What It Is To Be Vulnerable
Every once and while, I start thinking about why it is that I keep to myself so often, or what it is that makes people so closed-off to being emotionally involved in some of life’s big endeavors. Building relationships, shooting for a career goal, or just simply allowing your self to cry can seem so scary and wrong. I’ve come across a lot of young people like myself that describe this wall that they put up for themselves to avoid any “hurt” because of past failures or sheer fear of what “could” happen. But why do we limit ourselves to feel something or reach towards something almost untouchable?
It’s a fear of vulnerability, and I’ll admit that I’m terrified of it.
What I’ve learned in my life thus far is that sometimes allowing yourself to be vulnerable makes you feel like you’ve laid every insecurity and doubt you have onto a table, only to have it subject to ridicule and rejection. It’s some scary shit. If you’ve ever had to be the first to act in any aspect of a relationship, you know what I’m talking about. You can easily go from feeling like an open book to someone or something to instantly feeling like a gigantic open wound.
By allowing yourself to be vulnerable, you run the risk of being taken advantage of, which is probably the worst of all because you don’t always notice it. By offering your whole self, you leave behind any defense, and you could be left manipulated, disappointed, and ultimately sad. Take, for example, a man in love with a woman. She could easily use his love as a ploy to get what she wants, whether it be money or attention, and leave him in a relationship blinded by her lack of respect and mutual love. I’ve heard so many people tell me that they’re terrified of liking someone so much because it makes them feel out of control when it comes to their emotions; and therefore, their decisions. Additionally, people tend to be more hesitant when reaching towards a goal because of being scared of maybe never reaching it. People pull themselves away from something so potentially wonderful out of the fear of temporary pain.
A Lesson for a Lifetime
I think this is probably one of the biggest challenges that I’ve faced while growing up. I’ve had my fair share of disappointment, and I never felt that I was bitter about anything that happened, but I did notice that it was possible to be a happy person with a closed door to your vulnerable self. You maintain a positive attitude in regards to everything but you limit yourself when it comes to things that could take away the positivity, and in turn, stunt your emotional growth. You’re scared of the hurt because you doubt your ability to overcome it.
Today, I watched a Ted Talk with Brene Brown called “The Power of Vulnerability,” and what she explained ignited something in me being the realization that numbing vulnerability also means that we also numb happiness. You cannot possibly experience the ultimate joy of something if you don’t allow room for it. And right there is where you must become vulnerable for vulnerability is the root of it all. You cannot think about what could happen in any situation that you feel exposed because, “that’s life”. You can’t live in fear of feeling something so intensely because then you won’t be able to experience the possible euphoria it could produce.
The truth is, everything that happens won’t be good. You will feel hurt, and you will be disappointed. You must also be confident in the fact that you will feel same level of intensity of the opposite feeling. Brown explained that you must have a strong feeling of “self worth,” and to know that you deserve to have what you desire. Vulnerability isn’t filled with guarantees, hardly anything ever is.
Here’s a link to the TedTalk