June 11, 2022

E328: How to let your guard down and love yourself | CPTSD and Trauma Coach

In this episode, I was thinking about this in-depth just last night. I came to this fascinating truth about this experience the higher your guard is up mentally, emotionally, and spiritually the more difficult it is to step into this journey of healing.
See show notes at: https://www.thinkunbrokenpodcast.com/e328-how-to-let-your-guard-down-and-love-yourself-cptsd-and-trauma-coach/#show-notes

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In this episode, I was thinking about this in-depth just last night. I came to this fascinating truth about this experience the higher your guard is up mentally, emotionally, and spiritually the more difficult it is to step into this journey of healing. The exciting kind of juxtaposition of that is understanding that having your guard up can create an illicit sense of safety. What I think is interesting as you go deeper down that rabbit hole is that the greatest sense of healing of freedom and of trusting yourself and thus allowing that to exist outside of you and in the world and your environment is by letting your guard down with yourself first.

When is the last time that you truly let your guard down?

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When is the last time that you truly let your guard down?

What's up, Unbroken Nation! Hope that you're doing well wherever you are in the world today. So, I was thinking about this really at depth just last night actually and coming to this really interesting truth about this experience in that the higher your guard is up mentally, emotionally, spiritually the more difficult it is to step into this journey of healing. And the really interesting kind of juxtaposition of that is understanding that having your guard up actually can create an illicit a sense of safety and what I think is really interesting as you go deeper down that rabbit hole is that the greatest sense of healing of freedom and of trusting yourself and thus allowing that to exist outside of you and in the world and your environment is by letting your guard down with yourself first.

And I was thinking about that moment in the mirror, right? You guys have heard my mirror moment and coming to the conclusion of no excuses just results, of you are not a child anymore, of taking inventory of my life and the willingness to take control over everything that was next. And one of the things, I don't know that I've would necessarily gotten deep into with you around mirror work was the first couple of months after that and these experiences of looking at myself in the mirror on a daily basis for a very long period of time and telling myself, I love you, was probably the most uncomfortable experience of my life.

You know growing up, you hear all the time, you're not good enough, you're not strong enough, you're not capable enough, no wonder your parents left, no wonder this and no wonder that right, whatever it is and we all have these really interesting stories, we'll have all these experiences that shape us. Well, for me looking in that mirror and inevitably which you've heard me say many times, led to being okay with the reflection started with not; it truly started with not being okay, it truly started with being carrying a lot of pain a lot of shame, a lot of guilt, a lot of hurt, a lot of anger, a lot of frustration and initially and unwillingness to be vulnerable with myself, a willingness to not give myself grace, a willingness to not allow me into me.

When you go through whether it be the book or Think Unbroken workshops or any of the aspects of this journey with me or on your own there is nothing more powerful than that mirror and what it does if you're willing to step into it which just to be frank took me a very long time to be willing to do, if you're willing to step into the vulnerability of self you'll discover everything that you need to know.

There was one pivotal moment that I remember and I've never shared this story before, it was after night at the bar and I don't know it's probably twenty-seven, we've got just completely hammer drunk and I was on the journey like, I was still doing the work, I'm still like going to therapy, I was like trying to figure this out but I was still having these crazy party nights. Part of it was my environment which now I recognize and I understand but the other part of it I was holding on so tightly to that old identity, I was so scared of letting go of that version of me because I was trapped in like who's gonna love me, who's gonna like me, was gonna care about me if I'm not party guy. Around this time, I had always allowed for my entire life this twenty-seven, twenty-eight years in allowed people to call me Mike and even as a child I hated it because I never felt like a Mike, right? I felt like a Michael and this pivot happened where I realized like wait a second, these guys, these people in my life, these folks that I party with they like drunk, loud, rash, abrasive, the guy who talks about football and like strip clubs and we'll drink you under the table and we'll pound a giant extra-large pizza and have no remorse for any of the damage left in his wake and I like that guy too like, that's what's so crazy about. There was something about me especially then I loved the feeling of, I don't wanna call it in ability because I would be really weird words to use but it's this feeling like that guy that mike did not have to be responsible. And so maybe there is a sense of in ability in that because I looked at that this guy doesn't have to be responsible, he can do whatever, he wants he can be a monster to people to himself especially because why is it matter? This is mike and fuck even saying that is so uncomfortable right now, I just do not feel an alignment with that person like that is such a far stretch removed from who I am today that it's almost it feels seemingly impossible that I could even step into that again, never say never, right? I hope not, I do a lot of work that's probably not gonna happen.

