Vulnerability has been a recurrent theme in my life for the last few months and in 2013 I gave myself to it entirely. I vowed to be brave, even and especially when it scared me. Can I just say...be careful what you ask for. Ever since I've had opportunity after opportunity to become comfortable with discomfort, to push forward despite my fears, and I'm not even a month in!
Vulnerability is about so much more than opening up. It's about confronting dysfunctions and long held beliefs, moving forward despite those, and taking risks. We're all a little scared of being vulnerable, and below are six reasons why.
- It pushes us toward consistency. Most of us, if we're honest, change parts of ourselves depending on what groups we're with. This is not to be confused with the wisdom to know how open we can be with a given group of people. Jesus had his inner circle. But to be vulnerable here would be to remain consistently ourselves and accept the reaction.
- It forces us to confront co-dependency . Co-dependency says, "I'm not okay if you're not okay." If there's one thing I struggle with the most, it's this. Somewhere along the line I accepted the lie that being myself would come at the cost of others happiness. I was owning their reactions. Co-dependency says I have power over you and vice versa. The reality is some people won't like our vulnerability, some will be envious, and others simply bothered by a change in status quot. That's their choice, which leads me to....
- It makes us own our choices. It's so much easier to play the blame game when it comes to choices, hiding behind care-taking and people pleasing, blaming others for unmet goals or dreams. Being vulnerable means opening up about our struggles and owning the choices we've made, for better or worse.
- It might mean failure. Not every venture, dream, or relationship will work out, no matter how vulnerable or risky we are. Thomas Edison proudly proclaimed, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Most of us believe that if we fail, it will say something about who we are. Not trying says more.
- It might hurt. To be vulnerable is to put ourselves at risk of all that we've previously protected ourselves from. The lie is that if we are hurt, we won't recover. The truth is, we tend to underestimate both our strength and resources. Hurt and pain are a part of life, as are joy and love. Without risking the hurt, you can't get the others.
- It's uncomfortable. We're taught from birth to seek comfort. When we're hungry, someone feeds us, when we're dirty we get changed. And as we get older we learn to seek our own comfort, but a life lived vulnerably is not always comfortable. In fact, quite the opposite! Vulnerability and discomfort go hand in hand as we push ourselves past our fears and anxieties, into the people we were created to be.
Just typing these made my hands all cold and clammy. But like I said in an earlier post, I'm letting fear guide me, and it's saying 'move forward anyway.'
Here goes everything...