The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility. – Paulo Coehlo
That word. That word that can scare just about any human when it is encountered, felt, and/or spoken.
Why are we so afraid of this word? This construct?
For some, it is seen as a sign of imperfection. For others, it is viewed as a sign of weakness. The semblance of this plus potentially the feelings of hurt and betrayal can overcome someone. However think about this.
When we are all wee little babes, we were vulnerable. We could not do anything for ourselves. We cried when we were hungry or needed to cleaned up. We wailed when we wanted comfort and attention from a loved one. We looked to others to give us that encouragement to take that pull ourselves up from the ground, take that first step, and feed ourselves for the first time. We observed, explored, and were willing to be open; despite what the outcome was going to be. If we failed, we tried again and again until that moment occurred.
As we get older, we are taught to be independent, responsible, and do the best we can. Society can also give us this perceived notion that we must be perfect (at all costs). From body image, social status, what job you may have, where you live, where you obtained your education, and etc.
Despite all of this, there are going to be things in life that will knock us back on the ground.
Very bloody hard.
Things that will make fearful and want to hide around a wall of isolation. Tuck away in shame and sadness. Things where we absolutely no control of what the outcome is going to be. Becoming inwardly aggressive towards ourselves.
This is my experience everyday when I wake up and when I go to bed. Welcome to the world of disability. A practice in vulnerability.
This is why vulnerability is important to share. Not only for yourself but as a learning observation for others.
To be able to create and express openness with yourself and others. Even when the cards are not shuffled or not given you in the right way, this helps us to see that the idea of perfection does not exist.
I hate to break it to you. Vulnerability is a part of our lived experience.
Suffering, death, grief and loss, injury, heartbreak.
These are just some of the things that are a part of living life.
Does this mean that we stop trying to do better for ourselves?
Maybe to stop trying to chase that goal of perfection that has been deemed as highly valued and regarded in society which can never be obtained… perhaps.
However, opening up to vulnerability is an indication that you are not going to give up on yourself.
You are going to try that new experience; even though you do not know what the outcome will be. Even though there may be other people in your life that are second-guessing what you are doing. Even though all of the pieces may not be in place. Maybe even taking the assistance from another thing or individual that can help you for the day ahead.
Opening up to vulnerability is an expression of kindness and self-compassion towards yourself. As Brené Brown once said, “You can’t numb those hard feelings out without numbing the other affects, our emotions.” Being vulnerable means accepting all of your emotions. Accepting fully who you are; experiencing all of the facets of life.
It means to live as a human being.
Not saying that it is easy to “show up” in the face of vulnerability. Whenever you can open yourself to this, then you are also doing these things.
You are showing to others that they can do this too. That it is okay and permissible to do this.
This is in turn brings about more connection and compassion. Towards self and other while creating thriving relationships of value, rather than substance and what is seen only on the outside.
Consider opening up to vulnerability. It is not easy by any means. But the insights gained are so rewarding and powerful.
Realizing that you really are not alone.