Tag Archive: accepted

Courage and Vulnerability

When I’m stressed, it’s usually because I’m scared.  It might show up as worry that something I’m doing won’t be accepted, or fear that I won’t get done what I’ve decided I must get done. The bottom line, though, is I’m scared, and it’s this fear that drives me into stress and anxiety.

I tend to shut down when I’m scared, and all this does is increase the probability that I’ll ultimately fail at what I’m trying to do. If it’s a presentation, then this preoccupation means I won’t connect to my audience. I’ll end up falling flat and inspiring no one. If it’s preparing for a presentation, then by the time I feel I’m ready, I’ll be worn out and have no real energy for anyone.

My way of not stressing and getting overwhelmed is this: being vulnerable.  It’s kind of odd, not seeming to relate at all to stress and overwhelm. But it does relate, in this way: When I let myself be vulnerable, I always relax. I let go of the worry and preoccupation. I cry if I need to, talk out my sense of inadequacy to a friend, perhaps. I move that pent-up energy through my body. And most importantly, I stop worrying about what other might think, and let me be whoever I need to be in that moment.

Being vulnerable like this takes courage – of dropping my need to please and be accepted. Of accepting whatever consequences that brings and focusing solely on meeting my own needs. This (for me) will include being very prepared, knowing as much as I can about my audience and my topic. But it won’t include second-guessing my audience. And that means I’ll be available for them instead of closed to them.

With that, I’ve just increased the probability that I’ll ultimately succeed.

“You can’t get courage without walking through vulnerability.” Brené Brown


My program Burning the Candle at Both Ends will help you gain the courage you need to be vulnerable.   It’s starting this October. Click here if you’re interested in registering.


Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .


How to come to terms with the need to be liked and accepted



I read a recent blog from Seth Godin where he discussed what he calls the modern addiction of perfectibility, or for short, imperfectibility.

What’s imperfectibility? You might feel, deep down, that you can somehow make everyone happy. That you can silence every critic, delight every customer, and interest every person you approach. Then when the inevitable happens, when someone misunderstands you, or has the wrong impression of you and simply won’t give you a chance, you – like me – take that on as something you failed to catch. That it’s somehow on you, and that you have the power to change it and get that person to like you.

The truth is you can’t, because it doesn’t have anything to do with you. People have their reasons for feeling dissatisfied, or disliking something or someone. The reasons are mostly emotional and personal, and if it’s directed at you, that likely means you were in their line of sight at the time.

A sensitive man just got yelled at by his mother; then you come along, strangely like his mother in some indefinable way, and he finds a reason to dislike you.  A woman you’re slightly acquainted with is regualarly bullied by her boss, and takes it out on the first person she can. You, as it happens. Or, what you have to offer simply doesn’t interest the person you want to interest, and never will.

Whoever you are and whatever you have to offer, it simply can’t interest and delight everyone. And the point that Mr. Godin is making is that if what you are trying to perfect isn’t giving you joy, then it’s an addiction. And like every addiction, no matter how much you do it, it will never satisfy you.

So what’s the antidote? Re-focus.

Re-focus on what you truly like to do.  If that happens to be striving for perfection for its own sake, great! But if that striving is about trying to gain approval from someone who you aren’t likely to get it from, stop! Walk away. And focus on something important to your sense of joy. On something that feeds your soul.

And don’t worry about that other person. They have their own journey.


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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at www.thejoyofliving.co .