So, there was this pivot that started happening was this one night I’m go out and I'm just like it's there's a college football game on and it's a friend's birthday and we're just like pounding in shots and eating nacho cheese and talking about what we're gonna do after and after we went to strip club and then we went to like white castle at like three o'clock in the morning where we ate all these cheese, it was just a disgusting night, right? That's me judging myself, do you. And the next day I just hungover over, I was film gross, I was just not happy and know when I looked at that mirror again and I remember this day because I didn't feel good and I looked in the mirror again, I was like you're not party Mike that like whatever this is, this is not what you're going to be anymore. I had to get super vulnerable with myself and allow myself the space to be okay with that truth and to reconcile that from that moment forward I did not wanna be that person anymore, I did not fill an alignment, I did not feel true about my experience and it started this shift because I'd look this mirror and I be like, I love you but I didn't love that part of me. I know everyone says you know you should have compassion, empathy, grace, sympathy for all the parts of you and look for some people that is exactly what you need to do and I've shared this about me before but for me that's not what it was, for me what I needed to do was fully acknowledge that (a) that was not who I wanted to be in that (b) is that I would do anything in my power to continue to move towards being the person I thought I was capable of. Now again, I've told you guys this before twenty six to twenty nine were the hardest years of my life and that came because of moments like this because I was in a lot of pain just emotional pain, I was on physical pain too because I was not taking care of myself, I mean I was but not as definitely not as good as I do now but better than I had been but not good enough it was like that transition, I'm still it's like training wheels, we're still happening or like when a baby first learns to walk like I'm still like taking two steps and fallen on my ass and that's kinda what this one window felt like. This one particular day as I've stood there and I was looking in that mirror and I was like I love you but I don't love that part of you, right? Looking and having this really deep powerful emotional experience with myself and making a decision that I didn't wanna be Mike anymore and that was something that, you know I talk about this idea about living life on your terms, doing what you want to do not doing what you don't want to do and that's about boundaries and it's about self-awareness and it's about this concept of know thy self. And for me in that moment it was about honoring my truth which I think is also a really big part of this and I needed so desperately to honor that truth because even as a kid I just loa, hated there's no other way to phrase it being called Mike, it's even funny because I was on a friend show the other day and were pals and she said Mike and I said no, no, no please Michael because I was honoring that boundary that truth for me and you know, one day might be grandpa Mike or uncle Mike, I mean shit, I don't know, I can't predict the future but I can tell you right now is that I'm holding true to the fact that that's not an alignment because as the saying goes, what's in a name, well for some people if you're like me a lot it matters, it's important to me not to be that.

So, getting into this mirror, having this experience looking at myself and saying I don't want to be Mike, it was about shedding, was about shedding a part of who I was apart that needed to be shed, apart that needed to be removed, apart that needed to be exercised for like literally mentally, physically, emotionally in my experience and there was this massive, massive vulnerability in that moment with myself to let that guard down, to honor that thing that I so desperately had wanted for twenty seven years to not be a Mike because that's not how I felt like I was and I think that probably holds true for many people in their identity and who they are and what they want and that probably holds true for you about not only what you don't want but what you do want because there was a transition in that and I decided I do want to be healthy, I do wanna take care of my physical body, I do wanna take care of my mind, I do want to continue to step forward and trying to figure out who I am. And again, there were symbols, there were fall backs, there were mistakes, there were setbacks like those windows were hard because the vulnerability opened up a lot that I didn't know and a lot that I didn't understand. And when you get vulnerable with yourself, you're going to step into finding out there's a lot about you that you don't know and that there's a lot about you that you don't understand but that's the greatest thing that could happen because that means you're starting to explore who you are. This is where journal played a huge role for me because what I started to do is just every single day I'm just kinda write a little bit and kinda share my thoughts about myself with myself not publicly and still to this day even and though I write and I blog and I write books and all that like, there are these intimate experiences of my life that still to this day hold true from me that I will not put into the world because they're four me and that comes in discovery. I want you to be willing again, I can want this for you but you have to want it for yourself, to have the willingness to tap into vulnerability with yourself, by going and standing in front of that mirror.

Here's I'll describe it for you in case you're wondering well like, what does it mean like how do I know if I need to let my guard down?

