How to Show Up (even when it’s hard as hell.)

I apologized to someone recently. And it wasn’t because I was wrong and she was right.

I apologized because I recognized that I did something to hurt her and the fact that I hurt her mattered to me. I wanted her to know that I acknowledge the impact of my actions. That’s it.

Let me tell you. It was hard as hell.

Not hard in the sense that I was admitting a weakness or because I was wrong. It was hard because I had to show up and get real.

I define showing up as this: Acting with the utmost candor all in the spirit of being the best version of yourself even when it makes you feel vulnerable.

Showing up is having difficult conversations, getting vulnerable, and baring it all and it’s not about being right. It’s intimacy, integrity, and magic.

It’s the worst at first but then…. Then it’s the fucking best.

Start with your integrity

How I knew I had to apologize was that I kept thinking about apologizing. I rationalized the hell out of it, questioning why I would even apologize and I challenged myself repeatedly. And yet the voice continued on.

I see integrity as a circle in which you are either inside of it or you’re not. There’s no one foot in, one foot out business in integrity. This apology opportunity was a chance to act and live my integrity — so I took it.

Practice Vulnerability

I knew going into it that it was going to be a difficult conversation. How was I going to bring it up? What would I say exactly? What if she got mad at me? I was going to expose myself.

Alas, I braved forward.

Vulnerability is something we can practice and self-preservation is something we can unlearn.

Lean into Intimacy

The outcome of difficult conversations and vulnerability is Intimacy.

A proverb, (probably terribly) paraphrased:

“Each one of us is a house with four rooms; a physical, a mental, an emotional and a spiritual. Most of us tend to live in one room most of the time but, unless we go into every room every day, even if only to keep it aired, we are not a complete person.”

The less we experience intimacy and vulnerability and go into those figurative rooms within ourselves, then the harder it is to do when the opportunities present themselves. The longer we go denying opportunities for intimacy and vulnerability the further we are from those inner layers of ourselves, our truest selves.

When all else fails

Dive in, anyway. Consider what is my intention in having this conversation and say that. Challenge the voice of fear and ask yourself: what’s the worst thing that could happen? And then ask yourself, what’s the best thing?


Photo Credit:

Benjamin Davies

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2 Responses

  1. Sam Lui

    Hi Gabrielle! I didn’t know you have a blog, I am glad I noticed your share on LinkedIn and found out. First of all, great post! This post resonated a lot with me because it’s something that I have been trying to practice for a while now. It’s definitely TOUGH to do and requires constant work and self-reflection.

    Sometimes actions can unintentionally hurt others and we may not realize it until the harm is done. However, once we realize it, it is important that we find ways to resolve the issue asap. If we don’t take the stand to address our mistake, you are ultimately saying that “my pride and being right is more important than your happiness”.

    Good on you for taking that step to place yourself in that vulnerable position!

    I personally look at the phrase “to show up” a little differently. To me, I think how you show up to the world is a measurement of how you interact with the world and that people can show up positively or negatively. Gabrielle, you definitely showed up as a person with integrity, courage, and kindness. Keep it up!

    Thanks for the good read and inspirations!

    1. Hi Sam,

      It’s so nice to hear from you. Thank you for the thoughtful comment and valuable insights. You’re right on so many accounts – bottom line it’s TOUGH like you said! But worth it. I hope to hear from you again.


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