Strong and Vulnerable: How I Learned to Let People In

My kid had simply had significant surgical treatment to treat an intricate condition that had actually cost him his small bowel, and it had actually taken much longer than anticipated.

My stomach felt tense as the surgeon sat in the chair opposite us.

After that, my mind turned off. I felt my other halfs head on my shoulder and heard her tears.

” Its not excellent news,” he stated.

I remember sitting in a little, dark space waiting for the cosmetic surgeon to arrive.

He took a look at the flooring as he began to speak.

January– 2012

” We think he has a week left to live.”

“We cultivate love when we enable our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and understood, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, affection, generosity and respect.” ~ Brené Brown

Was it a bad dream?

My feet feel heavy as I am nervously strolling toward the divorce court.

August– 1998

June– 2017

Twelve years has actually concerned an end, and its time to let her go.

I understand I did my best, however somehow, we lost each other. Both stuck in our own discomfort, with me reluctant to be vulnerable and not able to fully let her in.

They are chuckling at me and pressing me. I understand whats coming, and I can feel my heart beat increasing, and my stomach feels tense.

We lived under extreme tension for 5 years, up every night with our kid, constantly in the health center. I think the only thing worse than remaining in a war zone is being in extensive take care of twelve months and seeing kids pass away beside you.

I dont see the man that has actually circled me, and unexpectedly I feel the punch on my ear. I drop to the flooring.

I get up ashamed and in pain, however I pretend I am okay. I remember what I have found out. Never show weakness …

This advises me of something I have experienced before. I am in a harbor surrounded by three huge men with tattoos down their arms and neck.

I want I could be anywhere else however here, but there is no other way out. I am surrounded.

I feel the begin my chest as I are up to the flooring and battle to breathe. A couple of more punches and I hear their voices fading as they walk away.

May– 1988

I remain in the corridor after school, surrounded by 3 larger men.

As I stand outside the court in a small, smelly space waiting on the hearing, my thoughts drift back.

Gradually, I get up and say, “Are we done?”

I get started the stomach and fly backward.

Slowly, I get up and ask, “Are we done?”

I hear a voice and snap out of my thoughts.

I tell him the story of my kid and that only the regenerative medicine treatment he is investigating can conserve my kid.

March– 2014

June– 2017

I should not show any feelings. That is how I endure. I know this video game …

Its the court lady, and she says the hearing is canceled.

I am watching out the window, and despite everything I have actually accomplished, I feel empty.

He takes a look at me in shock as I say, “Okay, I will get that.”

He is an optimistic, energetic Italian researcher who I discovered online while researching leading professionals around the world, and he is my only hope.

And another round.

He informs me that we need to raise $7.5 million to do the research.

My boy is still here 5 years later, and we handled to raise $8 million. I have lots of buddies, and I had a company that I built from scratch with fifty personnel members.

As I get on the London underground, I close my eyes and drift off again …

June– 2017

I finally got home from the divorce court.

This is where it started.

Whatever it requires to conserve my little boy …

So why do I feel so empty?

I feel I can lastly be me. Strong and susceptible.

All these hippies are frightening. They are so relaxed with touch. It makes me unpleasant.

Its circle time. Oh, I dislike these. And, this time we have to share vulnerability with the group.

I inform the group about my boy and the long, dark nights I would stand and weep in the living space, terrified to my core that he would not be alive the next day.

Something has happened that I have never experience before. I dont even understand these individuals, yet they now understand me much better than my ex-wife, childhood, or household good friends.

They share things and cry, making my stomach cringe since I am terrified of needing to do the exact same.

I understand I am strong, but I feel alone. Disconnected from others.

As it becomes my turn, I am still alive. F.

I get a pal of mine who is a masseuse to offer me a gentle massage on my stomach and chest, as I know just how much I do not like touch there.

I close my eyes and slowly release. As I let the tension go, I can feel a little hurt and broke child inside me weep, and I let it. I am in hippie land now, so why now?

I had survived violent confrontations, developed a company from absolutely nothing, conserved my kid when he was offered no possibility, I am helping to innovate medical science, and I have battled and won legal battles versus our nationwide health service …

They all look at me with love and compassion. They even appear more linked to me, and I feel more linked to them.

Something remarkable happens. I am enjoying the touch. Yes, I actually like it.

I understand the answer however hesitate to confess since I am a man. I am strong, and I do not require anybody.

So, I know what I have to do. I have to let my protective angle go as he is no longer required, and he is holding me back from living.

It no longer feels irritating. As I leave the course, I realize touch is among my love languages, and I cant get enough.

I am praying that somebody will burst through the door and shoot me. Its America, after all. But to my misery, nothing happens.

Unexpectedly I realize that I have made myself alone. Since I found out to only rely on myself and to never show vulnerability.

Somehow being vulnerable and depending on others feels scarier than a fistfight. Scarier than death.

I never utilized to let anyone see me sob, as they had to think I had it all together. I was scared, so scared.

I desire everyone to see how strong and manly I am.

While survival is necessary and served me at a time in life, its not truly living.

I finally break down and cry in front of the group. I weep like a baby.

I register for a course over the summer and get on an aircraft to San Francisco.

I can feel I am shaking.

I dont understand why, but I can feel my body being tense and withstanding.

I google vulnerability and find Brené Browns TED talk, and unexpectedly I recognize I have actually lived my whole life in worry. In survival mode.

Who understood that summer would alter my life?

Like a plant needs water, sun, and air to grow, like requires security, vulnerability, and approval.

My relationships, my relationships, everything has actually changed considering that I came home.

I discovered the missing formula to intimacy and love, toward myself and others.

I found the force. May the force be with you.

And its not complicated. It just takes nerve.

I feel more seen and accepted now that Im more open, and Im better able to see and accept the people around me, which helps them be more open too.

About Thomas Westenholz

I close my eyes and slowly let go. As I let the stress go, I can feel a little hurt and broke child inside me sob, and I let it. Developed the 3-step framework for couple intimacy and love.

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June– 2017

I get up ashamed and in pain, but I pretend I am fine. I know this video game …

Thomas is the Founder of, the leading institute for relationship intimacy. Established the 3-step framework for couple intimacy and love.