Vulnerability

Vulnerability is defined as the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.  Why would any of us choose to be vulnerable?  The truth is, it is by becoming vulnerable that we enter into the most intimate of relationships, the relationship with ourselves.  It is by becoming vulnerable that we learn truths about our wants and needs.

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.

Madeleine L’Engle

Many people struggle with vulnerability. If you tend to keep things bottled up or ignore problems, it is important to learn how to be vulnerable. Not only is it a key to self-growth, but vulnerability can also help you become more intimate in relationships and possibly gain new outlooks on your life.  

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Some possible signs that you are avoiding vulnerability:

  • You refrain from intimate, deep conversations.
  • You remain in a dull, boring job because you don’t want to disappoint others.
  • Your wardrobe is plain, dull, or dark so you don’t stand out.
  • You avoid eye contact with strangers.
  • You don’t take care of your physical body because you don’t want to be noticed.
  • You don’t risk asking someone out because of the possible ostracism.

Being vulnerable is not easy.  It involves sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings with others in ways that may lead to rejection. We have all experienced times in our lives when people respond to us in unkind ways.  It is by experiencing these hurts that we learn who we can trust and who deserves our confidences.  

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During this pandemic/quarantine time we are all feeling vulnerable in a different way.  this is a physical vulnerability.  One that most of us are not used to feeling.  This feeling that we might become infected with a dangerous virus has us feeling very vulnerable.  Recognizing and admitting this feeling is an important step to maintaining your peace of mind during this time.  Doing all that you can to remain healthy is important in lessening your vulnerability.  

Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness but rather can be your greatest strength.  Vulnerability is having the determination to be present even when we have no control over the outcome.  Every one of us is vulnerable at some point in our lives.  It allows us to build trust in others and to become fully engaged in an intimate connection with another person. 

I remember ‘vulnerability’ being an unattractive word for most of my life, and I resented it as a direction coming from a director just because it implied weakness so I get the job. But it is that humbling place that creates compassion.

Diane Lane

Being vulnerable in a relationship means allowing another person to know your thoughts, feelings, challenges, and weaknesses. It can be frightening to show those sides to your partner out of fear of being criticized.  However, true intimacy is achieved when we are fully known, accepted, supported and loved. It is worth the risk if the person is worthy of your vulnerability.  

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