Being vulnerable – where do I stand on it?

As a massage therapist I offer space for my clients to be vulnerable. For them to discuss injuries, areas of physical pain and discomfort, but also a space where they can feel comfortable being emotionally vulnerable too. I’m forever telling people that pain can have an emotional reaction.

But being vulnerable is something that I myself struggle with. Last week, my back slipped and I was unable to move for almost a week, but I found myself wondering – why did I regress so much emotionally?

So here goes: I’d forgotten that when you’ve been lying horizontal for so long, that being vertical is vomit-inducing and that the simplest things like washing hands in a sink (the irony!) can be torturous for the back. Bending has been hell and my reaction to Tramadol even more so.

But I don’t see being vulnerable as a weakness in others, so why would I in myself?

I’m a helper, a carer and in essence a fixer. But I’m also human. I’m a massive achiever and  don’t do things by halves, something I’ve battled with for years. Value is often placed on: how much have you done, and how fast have you done it. When I see others listing their accomplishments on social media I want to tell them to stop.

I’ve resisted achieving since breaking my back 8 years ago, but during lockdown I’ve felt myself being sucked back in. People have pointed out to me that I’ve been ‘smashing lockdown’, completing a 200 hour yoga teacher training and developing a massage course for the online space.

But it’s been such a massive learning process. I’m technically quite savvy but I didn’t grow up in a time when you just did things inherently online. I’ve learnt to code websites which is something I could never have comprehended.

But being kind to yourself is tough when you are tough on yourself. The brain and the body often have opposing views. It’s why I usually do so much yoga!

Now the pain in my back is dying down, it’s ‘gently does it’ with this being vertical lark. Back to appreciating washing my hands primarily but hoping the fact my body has slowed me down filters through to my brain to be more acceptant of feeling vulnerable.