In 7th grade, on the very last day of school, I was bullied by a student named Craig. I found out firsthand how taking decisive & consistent action is transformational. It was a school assembly and he kept pushing me hard from behind. I asked him to stop multiple times and he refused. I told myself, “I he does that again, I’m spitting right in his face”, and that’s exactly what I did. I left for the summer believinG in myself and my ability to handle my problems, and I want you to have that same victory in your life.
When I was 21 I had a major crush. She was a part of a sorority a few houses down from my fraternity. On Valentines Day 1995, I took a risk and had some Phi Delta Theta pledges to deliver her a rose from me, in front of her entire sorority, at their Monday night dinner. According to the pledges, she loved it, expressed excitement & blushed. She called and thanked me, said she had an out-of-town boyfriend and would love to grab a coffee. I felt somewhat rejected AND I felt great because I took a risk, faced a fear, and grew.
There are certain powerful emotions we want to avoid. Rejection, failure & embarrassment are at the top of the list for most. Because we were hurt in the past, our minds (i.e. psyche) bully us into avoiding situations where we could get hurt. Both the situations above were totally terrifying, yet absolutely positive & energizing. I didn’t listen to the lies my mind told me.
Our minds tell us that avoiding emotional risks helps us (e.g. safety) when avoidance actually hurts us. We believe in psychologically damaged advice. The worst advice we can ever take is from an anxious mind.
If we don’t risk getting hurt emotionally (e.g. failure, rejection, embarrassment), we damage our ability to feel good emotionally (e.g. joy, excitement, peace). Emotional vulnerability is a lifelong struggle and crucial to being emotionally healthy. We grow from experiencing failure, rejection & embarrassment and see that we can handle it.
Emotional Risk (Vulnerability) Ideas
Taking an emotional risk means doing something where you could be uncomfortable and/or rejected. Basically, something where you have no control over the outcome. Here are some examples of scary actions you can take today. Download the list below and use it to start thinking about risks you can take today. It has 16 scary actions you can take today. Mark the ones that would make you the most uncomfortable, and start by taking some action today.
Negative Core Beliefs Keep Keep Us from Being Vulnerable:
- “If I ask for help, I’m infringing on someone.”
- “If they reject me, my day/weekend will be ruined.”
- “They don’t want to be inconvenienced by me.”
- “It’s been so long since I’ve talked to them & they have other friends now.”
- “They will reject me and I’ll spiral into depression.”
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I ask clients to list actions they can take that are emotionally scary. Actions that move them towards goals AND where they cannot control the outcome. Sometimes I have them take an emotional risk while they’re in the middle of a session and I’ve seen a real transformation in these moments. Growth happens when you take action.
Click the link below for a worksheet to create your list of vulnerable actions you are willing to risk-taking. This might be the best thing you can do for your emotional, spiritual, and physical health.
If you like my style and found this helpful, go through my online coaching course Tune Up For Life to learn more about healthy thinking skills, emotional health, self-concept, life balance, core values, life purpose, goal setting, transformational habits, and more.