Ahh, a fresh tall glass of vulnerability.
Exactly what we need while adulting, right?
I’ve heard time and time again, in different ways, that vulnerability is a part of the process. It’s a part of the process of opening up the heart, of being in the moment, of working through traumas, of connecting with others, of feeling life, of living.
Vulnerability is a process of its own—it is so easy to believe we’re there, but it’s deeper than we think. Vulnerability is like a deep well with no end in sight, that echoes back our darkest fears. It’s a never–ending process, like most roads in life. There is a positive way to experience vulnerability, though.
Please don’t run away yet.
Vulnerable is defined as “capable of being physically or emotionally wounded” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
Let me be clear. The vulnerable term I’m speaking about here is referring to making yourself open to being emotionally wounded. But why would we want to allow someone to have the slightest chance of hurting us? Let’s start by breaking down the process of opening up to vulnerability to understand its importance. I will use myself as an example.
I have noticed the transition of being happily open to slowly closing up as years passed. I learned to block myself off from entering certain situations from my fear of getting hurt. I thought that if I did this, it would allow me to avoid having to go through the process that comes after, simply because I felt like I didn’t have time for that.
My past has conditioned me to be “tougher,” “harder,” and “stronger”—I’m sure everyone feels this.
I had also made it a habit to discourage negative thoughts and feelings. I thought I was avoiding opening myself up to life because I didn’t have time to process the aftermath of getting hurt. But what I was really doing was creating layer after layer of which I would have to sort through later on.
The result that comes from avoiding vulnerability is numbness. It’s stress. It’s physical tension. It’s mental and emotional suppression.
I remember having ear-to-ear smiles most of the time, loving people the moment I met them, laughing at almost everything, and being excited for all of life. A couple of years and a couple of hurtful situations later my smile dimmed and I lacked trust.
There are so many layers that create this hard shell that we believe is protecting us.
I was the one creating this shell with my aversion toward life’s typical situations. My moments, my days, my life will never be perfect. All the feelings that come along with those experiences are meant to be felt.
Meditation introduced me to this thought. The simple act of meditation is a practice that reintroduced me to my vulnerable self that was locked up. Through this practice I was able to water the seeds of self love.
There’s a strong link between self love and vulnerability. Self love is a container, an invisible safe space, a super power that we all have the ability to call upon. To me, self love is an understanding of the cause and effect of our complex and habitual inner workings.
It comes with acceptance and forgiveness. Its energy creates a safe space around us and whatever brews within, is welcome for the amount of time needed as we observe it with gentle attention.
This practice and cultivation turns us inward, creating a relationship with the self that is crucial in life. Without this, our perception of life is distorted. It is almost impossible to live life through our own experience because it is an easy habit to focus on others or to judge ourselves.
Comparison in this day and age with all of the social media apps we have on our phone is inevitable. Cultivating self love is such a precious act and it shows genuine gratitude toward life.
I have found that the best way to be with vulnerability is through the process of entering one’s self, of being alone and allowing past pains, hurtful situations, and even traumas to come to the surface.
This may be done alone or with the assistance of a coach or therapist. I would definitely recommend assistance when dealing with trauma. I have sat for hours and nights alone in silence cultivating space for my inner self to speak up and tell me what I need to know. I have made it clear that I am here, I am listening, I am important and so are my feelings.
This is self love.
When we create this intimate connection, it cultivates trust. Through these moments with oneself, we bond. Humans miss the importance of being alone, of being quiet. There isn’t enough emphasis placed on the value of the importance of our inner selves.
I have noticed that my personal perception relies on time spent with myself. All of the stimulation around us minimizes the ability to understand what and how we feel clearly. Let me explain through a simple example.
When someone you love doesn’t give you the attention you want or expect, do you get upset? The typical answer would probably be, “of course.” That’s okay.
It’s how we go about it after the initial response that explains the importance of self love within vulnerability. If we cultivate the anger by feeding the story in our head, then this is a red flag.
What’s really going on here is that you’re looking for love that’s lacking within and blame is being placed on someone else. Instead of directing the focus within, the focus is being directed outward to avoid all the work that may need to be done within.
I understand—it’s unbearable to sort through all that inner “stuff.” But it’s worth it. Everything changes.
When someone hurts you after you opened up to them or doesn’t end up being who you expect them to be, you understand that it’s okay. You understand that everyone has the right to their choices.
If it’s something you don’t accept, through self love, you’ll probably choose to move on because you know what you want and deserve.
You know this through those moments of bonding with yourself. The trust you have cultivated through these moments will be taken into consideration. When you honor that trust, all areas of your life will develop.
Vulnerability is here for you to fully experience life, for you to learn your lessons, for you to evolve. It is here to help you connect with the outer and inner world, to connect with others and ourself.
Vulnerability is beautiful and beauty is the ability to experience life.
Author: Haila R. Macedo
Image: Author’s Own
Editor: Sara Kärpänen
Copy Editor: Danielle Beutell
Social Editor: Khara-Jade Warren