“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
I have four friends I consider to be my closest in the world, women I can fully be myself with at all times and who love me unconditionally (a rare and precious gift). Now, It’s not that I’m someone else with other people it’s just that I’ve learned to be cautious, and play nice, in the greater good of the world. Showing only the upbeat parts of myself and squandering all less “desirable” aspects. I quickly learned as an extremely emotional child (I’m all water signs) that expressing my emotions could burden others and, as such, to hide certain aspects of myself was to be safe.
The problem with being safe, is that you never feel seen.
It takes courage to show up as your true self. And I’m not just talking about with strangers or co-workers, but with loved-ones. To show up with partners, close-friends, parents,siblings, those who have earned your trust and the right to see the real you.
To live authentically is to be vulnerable.
It’s far from an easy feat to be vulnerable with others. It’s also a task you have to keep committing to, it’s not a one time thing. To consistently show up as you are and be vulnerable takes commitment and courage.
I recently found myself trapped by own fear of being vulnerable. I’ve been in a big growing point of my life and have recently found myself having to make (once-again) life changing decisions that utterly scare the crap out of me. I was having a really hard time and instead of reaching out to share my vulnerability with my close friends I tried to appear cool, calm and collected. I thought by not sharing how scared I was I was protecting them; keeping them safe from the burden of my negative feelings.
While, in reality I was hurting them and our friendships more by not being honest about my fear. I was denying my friends the gift of my vulnerability, the opportunity for them to be present and compassionate for me. Because, it truly is a gift to let others see us in our authentic states, to share not only our strengths, but the truly messy parts of ourselves. To let other’s recognize their own humanity within us and the human soul’s depth for love.
There is a misconception that one day you’ll stop being vulnerable. That we’ll just stop caring what other people think and suddenly we’ll be immune to vulnerability. Maybe that’s true in a more superficial light, but i would argue that our core need to feel seen and to connect with others is always there. That we all share a desire to be seen and loved for who we are in any given moment.
That life is not meant to be spent alone and hiding aspects of yourself from others, that to live is to have courage and to live is to be vulnerable.
Who have you been vulnerable with lately?