It's that moment in which you're standing in front of that mirror and the idea of stepping deeper into what is happening and that real moment emotionally, scares you. Where you're like oh, shit, this is uncomfortable, this is different, this is weird; not hurtful, not painful, not harmful but different and you fill it in your soul and your spirit and your body wants you to step into it and you feel that inkling of resistance that's the moment where you will start to blossom when you're willing to let that guard down a little bit and let whatever comes up for you, hold true and be truthful for you. Not to run from it, not to hide from it, not to stuff it down, not to pull yourself away from the mirror but instead to sit with it and give that vulnerability to yourself and in that to honor whatever comes up and to let that truth guide you because it's gonna open up doors and pathways for you that you've not discovered yet and even today for me it still happens so let's still go look in the mirror, I still tell myself, I love you, I still tell myself that I'm capable of doing these grant things and that starts with vulnerability. Even today I have to be vulnerable with myself, I have to be willing to and like many people to step into the truth of what my life is and my hope is that letting your guard down it's not about like being weak and I wanna be very clear about that because I think people may misconstrued that and hear this and go wait, if I let my guard down that means, I'm weak and vulnerable to be hurt. Well, that's another conversation and that's certainly something that I'll be happy to talk about. But I'm talking about vulnerability with self today, can people hurt you? Yeah, sure, it's part of the human experience unfortunately but you won't even get to that place, this is my experience, isn't my truth you won't even get to that play where your heart is open enough to even have that conversation until you have that conversation with you first, until you let your own guard down for you and your experience in who you are. And in that there's so much profound beauty that comes along with it because I've said it before like the scariest things that we do the most uncomfortable things that we do they help us grow and like even though yes, of course, physical endeavors and journal and meditation and pushing hard and discovering what you're made of and trying things you never tried and showing up and the whole nine, writing goals and values all that stuff matters, I will never say it doesn't matter it's gotten me to where I am today, I will leverage that till the day I die. But one of the things that matters along with that too is getting truthful about your heart than who you are and allowing yourself into your yourself you're giving yourself the compassion and grace that you need in the moment to let your guard down with you because if you can't be safe with you, how will ever be safe in the world, with other people, with partners with children, with employees, with team members, with friends, with strangers and will you ever be safe in the world if you are not first safe with yourself. And there's a resiliency that I believe is built in that discomfort of vulnerability because you get deeper into recognizing who you are. And when you have that amount of ownership, you have that amount of belief your confidence will just rise because every day you're going and you're looking in that mirror and you're saying, I love you.

As I sharing my story, as I continued to do that and still do, I see it play out daily, I see it change my life in the scope of my experience, in scope of my clients and the people listen to this show and I hope to only continue to go deeper into it. But there's a vulnerability even with myself that every single day, I go and step into, I choose to believe that it's okay to be vulnerable with myself and give myself the space day in that mirror be like, I alright you got this and that's what I want you to give yourself, that's what I hope that you will give yourself is that moment of unguarded grace – unguarded grace of just saying you know what, this is who I am, this is where I am today, I'm okay with who I am, I love myself and then that love still push, still persevere, still grow, still heal, still learn and try and go through the process of doing the things that you say you're going to do because that will simply just reinforce the narrative that you're now stepping into. And if you've never done this before it's gonna be difficult, that's the truth about it, it's gonna be hard, it's gonna be awkward, it's gonna be uncomfortable but I'll tell you this, it'll be powerful and, in that power, you will rise, you will be even stronger than you are today and in that my friends that's being unbroken.

You may have known this from other episodes recently you can grab the first copy of Think Unbroken Understanding Overcoming Childhood Trauma if you pop over to book.thinkunbroken.com you can download the pdf for free or if you wanna buy the book you're more than welcome, but you can read the eBook for free if you just go to book.thinkunbroken.com and if you leave a review of the podcast on iTunes or Spotify and screenshot it you and I'll be able to have a setup call where we'll have a back and forth and I wanted to do that so that we can get to know each other a little bit more so, if you'll do me that amazing, amazing consideration of taking eighteen seconds to leave a review, I'd love to be able to pay that forward to you in a conversation.

So, just tag me on social at michaelunbroken or hashtag think unbroken.

My friends, thank you so much for being here.

Of course, it means the world to me. I hope that you will open up your heart to yourself a little bit more and let that guard down a little bit more today, going get yourself in the mirror today tell yourself, I love you.

And Until Next Time.

My friends, Be Unbroken.

I'll see you.

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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.