My life began to transform when I got honest with myself and with others, when I came out of denial, accepted what was really going on inside me and shared that truth with the world.
For those of us who've prided ourselves for years on our fierce independence, who've resolved never to need anyone and who've built a polished exterior, vulnerability isn't easy. But I believe this is where true growth begins. It's where the magic happens.
Ten years ago, I was signed off work with a mixture of anxiety, stress, depression, bereavement and loss. It was a blow to my pride - I had a big job as a political correspondent for the news agency Reuters. I worked out of the Houses of Parliament and flew around the world with then Prime Minister Tony Blair. On the outside, I was competent and confident. On the inside, I was crumbling.
Owning the truth about how I was feeling and allowing others - bosses, colleagues, friends and family - to see my vulnerabilities marked a turning point on my own transformational journey. I had to let go of everything I'd been striving so hard for and prioritise my mental and emotional health.
As I did so, I began to change.
I learned to connect with my feelings, to feel them in healthy ways and to share them with the world through my blog and my writing. I found the courage to be real with myself and others and I experienced the freedom that came with that level of honesty. The more vulnerable I became, the more I changed and everything changed around me.
I transformed my career. When I left my Reuters job, I was feeling soul-dead and I thought I'd never write again. Then I began to blog about the things I truly cared about and I finally understood I was a writer after all. I wrote about my recovery from an eating disorder and other forms of self-harm; about waking up in tears on my 41st birthday, single with no children; about the emptiness and loneliness that can come with high-achievement; and about the unhealthy relationship patterns I'd had for years. I also wrote about gratitude, acceptance, self-care and my determination to change my patterns and find love.
By writing from the heart, I fulfilled my dream of becoming an author. By following my heart, I moved to the seaside in Dorset to be with the man I had fallen in love with. And by trusting my heart, I connected with the natural coach and mentor inside me and began to help others change their dysfunctional relationship patterns and form healthy, loving relationships, and to create lives that they love.
So much has changed in the last few years and vulnerability was the first step on that journey.
So can I encourage you to get honest with yourself about your feelings and to share your truth with somebody you trust? Can I encourage you to be vulnerable, to reach out to others, to drop that capable exterior and to ask for help if you need it? To do so, you might first have to slow down. You might have to pause, sit still and connect to yourself. You might have to allow some space for your truth to surface.
I believe that the truth really does set us free. It's not always easy. We may experience pain as we get in touch with the feelings we've been running from for years. But this pain means we are growing and changing. We are becoming the women and men we were meant to be.
Let vulnerability work its magic on you today.
Join me in London at one of the following workshops as I share my vulnerabilities and help you to get in touch with your truth:
How to Fall in Love - Challenging Fears, Changing Patterns. Tue, March 27. 7-9 pm. London.
Love yourself. Love your life. Find love. Sat, Apr 21. 9:30am-4:30pm. London. This is an all-day workshop and an extended version of my sold-out Feb 12 event - Fall in love with yourself, with life and with another - in partnership with Psychologies and NOW Live events.