Vulnerability

An exploration of what it is to be vulnerable. Questioning how we, as a culture, define
vulnerability and what is present - physically, mentally, emotionally -
within us when we step into being vulnerable.

VULNERABILITY - COMMON USAGE

Taking a moment to reflect on the word vulnerable, being simply curious what words come to mind, what emotions well up, what sensations are felt, I realize the word vulnerable has a lot of baggage. The societal weight that is carried with this word is generally negative and, oftentimes, heavy.

Considering the most common interpretation of the word vulnerable is essential for recognizing why it connotes a negative frequency. Society tends to equate it with weakness and susceptibility to be harmed - which is the first definition given by most dictionaries. Add that to the over-culture’s conditioning to avoid being or showing weakness and it is no wonder why individuals are challenged with being vulnerable.

Compounding the issue is the high value placed on the concept of “pulling oneself up by the bootstraps” by the dominate culture within the United States. This eliminates any possibility of showing weakness, also understood to being vulnerable. 

From this interpretation, vulnerable carries overtones of judgement from other and, consequently, fear of that judgement. It seems to be the space in which we feel we can easily be harmed by other. And in this usage, it carries a lower vibration which, naturally, leads us to eschew the word.

However, the way in which we use any word shifts its frequency and, therefore, how it lands with the recipient. When we embrace the practice of being vulnerable we expand our consciousness. There is freedom and sovereignty found within this concept. To that end, I challenge you to shift your perception and the usage of this powerful word.

INVITATION TO PIVOT

I invite you to pivot your understanding of the word - from the accepted/common usage, to a deeper and more expansive use; and therefore, reclaim the power that is inherent in the word and, more importantly, the act of being vulnerable.

The practice of vulnerability can be empowering and is a way of being honoring both our own authenticity and tenderness, as well as our sense of personal safety and honesty. It can be a space held within each of us which allows us to respect self and other; all the while knowing, and accepting, there is a possibility of being hurt. Being vulnerable takes a great deal of humility and courage. When one is authentically vulnerable, they are quite often recognized for their strength. 

FACETS OF VULNERABLE

WITH SELF

Being vulnerable with self may be the most allusive and is quite challenging. It calls for us to feel fully and honestly - something that can be exceptionally difficult, as well as painful. 

Truly embracing vulnerability with self requires us to embody our highest expression of self. We get to resist playing small; to see, with clarity, our weaknesses and limitations, as well as, our strengths and talents. It is to get crystal clear with who we truly are and what gifts we are meant to bring to the collective.

Unfortunately, our ego resists this level of vulnerability with self. In an attempt to protect us from being hurt, the ego encourages us to sugar coat, or downright ignore, the root of our fears. It blocks us from feeling fully and honestly, from embracing the highest self; which can mean it encourages us to see ourselves through rose colored glasses.

An ongoing practice of being vulnerable with self is the only way to assuage the ego.

WITH OTHER

The act of being vulnerable with other is, at its core, to be authentically true to ourselves. It is an act of honoring other through honoring self - this is vulnerability in its utmost expression.

Magic and synchronicity are palpable when we are in relationship with another who also practices vulnerability and honoring of self. Being vulnerable comes with ease and a sense of safety when we experience this level of intimacy in relationship. Through these relationships and the sense of safety generated by them, a mirroring of self occurs which creates a fertile landscape to nurture ourselves and other. It provides the best environment for expansion of consciousness and awareness. It creates opportunities for us to grow in ways we would otherwise not be able to do. We get to nurture these relationships through our practice of vulnerability.

However, there are times when we must accept the possibility we will be hurt through the act of being vulnerable with another. During such times, we get to honor other over our desire to remain in the relative safety of anonymity and invisibility. Recognizing, any truth concealed through our inability, or resistance, to being vulnerable is, ultimately, a manipulation of energy of self and other. The reality is, the moment the other is in our auric field all is revealed.

WITH COMMUNITY

This may, possibly, carry the most risk to our sense of safety and, is, in my opinion, the scariest. To be authentically ourselves with our community puts us at greatest risk of judgment - both overt and covert. Beyond being authentic, to be vulnerable about our heart, our health (mental and physical) and/or our relationship with the world can bring unwanted criticism and shaming. It places us at greatest risk of being ostracized from our community. 

It is no wonder why most choose to remain in the shadows of façade. Yet, this, in the end, is detrimental to our personal, spiritual and emotional growth. To be vulnerable with, and within, our community requires us to be confident in who we are, to cultivate the strength in our spine to hold our heads high, regardless of the outcome.

At its highest expression, vulnerability within the community is expansive. When all are truly vulnerable a clarity is created which enriches the collective conversation and allows all to dive to even greater depths of understanding of self and other. It is like the freshness of a Spring breeze. For this reason I believe the benefits of vulnerability within the community outweigh the inherent risks.

CONUNDRUM and SO WHAT?

Living through vulnerability is one of the keys to living authentically to who we were born to be in this lifetime. Being vulnerable is, essentially, existing in truth and light. It cannot be any other way.

To honor ourself, but also other can create an inner conundrum: how to retain our own sense of safety while honoring the truth and other. The truth, I have come to accept, is we can never eliminate all ways of being hurt when we choose to be vulnerable. What we can do, is mitigate, when possible, the risk through discernment in how, when and who we are truly vulnerable with.

Guarding against being hurt or truly seen uses precious life force energy in a way that can be detrimental to our mental, physical and spiritual health. Honest, intimate connection with other, or even oneself, cannot exist without the practice of vulnerability. I am inviting you to be vulnerable in your daily interactions: to be willing to share the truth, knowing it may not unravel the way you want or expect. To do this is to honor other and to honor your future self. 

How can we honor ourself without honoring other? Through our vulnerability we claim our sovereignty.

 

FOR CONSIDERATION

  • When you hear the word, or use the word, vulnerable where do you feel it
    in your body? What images come to mind?

  • How does pivoting the use of the word feel in your body? What different
    images come to mind?

  • Do you currently practice vulnerability? 

  • What are your take-aways from a time when you were truly vulnerable?

Published 28 March 2022 | ©️All Rights Reserved