Vulnerable: Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
To be vulnerable, by that definition, is hard to see as a good thing. The word exposed is not always one that people find themselves comfortable being. However there is a power like no other that can be found in the ability to harness vulnerability.
When we shine a light on ourselves, including into the darkest recesses, why is it that we would much rather be doing it in private, than in front of anybody else?
Because it is human nature to feel you have something to hide?
Because it is our basic self-preservation instinct?
Not being vulnerable in the days of the caveman where it was hunt or be hunted, clan against clan makes sense. In 2014, we still have all the same software internally, but our external world is utterly different and so our instinctive nature to shy away from showing our true selves is not nearly as life and death or as fight or flight, as our neural pathways have us feel.
Vulnerability today is essential in real and true connection with another. It’s letting another peek behind the mask and it’s not nearly as big a deal as we have grown to feel it may be. What are you afraid of? You are the only master of being you. You are the only person that has lived your life and that ever will live your life, and there is nothing to be afraid of in letting anyone else see in.
Oftentimes the most profound moments come during times of chosen vulnerability. Those times, in new love for example, where you start opening up about each other’s lives, these moments tend to make up the basis of why we have the relationships with the particular people we do. Moments of vulnerability are moments of substance; a glimpse into the true heart of a person and more often than not, these are the moments where our very best comes out, even if we are exposing what we feel to be something that is shameful or ‘bad’ about us. It is often in this sharing that the compassion from another can show us not to be so very hard on ourselves, it can show us how human we are, it can truly help to heal old wounds through a new perspective.
Vulnerability is a strength found in softness. It is a gateway to compassion for others and for you. If someone is brave enough to let you see them, that really is a privilege. It is a privilege also for anyone you deem worthy to see you. It doesn’t by any means have to be a way of life for you in terms of your daily routine but it is a wonderful practice in honesty and integrity, the more you can achieve a sense of being comfortable in being open.
Find the strength to use your own vulnerability to the advantage of the meaningful relationships in your life. Be brave and start that conversation. You may very well be delighted in not only what you learn about yourself, but what knowing more about another in a very real way, really does do for your connections with the ones you love.
‘When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable’ – Madeleine L’Engle