Mindfulness Mondays 3/16: To Love is to be Vulnerable (at least a little bit)

I’m going to share with you a bit of my day and the raw emotions that were part of it. It’s not entirely full of roses, but it’s human, so it’s real.

Today was harder than usual.

It wasn’t the kind of hard that is prominent and right in your face. It wasn’t loud, and it wasn’t somber. It was a class of it’s own. I didn’t realize how hard it actually was until my boyfriend came home.

All day I had been doing whatever I could to check in with my emotions and try to remediate them…yoga, healthy snacks, an afternoon walk, and even trying to get my work on my to-do list done. (Yes I know that may not sound so joyous to some) I’m going to tell you the truth here. Today was the first day in a while where it felt like I really needed to lean on someone, particularly him.

Today was the official start of my “spring break” and to a graduate student I suppose that doesn’t mean what it would to a stereotypical undergraduate. How did I spend today? Sucked into the couch heavily searching the internet for summer jobs and internships. I only awoke from the trance after three hours of searching to realize I hadn’t drank water or stood up! This was a trigger for me because I not only allowed myself to partake in mindless activity, but I didn’t have anything fruitful to show for all of my work- as in I really didn’t come out with many leads. I was disappointed and by that point hadn’t realized my burnout.

By the time my boyfriend got home and I began laying out what had happened today, I was spiraling. My emotions came to a head, and I began to weep in the comfort of his arms. It was if it was “Okay” to be exposed. He listened and let me have my moment, and proceeded to comfort me afterward. Then he sprung on me the option of spontaneity! He suggested we go out to eat and have it feel like a regular vacation, rather than a work overload day. We went out to eat and I ate things I normally would not, mostly of the fried kind.

I bet you’re like “How is this mindful at all?” You see, I waited to write today because I knew I wasn’t quite myself. All day I was trying so hard to be “My Best Self” and be as productive as possible. Again though, I was running from my true desires and feelings. I really just wanted to give myself a break but since I knew I would be traveling with friends to Niagara Falls later this week (YAY!) I tried to work and get ahead of the game. I’m not advocating here for breaking your rules or motifs, or “letting go” of your goals. I’m not giving reason to be a slacker and give up on any future initiative to work hard. I’m simply living in the moment with how I’m feeling, and allowing myself to be, with mistakes or “mistakes” and all.

Living mindfully does not mean living perfectly. That’s a constant struggle I have within myself. I tell myself that since I have the conscience to recognize my thoughts and choose how I want to react, that I have to always make the best choice. But that’s not true! Being mindful is simply just being able to allow yourself to recognize and then acknowledge your thoughts at all, and furthermore being active in choosing how to respond to those thoughts. Tonight I engaged in indulgence. Earlier today I engaged in yoga. It’s all in moderation and knowing yourself well enough on how to moderate (or be vulnerable enough to explore in moderation) is key.

Today during yoga, I cried. I didn’t know why I cried and it scared me. I knew at that moment there were some deeper things I needed to check in with, and that furthermore scared me since I’d been able to get through my work and responsibilities without as much emotional effort for the last few weeks. But I tried to run from what I was afraid of. I knew all day I just needed a hug and someone to let me feel safe in my emotions, someone that would let me cry or be whatever I wanted to be at that moment. All day I had been trying to maintain the strong version of myself just to simply show myself  I could do it… but then I unraveled. This is why I like mindfulness- because I have this space to reflect on my progress over time and my learning moments! And so my takeaway here is that I allowed myself to be vulnerable to someone I love deeply, and who I know loves me back just the same. I felt safe enough to unravel to my partner who also is my best friend. I allowed myself to not “be perfect”, but “be human”- I allowed myself to be vulnerable and accept the compassion and healing of someone else.

I think now about how fortunate I am to have him in my life. I think about those that suffer with mental health issues that don’t feel like they have anyone to share their feelings with or being truly vulnerable. I am extremely lucky to have many people in my life whom I feel safe to be open with and share my vulnerabilities, and I only hope that people feel the same towards me.  I’m going to challenge myself to check-in more with my emotions this week, and also allow myself to really say what I’m feeling in the moment (this means pushing myself to not shy away from asking people what I need from them). I want to challenge you to do the same, and also take time out to remind yourself who you’re thankful for. Let’s all be mindful and acknowledge who is there for us when we really need them to be (even when we think we don’t need anyone).

Happy Monday y’all!

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