The first step towards mental health is really owning our vulnerability. Despite all our human progress and technology, we humans are fragile beings, and our minds and bodies can easily become confused. Vulnerability requires us to own up to the part of us that is fragile; to have the strength to no longer cover it up and pretend it doesn’t exist.
To be self-aware and to practice true self-knowing requires this kind of softness, because we may not always like what we find. This is sometimes called “shadow work.” This concept gets tossed around a lot in modern spiritual circles, but it’s worth mentioning that the idea of the “shadow” isn’t always one that is dark or negative. There is a part of us that's real, as real as the sun as real as Mother Earth. And there is a part of us that is constantly changing, constantly becoming. When the evolving part becomes something, it changes again. That part of us that is always finding itself is the shadow.
Again, shadow is not necessarily evil. It's important to do some shadow work to investigate how willing we are to be identified by our changing, rather than by who we already are. This is where vulnerability comes in. When we meet ourselves through vulnerable self-investigation and self-awareness, we are tasked with reconciling the true Self — connected to all beings, divine in nature — and our shadow. Once our shadow is informed of its true nature of light, the shadow is no longer the ordinary shadow. It becomes infused with light.
When we are willing to put in the work of vulnerable self-awareness, it becomes much easier to make changes where necessary. And in doing so, a revolution will occur that this heart is calling for love, for care, and for comfort. This is your soft heart, hidden in the veneer of who you are — a strong person who can do it all.
In this knowing, made possible by vulnerable self-awareness, we are able to take the first steps toward enlightenment and Truth.