Choosing Risks Wisely

Posted June 17, 2013 by Monica O'Connell in On the Ladder

We’re in charge of our own vulnerability.

I overheard someone say, “That makes me feel vulnerable.” I’m not one to run around on semantics but like the true therapist that I am I want to explore how something “makes us feel” a certain way and I want to reframe it.  Reframing is major geek time for a therapist which just means finding a way better spin on the situation or finding way more opportunity in it.

Often times in situations that are new to us or times in which we are revealing more of ourselves, we feel vulnerable and sometimes we feel afraid.  We are taking a risk.  Gosh, I bet you can even describe how that feels in your body if you pull up the feeling.  There’s newness and energy, sometimes it feels like shame or embarrassment, sometimes it’s a mini head rush.

But we get to choose this. Even when we feel like we don’t get to choose it.  When our boss is giving us feedback we weren’t expecting or we didn’t feel ready for and it feels so vulnerable.  They’re seeing parts of our work they don’t like or want us to change.  We didn’t get to choose the moment or the timing, you’re right.  Sometimes it’s the worst timing.  Usually we aren’t ready for it.  And yet we are still ok.  

Let me tell you how.

When we choose our own growth, when we stand for ourselves, when we align with our values, we create our own sense of safety.  Even when we’re taking risks.  We’re in charge internally.  We can be safe during new experiences and major risks by breathing, by connecting with our community and connecting with our values.  Some of us value growth.  It’s a top 5-er.  Some of us value education.  Semantics. Same thing.  Some of us value introspection. Some of us value courage.

We are always ok even when we’re doing something new. Even when we’re receiving feedback.  Even when we are doing this differently than someone else, than most people, than almost everyone.  Instead of comparing, analyzing and judging, which is what really creates our biggest sense of insecurity and fear, we can gently, gently remind ourselves that we’re ok.  We are so ok.  And we are choosing vulnerability because it’s exactly what we need to live.

About the Author

Monica O'Connell

Monica O’Connell is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In her practice, she spends her career cheering on “Career Girls” as they learn how to get the most out of life. Monica works with arguably some of the most successful, intelligent, inspiring women in the Twin Cities who tackle self-discovery, career success, and what’s getting in the way of their true desires. She shares her favorite moments as those “best described not by words but by the stomach aching, face soreness that comes from spending an entire day laughing with loved ones.”