The Risk of Vulnerability
The word that has been coming up a lot in my life over the past month has been, vulnerability. I have been dealing with the difficulties of being completely vulnerable with those I love the most. If I ask how many of you have been hurt before by someone, you would all say simultaneously that you have. We have all been hurt by someone close to us, because we aren’t perfect. We have also been the ones to hurt others as well. When we have been deeply hurt, it is easy to close yourself off to ever feeling that way again. So we hide our heart, and seal it up to escape any chance of being hurt again. However, when we do this we also miss out on the chance for real, deep, and strong friendships. When you aren’t vulnerable with someone, your friendship can only go so far. You can’t strengthen it, or really allow someone into your heart without vulnerability.
If we know all of this to be true, why is it that we still choose to refrain from being vulnerable? When I look back on past relationships that wrecked me, I look at my life now and see patterns I have formed as a result of those hurts. I am more guarded in certain areas, certain circumstances affect me more that they would affect others, and the biggest one is that I find myself being afraid to be vulnerable. I am afraid to share my feelings, whether good or bad. Once you allow someone past your wall, they're in and they have full access to hurt you. But, they also have full access to love you deeper. However, we normally think of the bad. “If I’m vulnerable with this person, there’s a greater chance of me getting hurt.” If you’ve read another one of my posts titled “Discovering Yourself” I talked about how I was terrified of getting heartbroken, but it’s something you can’t escape no matter how many precautions you take. This is the same with vulnerability. In order to have deep, strong relationships with those around you, you have to be vulnerable with them. You share with them your deepest feelings, and thoughts and allow them into your guarded heart. When you do this, it creates a beautiful intimacy, and a stronger connection. This isn’t to be shared with everyone. However, don’t close yourself off to such a deep, and meaningful relationship.
Why are we scared of being vulnerable?
Perhaps there are a few reasons. First, being that we are afraid of letting someone in, and them hurting us after we’ve let our walls down. Once we are vulnerable with someone, we are inviting them into the depths of our hearts, where things are very serious. If someone betrays us, after we’ve let them in, then we now have to deal with the hurt of a broken heart. The next reason I think we are afraid of being vulnerable, is that we are afraid of what others might think of us if we told them our innermost thoughts, and secrets. We are afraid that their love for us, or opinion of us might change. Therefore, we remain distant from them. Lastly, another reason is we might be afraid of them not being vulnerable in return. Have you ever unloaded to someone and they just said “okay” or some other one word answer that barely counts as a reply. I have, and let me tell you, it sucks. When you are vulnerable with someone, it feels good when they are vulnerable with you in return. But like the reasons I listed above, they too probably struggle with vulnerability. Sharing your feelings with someone else isn’t easy. Look at how many conflicts arise, when people don’t talk about how and what they feel. This requires vulnerability, and in vulnerability there is risk. There is no safely. You don’t know how the person will respond, or what will happen as a result, but it is still necessary to do. You have to ask yourself, “Are they worth the risk of being hurt?” There is no security, and no assurance that it is going to go how you planned, but you can see if they are worth the risk. Often times our fear, is greater than the hurt that might follow the risk of vulnerability. We become so afraid of being vulnerable, that if we just did it, we would realize the incredible relationships we could have once we do.
We’re all hurting. We’ve all been burned before by someone close to us. Being vulnerable is difficult and requires us to trust, and see the best in the person we share our hearts with. Do you believe the best about them? Are they worth the risk of you being hurt? Do you want a deeper relationship with them? Are you willing to let them into your heart? You make the decision. I’m telling you when you are vulnerable, and your vulnerability is protected and respected, it is a beautiful thing.
I don't just mean vulnerable in your words, but also in your actions. When you allow yourself to be yourself, unafraid of the outside pressures of the world, it beautiful. Being vulnerable takes courage. Do you have the courage to be who God created you to be? If you love to sing, SING. If you love to be creative and artistic DO IT. Life is too short to be afraid of people's opinions.