Why are we all so afraid of our vulnerabilities?
Are we afraid that others won’t accept us? Or afraid that they will abandon us? Maybe, we even fear retribution.
Any way you slice it, fear is at the root of our tendency to close ourselves off. We see vulnerability as weakness, and therefore, we fear it’s exploitation. But what if we’ve been thinking about vulnerabilities wrong? What if they’re not a weakness at all, but instead, a strength?
If I have a vulnerability, there’s a strong likelihood that someone out there has it, too. There is power in numbers. Sharing these susceptibilities makes me relatable, not alone. As we wonder if we’re the only ones, we become closed books full of stories untold. If we’d simply open up, we’d see the library around us. We believe we know the way with only one story, and we don’t challenge ourselves to think outside our comfort zone.
Comfort is as bad as fear.
So, I challenge you to take a minute and study your soft spots. What makes you feel sensitive?
Now, if you thought of bad habits, you’re probably thinking about the issue wrong. Bad habits are just that: habits. They’re behaviours, not personality traits. Take smoking for example. If I thought, “I’m really self-conscious of my smoking habit,” I should then ask myself why?
I’d think, “I don’t want to be judged, and I know that smoking is bad for me.”
Then, I should ask, why do I do it?
My answer? “To distract myself from stressful situations.”
If I can get to the root of a habit, I can create a plan to overcome it. Then, it is no longer a habit of mine. I changed it. Therefore, it is a behavior and not truly a part of me.
The vulnerabilities I’m talking about are the basis of bad habits. I just need to ask myself, what am I distracting myself from?
For me, loneliness is a huge vulnerability. I never want to admit that I need people.
When I say the words aloud, they sound funny. Like, how can I be lonely when about half the planet is lonely, too? We’re in the library, thinking we’re alone again.
Admitting our fears is the root of most vulnerabilities, so embrace it! Embrace the fear and know we all feel the same insecurities to some degree. I think we all feel relieved when someone admits that they’re feeling scared, too. The simple act of admitting that we fear something can bond us beyond belief, whether it’s with our co-workers or our loved ones.
Admitting that you have vulnerabilities is the best way to live.
It’s like an embarrassing nickname. The more you resist it, the more it pops up. But if you embrace it and call yourself the name, people suddenly embrace it too or lose interest in using it against you. When you wear your heart on your sleeve, you take the power back.
A vulnerability can’t be a weakness if no one can use it against you. Once you can accept it as a part of you, you’ll never let someone shame you for it. Make your vulnerability a simple fact about you, like a page in your biography. You wouldn’t let someone shame you for having a foot, would you? Of course not!
If you can’t accept a part of you, then do the work to change it. Anything in between acceptance and change makes you miserable. Worry, silence, and shame are not fun places to live.
Being openly vulnerable is freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from the fear of discovery. Your secrets don’t have to be some big reveal once you’ve dated someone for a certain amount of time. They can simply be there like the dimples on your cheeks. And smile you will when you share that part of you! Revealing your deepest insecurities is a freedom like no other, and I want the world to feel it. Maybe, if we share our soft spots together, the world will become a little softer, too.