The word alone seems to make some people cringe. What is it about getting down to the nitty gritty and sharing our bare selves and souls that makes it so scary or a reason for flight? It is defined as easily hurt or harmed physically, mentally, or emotionally or open to attack, harm, or damage per Merriam Webster. I see so many of us attempt to run from this avenue versus embracing it. What is it that concerns us most about this action or state of being?
I am going to say the number one cause of me not being vulnerable with a person is the concern of being hurt or not accepted. The question is how we get past this to allow ourselves to get to know people on a deeper level. Is it through accepting ourselves? Is it by better evaluating those relationships to see if there is a need to allow yourself to open up on a deeper level? I wonder what most of us stand to lose. I am going to go out on a limb and say that most of us don’t reveal that side of ourselves due to not wanting to share our story. As the Christian based song goes, you don’t know my story… The things that I’ve come through. When I envision the idea of being vulnerable I admit, I don’t allow everyone into that part of me. The reason is that I am not always ready to allow someone into that part of me.
I believe that when we open ourselves up to be vulnerable, the true us is released. It is hard to live with a wall of concern always up. You find yourself constantly worried about what someone will think or repeat and unsure how you will be viewed. I have noticed the people that don’t appear to be so concerned with being vulnerable are the ones that have dealt with past issues and are willing to share their story to help someone else. They understand that shedding a tear with someone while they discuss their fears doesn’t make them weak, in fact it enhances the nature of that relationship. Folks the moment you have to protect yourself from being vulnerable, you are having to cover daily, every minute, every second of who you are. I am saying all of this to say… breathe and enjoy life. One day sooner or later your lungs will fill one last time and you will never have a chance to connect to another soul. I would say that being vulnerable allows you to be free to follow what your path is. I don’t know who you pray to or if you believe in a higher power, but whoever or whatever that is… how much deeper does your connection come when you just let it all out. It makes me think of a time in college after overcoming some things with an ill parent, losing my grandparents, and facing the concern of crossing that stage being overwhelmed with emotion. I got home and fell on my bed and must have cried harder than I think I had allowed myself in so long. I prayed like I hadn’t in years. I was so tired of being put together and taking on things that weren’t for me to figure out… Don’t let yourself get there folks. Drop to that knee and say a prayer and be vulnerable with that higher power. God doesn’t judge us for crying, sharing our weaknesses, fears, confirming we are tired, and/or admitting we are unsure of where to go next. I know you can’t do this in all relationships, but when you think about friendships, partnerships; how do you get to know people on a deeper level without this? Are you blocking yourself from those connections and opportunities to grow?
I recently had a meeting with someone about my next steps for Roots to the Soul and I recall as she was talking with me and asking to get to my core tears came to my eyes. Imagine how embarrassed I was to be tearing up in front of someone I was meeting for the first time and asking for guidance from. She never batted an eye or came off opposed as she was listening to my story and my reason for blogging, writing, wanting to grow in certain avenues. Instead, she said it was good and that it gave her an idea of why I am trying to move forward in the things I am. If you know me at all, you know I apologized for this over and over. She never insinuated that it was an issue or a problem. However, what I can say is that the advice she gave me was different from the direction others had given me. She gave me some homework and steps to take to work on that path and even asked me to keep her updated from time to time. She had no idea how much it touched me for being able to be just met while talking and sharing ideas with her. If she had reacted in disgust or become uncomfortable then I can’t be sure that I would be able to share my story as I am learning to do.
Keep in mind that being vulnerable is not a charity piece. You don’t need to do this with everyone. Evaluate the situation. If you are newly dating someone, it may not be the best time to share every skeleton in your closet. If you are just starting a friendship, you may not want to dump the heavy stuff on them. Give it time in your relationships and allow them to grow based on their purpose, be mindful who you allow yourself to be vulnerable with as it is not for everyone and every situation. Stop trying to share a piece of yourself with someone else that has shown they are not open to that. As I have witnessed, men have to be careful not to show a women she can’t be vulnerable with them as once she is aware of that, she won’t be and he may be left trying to figure out what changed. Some women adapt to the situation and handle people the way they put out there they prefer to handled. If you proclaim to be for everyone and when the opportunity presents itself, you fight it tooth and nail… you aren’t being vulnerable, you seem confused in who you are. Stop forcing yourself to open up and being vulnerable with someone who has shown no interest in small talk or you. In rare situations you being vulnerable with these parties will make a break through. True enough some of them are just suffering and need to know someone understands. However, some really don’t have your interest in mind it is ok to admit and acknowledge that.
For those of us out here making an impact, sharing views, promoting products keep in mind that us being vulnerable is different as we are expected to be able to get down to it and open up. It is like a female getting off from work, getting home and washing the makeup off her face and changing into something comfy and putting her hair up in a ponytail. That is the person you want to get to know. Who is the person underneath the corporate layer, the dad layer, the sister layer, the radio personality layer, etc.