I was just told something so simple and true.
Just a simple one-liner, yet for me, it carried so much surprise, weight, and realization.
I could’ve put it aside, forgotten it, disregarded, but instead, I opened myself to the meaning of the words, how they can help me.
It was scary. To be that open, accepting, vulnerable.
And it hurts. It really, really hurts.
All the hard work I thought I was building up and have done for years, shaken and crumbled by one seemingly innocent sentence.
Thoughts and feelings were jumbled, came rushing up, rising from the surface. Questions filled my mind.
Confused and surprised. I was not expecting it at that situation and circumstance. And to think I wear my heart on my sleeve. God knows what my face looked like at the time.
The conversation? Defused with a challenge, looks in the eyes, and laughter.
My Heart and Soul? Weighed heavy and hurt by being confronted, stripped of all defenses and laid bare. Shields pierced through by spoken spears.
And I ask myself, why did it hurt so much? Maybe it was a challenging statement, or one meant to simply be an observation. Yet, why do I still carry it to this time, burdened by the thought and implications of it?
The words were not important, but what they meant did.
Because, deep, deep down in the truest parts of my heart and soul, what was said was true.
It’s been a long time since I felt complete chills on my body, my gut growing cold, and my heart weighing heavy because of the words of another. That was my body’s reaction to the evisceration; my guts and insides taken out and laid all out. The stripping down and destruction of my masks, defenses, and walls.
I describe it as some violent event, and for my emotions and feelings, it probably was, but that moment also felt like I was looking at a mirror. That the person was, in some respect, I considered to be similar to me, the same as me.
It hurt so much because it felt like I was the one speaking to myself. That there was nothing to hide, and all was known.
To some degree, we’ve all been there, that state of total vulnerability, of weakness and openness.
Vulnerability Reminds You Of Your Place
We are not all-powerful and all-encompassing alone, no matter what we do. We are not perfect. No one is. We all have weaknesses, hurts and fears. We are only human, yet capable of doing great things.
Vulnerability Offers Chance For Growth
To recognize and accept that you are not perfect, is an invitation for growth and progress. Introspection can provide learning, reflection, and a foundation. Action provides forward motion, realization, and progress. To accept weakness and vulnerability as a part of life, is to first step towards authentic strength.
It will hurt, and it can be confusing. It can be like being torn apart piece by piece, part by part, belief by belief. Only so it can be put back together better, stronger, wiser.
Vulnerability Allows Us To Connect
What’s the most universal human emotion?
And no, it’s not love.
We all have it, we all feel it, maybe some more than others, and for different reasons. Allowing one’s self to be vulnerable creates an attitude and disposition that allows us to connect, be open and present to others. To be there for them, because you know how hard life can be, and how painful things can get. To make them feel listened to, make them feel understood and accepted. That is such a blessing and a grace. The world needs more great listeners and connect-ers.
Vulnerability Lends Us Credibility
Been there, done that. Sharing stories, of success and of failure. Stories of Experiences, How-to, How-not-to, and Yes-I’d-love-to. Credibility is about building trust. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable allows others to connect, and to build trust with us. People who have an acceptance of their own weaknesses and strengths, of their own failures and successes, are more trustworthy in the eyes of others. People who are open and willing to listen and accept others have an easier time building trust with others.
Vulnerability Gives Us Strength
Sometimes, it’s not about keeping up defenses and walls, and looking well put together. Strength, true strength, is about letting go.
Letting go of fakeness, masks, and defenses. Letting go of the need to be perfect, the need to be right. Letting go of our preconceived ideas about ourselves, our lives, as well as about others and their lives.
It’s also about letting go of pain and hurt we’ve grown comfortable with. That we feel we would not be able to live without. It’s learning how to stand on your own two feet after the wheelchairs, casts, and crutches have all been left behind.
Letting go of excuses.
To allow one’s self to be vulnerable and comfortably authentic, is to be truly strong.
Vulnerability Enables Us To Love
In the same way that we are not perfect beings, our vulnerability and shortcomings are part of what allows other people to love us, and what allows us to love ourselves as well. It is so easy to love something perfect, and in loving our imperfect selves, and imperfect others, we are being taught how to accept and to love. It’s a winding, sometimes long, painful and possibly confusing process, but it’s worth it.
Though the most universal human emotion is pain,
I’d like to think that the most sought after human emotion is love.
Vulnerability can be a potent teacher. What has vulnerability taught you?