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What My Father’s Death Taught Me About Vulnerability

Learning how to ask for help made me a better person

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Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.” Brene Brown

I do not remember much about the couple months after my dad passed away. I was stuck in a spiral of coping mechanisms and denial.

“You know, I just cannot cry” I said at my flatmate, as we were sitting next to each other watching Netflix.

“Oh that’s that’s great, I mean you’re over it” she replied quite content.

“I really want to cry” I said, “I really, really do.”

I was fresh from too many changes, and desperately trying to cry. I started watching old Buffy episodes (spoiler alert: I mean the ones in which she dies, or Angel dies), or I put on old music from my teenage emo days.
I even got my dark MOJO back and got back into writing my gloomy poetry.

One night, sitting in bed, I just looked outside, and I had a conversation with my grandad – or maybe I was just talking to myself, but it really didn’t matter as much. I was reflecting on how much I’ve changed, specifically thanks to the fact that I was working on my own vision, my own mission.

You may say “it was for the better” or “it was for the worse” – however, growing your influence and having a business changes you and shapes you in ways that you don’t expect – and self-help books definitely don’t talk enough about.

How life can change us

Since I embarked on my journey as a business owner, I am much more upfront even with people that I don’t know.

So you can find me at the hairdresser talking about my past relationships, sharing my biggest worries about life and everything beyond. I used to be the girl who would never, ever talk about her problems with strangers – let alone friends. I did feel a bit bad for the lady who had to wash my hair and cut it while I was going through half of my life story once.

The second thing that I noticed is that I take more chances.

Clear example: a few years back, I cut my hair so short that now I can literally dry my pixie crop by shaking it off (for everybody else’ amusement).

 It was impulsive, it was new, and I went along with that. I became more open to try things that may not have worked before – you can either follow your intuition and go with your gut or follow a strategy that has been put in front of you.

Lastly, I realised that this journey made it really hard for me to be “easy on myself”.

A friend of mine once said that instead of declaring that she is “too hard on herself”, she will now start saying that she is “quite easy on herself”. It was such an important step when it came to the way I’d accept my mistakes, flaws and failures of sort.

I constantly remind myself of how far I have come, and that despite having had a few ‘divine storms’ in my time, and have found myself having to leave everything and start over again, I opened myself to others and asked for help.

Embracing vulnerability

Some times we see someone from the outside, and we think that they will never crack – however, more and more highly influential people realised that, just like Brene Brown said:

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”

A couple of days after that chat with my friend, I decided that I was gonna stop and have an honest talk with myself – just because I was alone in the house, and I could justify being a weirdo.

“I love you and you are allowed to be vulnerable,” I said to the person in the mirror. “You are allowed to fall down and come back up, you’re allowed to ask for help, you are allowed to be grumpy, you are allowed to scream and shout and cry.” I stopped, then I added, “Remember that I love you and I am proud of you”.

That night, dear reader, it was the night I cried.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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