Freedom and Vulnerability: Partners for a Joyful Life
Having cancer can feel like anything but freedom. . .that is if you only assess freedom by what your physical state or condition may be.
My reference in this post is about experiencing the freedom to be authentically YOU during your experience of cancer and in life. In other words, it is about going through cancer and treatment YOUR way and setting yourself up to be free to be and do what works for you.
Since many people have never experienced complete freedom in their normal day to day lives due to a desire to fit in, they may be especially lost when a crisis hits. If they have the unfortunate diagnosis of cancer, the perceived lack of freedom can affect their experience of treatment, recovery and emotional adjustment to the inherent challenges.
This unfortunate way of living life keeps people trapped into trying to fit into an expected mold or keeps them trying very hard to please others, which is never fulfilling and certainly not healthy.
Anyway you look at it, living without vulnerability is holding yourself captive in a self-made prison where freedom, joy and complete authentic expression is outside the walls of your mind.
Some people equate vulnerability with weakness, but the truth is vulnerability (being real with how you feel, want or need) takes great courage.
Being vulnerable means others may not agree with you. You may not have your desires be heard, let alone be honored. You risk being judged or ridiculed or told you shouldn’t feel what you genuinely feel. When you speak up even though you may not be fully accepted, you are also making a statement that you are not willing to stay hidden behind your self-made prison wall. You are being honest about the most important entity in your life, which is YOU.
Whether you are experiencing a crisis in your life like cancer, or are simply navigating life in general, I encourage you to be vulnerable. Allow yourself to question the status quo and to ask for help if you need it. It is important you get real with not only how you feel, but with the stories you tell yourself and the unreal expectations others may have of you.
I guarantee, eventually it will get easier to take the risk to be genuine. One by one, you will remove the bricks from the wall that protects your fearful heart giving you the courage to honor your own experience of life.
Once you choose to be free, you will also likely influence others around you to to be vulnerable themselves. When that happens, especially with those closest to you, relationships will strengthen since trust will be greater. (We humans tend to trust those that are authentic and vulnerable more than those that hide behind their egos and a wall of fear-based bravado)
I discovered the freedom of being vulnerable some time ago and it has served me well. It became the basis of what my biz partner and I teach and model in our leadership training business. I may not be understood, accepted or appreciated by everyone that has contact with me, but that does not influence the choices I make or how I live my life. I choose freedom over trying to please those that may judge me.
When I received the diagnosis of breast cancer, I thankfully still felt the joy of freedom. It was the freedom to choose how I would ride out this adventure and what choices I would make in my care and treatment.
Living a joyful life is not something that has to end just because a challenge is present. When we each allow ourselves to be authentically vulnerable, real and honest, joy naturally tags along for the ride.