Have you ever LOLed at lousy jokes, forced a smile and chose your words carefully when all you wanted was to scream. If, like me, you also spend precious time in front of the mirror, fixing your hair, sifting through your closet for that flattering outfit and adjusting your face. Even though our worlds are falling apart, we hold our heads high, convincing ourselves and the world we have everything under control - that we are doing OK. The mere thought of revealing our scars, internal displacement and confusion terrifies us. Yet, deep within, a rippling volcano is waiting to erupt. All it takes is a little prod on the right spot for everything to turn into a pile of ashes. And when that happens, those around us wonder what the hell happened.
‘How could such a well-put-together woman or man snap like that?’
Well, I reckon it’s because we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable when it matters.
To understand vulnerability is to draw from my experience and the experience of others. I have learnt that embracing our vulnerable side takes courage and could be the bravest thing we’ve ever done. I have not seen a single human being who does not want to be accepted for who they are, warts and all? And yet, we hesitate to reveal our true authentic selves to the people in our lives. To those that matter the most. The ones from whom we crave complete acceptance, love and comfort. Perhaps we can blame the fear of rejection and judgement. Rejection sucks, and so do snide comments and wagging tongues.
So, we hide behind fake smiles and the so-called polite conversation.
But the times I’ve been brave enough to embrace vulnerability have been the most liberating. Since then, I’ve discovered the true meaning of embracing my vulnerable side and what it entails.
Embracing your vulnerable side means not sitting on the sidelines, wishing and hoping for something to come to you. Instead, it is daring to reach out, ask and reveal yourself, your desires, and your wants. It is daring to confess your feelings, to love someone with all your heart even though there is no guarantee they will love you in return.
It is being flawed, revealing your true authentic self, and giving someone a choice - to fall in love with who you are and not who you think they want you to be. It’s taking that leap of faith as you go after what your heart desires.
Being vulnerable also means looking someone in the eye, confessing all your deepest fears, standing in front of them, admitting your wrongs and asking them to forgive you. Of course, we can’t always tell how others will perceive us when we lay our hearts and souls bare, but vulnerability embraces trust. Trust that they will appreciate you and your efforts and brave move regardless of the outcome.
Have you ever had to shed tears in front of someone? If you’re anything like me, you probably have. Being vulnerable is being able to cry in front of your pastor, your friend, your wife or indeed your boss without having to worry if they will think any less of you. It’s being able to turn to someone and admit that you are hurting, you need help, you can’t cope, and you’ve had enough. It’s letting them see you in your weakest state, allowing yourself to feel what you feel without fear of being judged.
I reckon if we all exercised a healthy amount of vulnerability in our lives, the world would be a better place. If only we could allow ourselves to be who we are, feel what we feel, and say what we want and need to say; I trust there would be fewer suicides, crimes of passion, abortions, resentment, pride, anger, and frustration, among other things.