How do you feel about the word vulnerability? The other day a client of mine told me, “I hate being vulnerable, I think it’s just simply weak”. Actually, it is the exact opposite! We all feel uncomfortable feeling vulnerable, almost like exposed! But in truth life is in and of itself vulnerable. To be alive is to be vulnerable. Isn’t it? Most of us experience vulnerability daily, while others can’t remember the last time they felt vulnerable for the mere fact of them not allowing themselves to feel such emotions. So, what is it that makes some of us so terrified of it?
The truth is that the answer may be different for every single person, but I think a lot of people learn to shut down their vulnerability through negative experiences and emotional hurts. It can be a simple childhood experience in school with friends, to a devastating heartbreaking divorce or betrayal. Most of us have had some experience that has left us hurt and vulnerable and that feeling can at times really suck! It can hurt so bad that without even realizing it we start to build a wall. We mistakenly think that by keeping our emotions in and having a barrier between our heart and the thing or person(s) that we love the most, we are protected. Although this protective coping mechanism may serve us for a while, it usually does not work long term, and eventually can become a serious problem. Keeping yourself sheltered from hurt, life, and experiences will keep you stuck and lifeless. To live is to take risks!
In allowing yourself to feel vulnerable, you open more doors and it actually fuels the connections and relationships you have. I might even go as far to say that it’s a nutrient that is required for a healthy relationship. People can sense when you have a guard up, thus discouraging them from wanting to be closer to you because they can sense your “wall,” and that lack of authenticity serves as negative energy that they don’t want any parts of.
Authenticity goes hand in hand with vulnerability. When you are authentic you allow yourself to be vulnerable to be open, but you are also the happiest because the only person you have to be is YOU. We all have issues, we are all human and we all have feelings. Being able to let your guard down means you welcome love and embrace it. It means you share your deepest thoughts (both good and bad) and that you are true to yourself, just as much as you are to those you interact with.
If you are someone that is fearful of vulnerability, I challenge you to try and uncover what makes you guarded and address it. In tandem, I challenge you to break down those barriers and see how much better you will feel, as well as how your relationships may change. It’s almost guaranteed that your energy will be shift and pick up.
Having a guard can prevent you from loving relationships, friendship, business growth and even a job. How? Because people are people. You can try to fake your way through, but eventually your guard becomes overpowering and people will start to distrust you and question your motives. They will wonder what it is you have to hide and this will prevent them from getting any closer. They don’t have a key to the barrier, only you hold that power. They are “knocking,” so let them in!
I encourage you to journal about your emotions, share your fears (out-loud), even if it’s by yourself, but get that built up, negative energy OUT of the soul and start training your mind (and heart) to make it disappear. Yes, the world is scary, yes, you risk getting hurt, but guess what? You benefit so much more from life by being vulnerable, over having a shield around you. You might as well be walking with caution tape and chains.