Q&A: On Vulnerability and Hurt Feelings…

How to Heal a Broken Heart

Today I’m going to do my level best to answer a question from a reader, and I’m going to do it by telling part of my own story.

The question, in a nutshell, is about how to “keep” the vulnerability, the sensitivity, without feeling hurt all of the time.

First of all, remember that there are no mistakes, there is only human experience. We deny our vulnerability because we don’t want to hurt. We may try to develop a hard shell or put a wall up because we are attempting to avoid  feeling hurt, being disappointed, heartbreak.

So here is where my story might be helpful. It also might not be totally what you want to hear right now, especially if you are hurting.

I was involved in an emotionally abusive relationship for more than 2 decades. I have some pretty serious experience with being hurt, deeply, and consistently. My experience then also extends to making myself nearly invulnerable. A hard shell (with a soft smile – no one needed to actually see that I was putting up a wall of defense). I decided that I wouldn’t let myself be hurt, I would be strong, invincible. I would NOT be vulnerable. Looking back, I realize that this seemed to make the pain even worse. The excruciating pain of wanting something (a healthy relationship) so badly, and not seeing any way it would ever happen.

Eventually, my marriage ended in a nasty divorce, and my own “decision” to not allow myself to be vulnerable kept me from seeking the support I so desperately needed.

It was painful.  I finally did  reach out for support from a wonderful group of friends and family, I did A LOT of personal work, and I did finally heal from the pain. It took time. More than 2 years. I tell my story of exactly what I did to heal in this post.

And after I healed is where my story becomes really useful in answering the question: “How do I keep the sensitivity and vulnerability of my spirit, without feeling hurt all of the time?”

As I healed I blossomed. I opened. I began to really, truly, LOVE my life. I felt so alive. So happy. I was living with intention, being authentic, and it felt magical. I had found my path, knew my purpose, and was amazed at how beautiful my life was becoming every single day. I felt whole, and because of that I felt I was ready for a relationship. An awesome relationship, of course, and this time I knew what that really meant.

I met a wonderful man. I fell in love. Everything was completely magical. And then…it happened. We had a small disagreement. I cried. We made up. I was okay.  The world didn’t end.  😉

And then a few weeks later…I got hurt again. This time there was NO reasonable or logical excuse for it, it was a total misunderstanding. I KNEW I was “making a mountain out of a molehill” but there it was, I felt wounded. It was a small thing. In fact, it was something that wouldn’t even have bothered most people and yet something got triggered in me and there I was feeling completely torn up about it. Feeling so hurt over something so stupid then had me questioning everything…why am I suddenly being totally petty? This was so unlike anyone I wanted to be. I honestly questioned whether I could do this ‘relationship thing’. (Not a comfortable question to be asking yourself when you are a relationship coach!)

I was wondering “WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!”

I remember standing in my closet, hanging up a sweater and feeling so frustrated about my own emotions, asking myself WHY was I so sensitive? I felt so vulnera…uh oh.

Then it hit me. This vulnerability that was allowing me to feel heartache was the very same vulnerability that was allowing me to feel so seen, so heard, so loved, so connected.

And MY vulnerability and sensitivity were also the very things that allowed my Sweetheart to be open to me, to be honest and real and authentic and vulnerable with me. I remember the epiphany-like realization that I needed to decide now whether it was worth it, because I knew I could not have one without the other.

Was the risk of a broken heart worth the magic of true love?

Was feeling hurt over an occasional misunderstanding worth feeling the thrill of deep, pure connection?

My answer was, and is, an unequivocal YES.

Misunderstandings and miscommunications are inevitable in a new relationship. These things happen because we don’t yet know each other well, and they are the very things that enable us to know each other better. These experiences are the very things that give us practice in responding in a conscious way, in Being who we want to Be.  Our intimate relationships are the clearest mirror we have to show us who we are, and sometimes it feels uncomfortable, sometimes it can hurt.

But here is the thing…you do not have to “feel hurt all of the time.” You can certainly allow yourself to open, to be vulnerable, to be sensitive and to allow those qualities to support you in connecting, in loving yourself and others, and in becoming stronger emotionally.

If you are in a place where you are feeling hurt all of the time it’s time to figure out why. Basically when we feel hurt (or any other uncomfortable unwanted feeling or emotion) it is because we have a need that is not being met.

What is the unmet need you have that is causing you pain right now?

Your feelings are a miracle. All of them. They are there to guide you into the fullest most joyful expression of your unique path and purpose.

Being open, honest, vulnerable are the very qualities that allow you to feel – and your feelings let you know what it is you need.  Allow yourself to express that need, and meet that need. Be open, honest, and vulnerable with yourself first. Get actively involved in knowing yourself and loving yourself. Find your healing. Healing your broken heart will allow you to find freedom, and wholeness.

And if you haven’t seen Brene Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability…check it out. It’s powerful and profound (and I have all of my private clients watch it!).

You are precious, and you can find freedom from heartache.

Love & Magic,



This entry was posted in Coaching, Conscious Creation, Personal Growth, relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to Q&A: On Vulnerability and Hurt Feelings…

  1. Shann says:

    Thank you! I love and resonate with, “Your feelings are a miracle. All of them.”

  2. Shana says:

    Cindie, this post is a perfect example of the benefits of vulnerability… connection and allowing people to relate. The power of vulnerability to empower. I spent a good too many years closing me off in the name of protecting myself, and it took getting out of my own difficult relationship to break away from this false sense of protection.

    • Cindie says:

      Hello Shana! I love your comments, and yes isn’t Eckhart Tolle’s book magnificent?!! Totally worth reading. I recommend it too. Thank you Shana for your thoughtful insights. 🙂 xo

  3. Shana says:

    Oh, and can I also mention that what has worked well for me is making an effort to not assume or take things personally. Too often hurt feelings are a misunderstanding or a result of not having all the information. Also, Eckhart Tolle’s book A New Earth has some interesting insight regarding “pain bodies” that I would recommend.

  4. Rachel says:

    Cindie!! This is such a timely post, as I’ve just been doing a lot of research into Dr Brene Brown’s work. She’s got so many great talks on YouTube. I recommend everyone take a look!

    It’s so true. To be open and vulnerable means we experience both ends of emotions. And we can’t feel the deep bliss of being in love, unless we open ourselves to the possibility of being hurt. And I suppose therein lies the risk.

    However, like you said, is it worth it? Anyone who’s ever been totally and completely in love will scream YES!

    Thanks for sharing!!
    Rachel X

    • Cindie says:

      Hi Rachel,
      Thank you! I’m glad you found the post to be timely for you 🙂 and happy to hear that you have discovered Brene Brown’s work. Great stuff!! 🙂

  5. Brilliant post, Cindie – sometimes it can be so hard to remember that our allegedly “bad” feelings are a blessing too – especially when we’re right in the thick of experiencing them – but they’re a really clear source of important information.

    Without them, we’d find it far harder to understand where our boundaries lie, and much harder to realise when someone crossed them.



    • Cindie says:

      Hi Tanja, I love your comment about our feelings being a *clear* source of important information – exactly right. In my opinion the clearest source we have, if we learn how to really listen. Thank you for reading and commenting today, I’m happy to know that you enjoyed the post. xo

  6. Beautiful honest words Cindie, really resonated with me…I feel I’m still there, not fully open yet.. but will find my healing as you say, much thanks xo

    • Cindie says:

      Thank you, Caroline, for reading as well as for sharing your journey…I wish you all the best on your way, and I KNOW that you will find your healing. 🙂 xo

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