My closest friends and family (and pretty much anyone who knows me) have given me the affectionate label “soul-searcher,” which is basically an artistic way of saying I like deep things and I’m totally dorky. That’s ok. I proudly accept the label.
I spent a long time searching for home. A place of safety. A feeling of comfort. The whole cliche “home is inside yourself” became an even greater source of conflict because I didn’t even know how to be at home with myself. I felt far more like a foreigner in my own skin.
However, the soul-searcher in me liked the concept of finding my inner home, so I pursued what I thought that meant, by focusing on sitting still with myself. This little retreat felt like trying to force open a locked door. A bulletproof door at that. I didn’t like how I felt in the silence. Trying to force myself into this “home” created even more resistance. I often left these “visits” feeling frustrated and agitated.
It is much easier to deflect the truth and make up excuses. Sitting in the pit of repressed everything (“I’m fine!”, “Everything’s great!”) challenged me. But honesty is a catalyst. That’s where the change happens.
This is when the concept of “self-vulnerability” came up, which I define as “the practice of creating a safe space within oneself to be honest and uncomfortable.” (I’m actually pretty convinced that the words ‘honest’ and ‘uncomfortable’ are synonyms and the dictionary just hasn’t caught on. Yet).
This practice of self-vulnerability did not mean I had to feel at home in myself. It did not mean I had to feel good at all. Most of the time I didn’t. This meant that I would take time to create a “safe space” inside where I could be honest with myself. And that, my friends, is difficult.
It is a continuous practice, yes, and this journey does take time, but my persistent efforts have lead me to a place where I no longer feel abandoned by myself or a foreigner to myself. Although it seems I tried every key on the keychain before getting it right, being honest and sitting with the discomfort is truly what allowed me to access a home that does exist.
Connecting with the things that gave me an urgent desire to escape – most prominently the feeling of uncontrollable and insatiable anxiety – were the very things I needed to learn to sit with in order to feel at home in myself. In the dusty crevices of my vulnerability, I became aware of the things I could change and the things I had to accept. This is where I found the key I needed to unlock the door of who I thought I was supposed to be so I could open the door to the person that I actually am.
It is totally okay to not be okay at all. But it’s not okay to abandon yourself in the process. If you’ve lost the key to the door of your inner home, find it. Unlocking the door can feel scary, especially if the person on the other side has become a stranger. But take that step forward. Twist the doorknob. Who you truly are is on the other side. Are you ready to unlock the door?
Check out my corresponding video to go with this article here: Self-Vulnerability