“”Vulnerability is a strength, not a weakness” and the like, is becoming a fairly popular catch phrase these days.
I wholeheartedly stand behind that statement and believe it to be entirely true.
However, it’s a whole lot easier said than done.
To actually exercise the depths of our vulnerability, especially with another person, not having any idea how it will be met or received by the other we’re choosing to share it with, truly feels like it requires super human emotional strength sometimes.
Because — living in a society where more often than not, we’re taught in one way or another that it’s safer to harden rather than soften ourselves.
Hardening, shutting down, and closing off becomes not only the norm, it becomes easier for our emotional bodies to do.
So, we hold grudges, stay angry, and resent, resent, resent.
While holding onto those feelings actually consumes more of our energy than choosing to soften into our vulnerability does, the fact that we’ve been so ingrained since childhood that vulnerability equates to a sense of weakness, closing down because more of the automatic response.
“Don’t let them see you’re hurt.”
Vulnerability involves softening into our authentic emotional state, and allowing ourselves to be witnessed there — whether it’s in honestly seeing ourselves in that place, or letting another person in enough to see us there.
Sometimes vulnerability is exposing anger we’ve been withholding but often, behind that anger even, is sadness, grief, or hurt that we’ve been afraid of expressing.
Allowing ourselves to express our sadness, grief, or hurt in the safety of our own space with ourselves or with someone else, never knowing how they might take it is inherently vulnerable.
The reality is that there is a deep seated risk within being vulnerable, especially with another, which is that it might be met with insensitivity, coldness or a closed heart rather than the love we’re seeking from them.
Recently, I was met with insensitivity, coldness, and a closed heart in the face of having shared deep vulnerable emotions and the reality of my feelings with someone.
All I received was a metaphorical closed door and frigid, resentful emotion.
Immediately, I regretted being vulnerable, I regretted opening my heart, and I regretting allowing myself to be seen so intimately by this person.
My ego felt intensely bruised
I felt less than.
A sense of being deeply unseen, unmet and hurt washed over me.
I thought of all the ways I could retaliate to try and feel like I had the upper hand again, to reclaim my power, and essentially to take back my vulnerability.
But then, I realized —
There was no need to try and reclaim my power from this person, just because they didn’t meet me with the reciprocation of vulnerability I was hoping for.
What I had just done, was exercise my power to it’s fullest.
If our vulnerability is indeed our strength, I had just claimed the greatest extend of my personal power — not power over, but simply power engaged — by dropping into my most vulnerable place and sharing that.
Maybe even more-so, because I wasn’t met with the same vulnerability in response and I survived.
While it hurts when we aren’t met with the response to our vulnerability that we might be hoping for, at the end of the day it doesn’t entirely matter how that person responds, receives or reacts to it because it doesn’t take any power away from our act of vulnerability.
Not only that, I think it strengthens us even more because we lick our wounds and have the opportunity to make the choice to keep softening into our vulnerability with ourselves and with others, knowing that we’ve been hurt in that place but we’re choosing to stay open and loving no matter what.
We should never allow one person’s insensitive reaction scare us entirely away from our ability to be vulnerable.
Maybe we give ourselves some time to heal from the wounding, but then we pick ourselves back up and head out into the world again, hearts forward.
Just because one person was unable to reciprocate our vulnerability says absolutely nothing about us.
It says everything about them.
So, I say — keep being vulnerable as hell.
It’s our strength and power, regardless of what others do in the face of it.” ~ Alexandra Schueler