Prioritizing The Tender Parts of You
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Embrace the tender parts of you, for they make you human and that is what makes our journey uniquely beautiful. I am talking about those tender or vulnerable parts that show up as heartbreak, loss, pain, mourning, fear, sadness… But why do we let this happen? Why is it that we often have reservations about sharing these tender parts of our soul, heart, and mind? Is it due to unrealistic self-imposed expectations or those that others assign to us? Is it the pace of life, social desire to please, need to outperform or lead, imposter syndrome, and/or so many other internal thoughts that can sabotage our quality of life? Whichever your why, rather than minimizing the tender parts of you, you should uphold them as something incredibly valuable.
Let’s normalize the tender parts of you. Tenderness and vulnerability are not foreign to the human experience, they’re in fact universal core characteristics.
Repeat after me:
- It is OKAY to feel.
- It is OKAY to show up as human.
- It is OKAY to not have it altogether all the time.
- It is OKAY to not be perfect.
- It is OKAY to breakdown expectations and re-write or overwrite them.
Rather than the common expectation for perfection in personal, spiritual, professional, and other life paths, a compassionate ability to make a mistake and change course should be the standard. Gray and complex situation areas are salient in the human experience, and this is a known reality for so many. However, I fear those that are coming up as children may not receive this cultural norm or standard. I want all children, including my boy, to understand that being imperfect is actually more realistic. That learning happens at every distance traveled and experience had. As nice or dull, it is the human experience and the feeling that our bodies ingest and try to decode.
So, I want to leave you with some promising ways to prioritize the tender parts of you:
- Holistically reflect on your personal happiness, fulfillment, and joy. Are there bits and pieces that are not feeling the best or that you’re having difficulty with? Be completely transparent with yourself.
- Pause and sit with your tender and vulnerable parts for as long as you need – do not ascribe a deadline. Do not automatically disconnect from or detract the feeling.
- Meditate, journal, talk to a trusted individual (or any other method that you use) to try to answer and understand your feelings.
- Re-write or let go of expectations, especially those that bring discomfort and tension, which are no longer serving you. Name them so you declare this true for yourself.
- Clarify and understand your evolving needs and prioritize them, always!
- Be bold about asking for support needed and setting up boundaries around your needs.
- Determine how you’d like to communicate about those tender parts with your different groups (adult family, children, friends, colleagues, mentors, etc.). These can look like different messages. Remember that people don’t know what they don’t know. Sharing can help normalize this for others as well as support all these bullet points.
- Be intentional about prioritizing your tender parts. Build accountability to yourself. Remind yourself by practicing this often.
I wrote this as a letter to myself. I hope it resonates with you, even if only something small did. And remember, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage” Brene Brown.