As someone who has been taken advantage of when being vulnerable, this topic of vulnerability can be a difficult one for me to discuss. I’m not professing to have it all together or even look forward to putting myself in situations that make me feel this way, but it’s something that we all have to face in our lives. So in true “Heather” fashion; I’ve decided to write about Vulnerability.
As humans we retain vivid memories of pain, un-comfort, shame and hurt. If you are like most people, you take those emotions; retain them to try avoiding future situations that may make you feel that way again. This automatically begins the process of “building emotional walls” or as some would refer to as baggage. Trust me; I am right there with you, I understand. Knowing we all have our own baggage, my question is; how does that help us build strong relationships? Truth is, it doesn’t. Rather it keeps us from intimacy with the other person. Not in a sexual way. Keeping our guard up prevents us from having an emotional connection. Please note, I’m not suggesting that you lower your walls or share your baggage with just anyone. This is something that comes after the person has earned your trust. As we know, there are bad people in the world. It’s a balance.
Webster’s dictionary defines the word Vulnerable as: 1. Susceptible to attack. 2. Susceptible to criticism or persuasion or temptation. 3. Capable of being wounded or hurt. Well doesn’t that sound like a bed of roses? Where do I sign up? Perhaps we’ve been looking at vulnerability all wrong. Based on this definition it sounds like something negative that I wouldn’t want to touch with a 10 foot pole. On the other hand it challenges me to be open to experiences that may not always turn out the way I hoped. Many of the greatest times of growth in my life came from having the courage to be open, with my heart, mind and soul. Yes it’s resulted in hurt, shame and disappointment at times; it also leads to joy, accomplishment, freedom and excitement.
I talk with many women across the U.S. and this vulnerability thing comes up a lot. We’ve all been hurt, some more than others and to higher degrees. At the end of the day it’s not a comparison, hurt is hurt. I believe if we want to move forward in our lives, we need to let go, be open to the possibilities and ready for an adventure, living with our whole heart. I learned this and experience it through the receiving project I did last year. There’s so much more on this topic that we could unpack and discuss. The first step is to choose an area of your life that is really guarded, (Other than your sexuality, that’s a whole other talk for another day.) and let go; a little goes a long way.
Practice letting go of trying to control every aspect of your life, relationships, career, etc.; yes you may get hurt from time to time. You will also experience life, isn’t that what we are here for anyway? Is being in control or guarded really working for you? Will your whole world fall apart if you let go of a few things? How would your life look if you lived wholehearted and felt joyful most of the time? Vulnerability: strength or weakness, you decide.