

Sounds so cheesy, right? It’s sort of supposed to be;) I learned that it felt AMAZING to be me! It felt 1000% times better to be a girl who was battling an eating disorder with the help of her friends, the support of her family, and the love she finally possessed for herself than the girl who cried alone at night, was in constant pain, fear, confusion, and anxiety, and had absolutely no outlook for the future because she was too sick in the present.


It was way better to be broken than to be fake.


The more you share with others, the more they will share with you. I cannot tell you how many times I shared my battle with anorexia at an event, a small circle of friends, blog post, or casual conversation on the street where the other person had a similar experience to mine. The other person was looking for support, a friend, a fellow companion who understood. The other person felt alone. The other person was relieved to chat about something that had to ‘be so secretive.’ The other person wanted to be authentic, but just needed someone else who also wanted to wear their heart on their sleeve.


And I always felt the same way.


I always felt so relieved, uplifted, supported, and valued when I would have these conversations. I loved that I could be that person for them. I loved that they could be that person for me. And from these experiences, I began to change. I began to get stronger, more confident, more secure in the person I was. Had I not been vulnerable, had I not been authentic, had I said, “My life is amazing and I have no hard time,” where would that conversation had gone? Would the other person had put their mask on, as well? Would we have chatted about the weather, flowers, sports games, and parted ways? What an absolute shame that would have been because it would have landed us both home alone, feeling scared and shaken, facing the war solely within a half hour of our meaningless conversation.


Take off the mask around others


Your vibe attracts your tribe, so make your vibe a good one!


What you put out into the Universe is the exact response that you will feel and experience in return. If you allow yourself to be authentic, if you allow yourself to be ‘vulnerable’ online and especially in person, you will find yourself being cherished by people who love the real you. You will have friends who are more understanding, your family will be able to properly support you in your darkest times, you will have shoulders to cry on, people to lean on, and you will no longer live in fear of the person you are.


The moment I was myself, I began to attract people into my life that I needed most. This is similar to pretending you have no battle to fight. If you pretend to love certain hobbies or live a perfect, pristine lifestyle, you will attract people who wear masks the same. If you refuse to admit that you may feel anxious or sad today, you cannot find people who will love you when you need it most.


You no longer live in fear of rejection because the people in your life don’t expect you to wake up every single day with a smile on your face. You don’t have to pretend to be a certain person or way or attitude or life. You can be yourself. That is such a relief! And doing this, by being yourself, by being honest with yourself and those around you, you will find the most beautiful people who want to support you through your battles because they know they are actually happening and because they have seen, met, and fallen in love with you and not the person you pretend to be.


Realize that other’s opinions about you are their own opinions about themselves


Now, my final tip is tricky, but hear me out.


Just don’t care.


When I started my blog or when I started posting on my social media about self-love, growth, positivity, struggles, etc. I am SURE that some people unfollowed me. I’m sure that people I had grown up with or people who were tired of reading my posts left my page. I’m sure people I know have never once read my blog or have been very annoyed by my sometimes very long Instagram stories… and that’s okay! Once again, you don’t want people in your life that do not LOVE you! Being authentic online is the best because it has brought people into my life who love me! You don’t want or need people who would be ‘annoyed’ when you felt anxious or who felt eating disorders were made up in someone’s mind.


  • So, why in the world would I hold myself back for these people that do not serve me?

  • Why would I feel insecure for being myself to try to please people that I don’t need in my life?

  • Why would I fear what other people thought of me if I was simply being my true self?


I was more fearful of what people thought about me when I was fake. I was way more concerned about how people viewed my life, profile, number of followers, likes, etc. when I was being someone that I wasn’t. Now, I find myself feeling free. I find myself feeling healed. I grow and learn more about myself and others every single day. I have had so many inspiring conversations with people on my page. I have received praises for my blog. I feel that I have helped myself and helped others for being ‘vulnerable’ online.


And what a gift.


What an incredible gift to make a difference, to better myself, and to hopefully help others do the same for something so simple: just being myself.


Just be yourself. No one else can do that. No one else can share that.


I’m not vulnerable online, I’m authentic. And I want to work to be even more so because the more authentic I am; the less I feel I am wasting such a precious gift: myself. Yourself.


Sincerely,

Emily

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