Dare to be Vulnerable
Vulnerability. Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded (Merriam Webster). Being vulnerable has negative connotations in our society. Even the definition is negative. Who wants to be wounded emotionally or physically? The problem is, if we’re cut off from being hurt, sometimes that can be more damaging then the risks we take when we’re vulnerable.
We don’t always realize it, but we make ourselves vulnerable all the time. Whenever we let someone in, we’re being vulnerable. Whenever we tell someone something intimate, or about something that matters to us, we’re being vulnerable. We’re letting other people in who may not want to be let in. We don’t know how they will react. They could react extremely negatively, yet we’re told to share our feelings with others and not to keep things bottled up. But being vulnerable still seems like a bad thing. Like we’re in a weakened position if we admit that we are vulnerable.
A while ago, I wrote this post about how I wasn’t doing so well in life. It’s not the kind of post I write all the time, but I wanted to share how I was feeling that day. I guess I was being vulnerable. But the reason I’m writing this post (that you’re reading) is that one person commented on Google plus (who I won’t name, but you can probably find it if you want to), that I shouldn’t have posted it. That I should stop. That I should tell everyone how great my life is going rather than sharing what is actually happening at the moment. Now I get that if all I did on my blog was talk about how crappy I thought my life was, that it would get pretty old pretty fast. But I don’t do that. I hardly ever put posts like that up. But that’s not really the point I want to get at. What really bothered me about the comment is the suggestion I tell others how great my life is going, as if that’s all other people want to hear about. Because people who are struggling with something definitely want to hear about how great this other person’s life is. Not to mention how unhealthy it is for the person if they’re just pretending all the time about their life. I mean, what’s the point of having a blog if you can’t even post how you really feel on it once in a while?
I’m not advocating that people talk about their problems all the time, or always talk about the bad parts of their life, but I don’t see the harm in posting that once in a while. Personally I think it makes the person more human. They have problems just like everyone else. Especially if they learn to overcome them it can be quite inspiring. But none of that would happen if they didn’t put themselves out there and allow themselves to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability in my opinion is not something to be feared or avoided. Not being vulnerable may make us feel safe, but it also cuts us off from that potential human connection. If we never share anything personal with anyone, then we can never grow closer to them and have a strong connection with them. Perhaps the internet is not the right place to be vulnerable, but at the same time it’s where so many people who are feeling vulnerable, or afraid, or alone go to in search of something. And if we have to pretend, or avoid sharing our dark moments then how are those people ever supposed to find hope? Maybe reading about someone going through something similar will help them in some small way. Or maybe it won’t. Maybe they’re just looking for distractions from life.
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Photo Credit: Davide Restivo (bottom photo) Rose #3 via photopin (license)