Vulnerability. The definition is being susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. With a definition like that why in the world would anyone want to be vulnerable? It is no wonder why we are all guarding ourselves, guarding our hearts.
I remember when I was most open to attack, exposed. It was about 11 years ago and I had been dumped after less than a year of marriage. There was nothing that I could do to try to pull it together. I was a mess. I felt like my world had crumbled. I remember crying any and everywhere. I couldn't pretend that I had my shit together. I didn't. I was devastated. I remember feeling this deep sense of strength in owning where I was. In my moments of absolute breakdown I felt whole. I felt authentic. I felt real. I wasn't censoring myself.
I feel this way more often than not at this point in my life… whether I am teaching classes, coaching clients or speaking to large groups or simply hanging with friends. I lose myself and just am. I know that when I feel that connected to soul, spirit, the whole, I have put away ego and caring what judgments are out there waiting to be placed on me. Fear is gone and all is filled with love. There is nothing more freeing than being embraced inside and out by love. It is overwhelmingly calming and exhilarating all at once.
There are still areas where I hold back, where I don't let go. In these moments I work on pushing through the fear or being susceptible to attack by realizing that when you are open you are open to love, not just harm. The fact that the definition is so focused on the negative keeps all of us a bit paralyzed around letting go and being open. The very word itself has attack as it's definition. Why would you want to be vulnerable…? Isn't that setting yourself up to be hurt. Well, I want you to think about it like this. Being open means you are receptive. You can choose what sticks, you can choose what hurts, you can choose to believe that everything is really benefitting you… and not harming. You can choose to feel the fear and do it anyway.
Recently I wrote about some of my fears around vulnerability. Here is an excerpt: "I am working on risking, being absolutely open with all of my feelings. I am getting back to being vulnerable, strong. I am reclaiming whatever life and love I gave away when I let fear of rejection matter more and paralyze me. I honestly am tired of feeling fear around caring. It's awful. Caring is so wonderful. Love is so magical and healing. So, you will get letters from me until I am brave enough to speak my heart without feeling like I will be judged, made fun of, rejected, laughed at or told that I am wrong, too girly, weak, or alone in my feelings. These are my fears. I know that this is a part of my healing and a part of me getting to the place where I am in front of that crowd, teaching. Exposed. Strong. Vulnerable. Grounded. Ready."
What are your fears around vulnerability? What scares you?