Have the Courage to Slow Down

Get in touch with your vulnerable side to find the courage to slow down.

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When was the last time you made time to do nothing? I'm not talking about watching TV or reading a book or doing some form of procrastination to avoid doing something. I'm talking about scheduling time in your calendar to just sit and reflect without a real agenda. To spend some time with yourself without any real goal or objective in mind.

It's important to make time to simply be because you can easily get so lost in your busy lifestyle that you forget about slowing down and taking a breather. One thing that can help you slow down is to actually get in touch with the real you, the vulnerable you, the you that experiences all kinds of emotions every day.

Could it be that you're drowning yourself in a busy lifestyle because you're not ready to face the real you? Because you're afraid of who you are? Because you don't believe you're enough? Finding all kinds of things to stay busy is one way to run away from your vulnerable side, but it's not a lifestyle that leads to happiness and fulfilment. It's not a lifestyle that allows you to build real, meaningful connections with people. It's not a life lived with courage.

Brené Brown did an incredible TED talk a few years back that highlighted the importance of vulnerability in your life. She spoke about how when you embrace your own vulnerability, you connect with why you're here and find meaning in your life. When you're comfortable with being vulnerable, you make the time to slow down, to reflect and to create real connections. So how do you take the first steps towards vulnerability so you can learn to slow down?

1. Believe you're enough.

It's tough to be you in a world that's always changing, but when you learn to embrace who you are and show it to the world, you will feel less of a need to 'stay busy'. When you acknowledge and learn to appreciate your unique qualities and talents that make you into who you are, you won't feel a need to rush around to feel more accomplished. You'll be able to take a deep breath, and say to yourself "I am enough just the way I am."

2. Love with your whole heart.

This can be terrifying. You need to have the courage to love without knowing if you're loved back, to love knowing that you can't always protect those you love, and to love knowing that you might lose the people you love one day. Yes it's scary but this is what makes life worthwhile. These are the special connections and bonds you build with your partners, families and friends that make your days light up. Yes it might be easier to stay busy, keep running and not stop for fear of getting hurt - but what's the point of living life in fear and without love?

3. Practice gratitude in moments of unknown.

Sometimes when you are faced with uncertainty, you just want to keep running faster. If that makes you feel better, great. But the likely outcome is that you'll run yourself to the ground and realise the uncertainty is still there as you haven't dealt with it. Learn to embrace uncertainty by being grateful that you feel it. Because feeling it means that you're alive. Make time to slow down so you can really appreciate this sense of feeling alive. As Brené Brown wisely said:

"Uncertainty is a necessary part of getting to where you want to go."

Personally, I've watched Brené Brown's talk many times and every time it's helped me in a different way. It's reminded me to stay true to who I am even when some of the world is trying to make me change. It's reminded me that it's ok to be tired sometimes, and that doesn't mean that I'm weak. It's reminded me to have the courage to love and be loved, even when it's risky. And it's reminded me to slow down, because I'm only human and I need time to connect with myself too.

Yes it's scary to slow down, because that's when you connect with the real you, the real love, and the real life. But that's what life is about - about living fully. So I encourage you to do what I've learned to do - to make time to just be.

"Joy comes to us in ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary." ~ Brené Brown

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Susanna Newsonen

Author & Keynote Speaker, The Happyologist Ltd

Susanna Newsonen is the one and only Happyologist®. She is a happiness life coach and keynote speaker. She uses the science of positive psychology to help you to kill your self-doubt, embrace positive thinking, and build a lifestyle you love. She is the author of Happiness is Here and Screw Finding Your Passion. She is a published researcher, a TEDx speaker, an online columnist, and a regular commentator in the media from the BBC to The Huffington Post and more. Her corporate client list ranges across industries, including American Express, BMW, Kellogg’s, Lululemon Athletica and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to name a few. In her free time she is a competitive dressage rider with Olympic ambitions. She adores dogs and believes we can learn a lot from our four-legged furry friends. She inspires and educates her loyal following through her blog at Happyologist.co.uk.