I can’t speak to everyone’s experience… but I think it’s fair to say that if others have exploited our vulnerability in the past, we might be a bit wary of being vulnerable again.
Some view vulnerability as a sign of weakness. But the truth is, vulnerability takes courage. It means we’re exposing ourself to another, for the purpose of having a more open-hearted, transparent dialog that may well lead to any one of a number of positive outcomes. For instance:
- A deeper connection to our feelings. In an intimate relationship, for instance, we may be able to lower our resistance to loving and receiving love more wildly and fully.
- Developing an awareness and understanding of self-limiting, hidden inner messages.. and perhaps taking a step towards healing them. For instance,
- I’m not good enough
- I’m not lovable
- I’m not worthy
- Allowing ourselves to feel our feelings more deeply and transcend them. Crying out loud, for instance, is a great energetic healing process for grief… say, for loss of a loved one.
But – again, none of us wants to be vulnerable in an unsafe environment. So, discernment is key to knowing what’s safe and what’s not. Its probably safe to be vulnerable with a therapist, or in a support group. It’s probably not so safe to be vulnerable with a friend prone to judgment, or a brand new lover before the relationship has time to develop and blossom.
A total resistance to vulnerability, by comparison, can be very self-damaging. When we’re experiencing deep feelings, it’s beneficial to express them to someone else… as an alternative to sitting on them. Many (most?) suicides are attributable to people who chose to stuff their feelings rather than expressing them.
But the bottom line is, there’s nearly always an element of risk to being vulnerable. Discernment is key, and courage is necessary to move forward when the potential benefit outweighs the risk.