Vulnerable is defined as: “capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt or open to a moral attack, criticism, temptation or open to assault; difficult to defend” (Dictionary.com). Synonyms of vulnerable might include: accessible, defenseless, exposed, liable, ready, sensitive, susceptible, unsafe, or weak. Antonyms of vulnerable might include: guarded, protected, safe, secure, strong, unsusceptible (from Thesaurus.com).
Certainly not a place any of us want to be. Yet being vulnerable is in vogue right now. To be authentic and real, we must be vulnerable. Why is that? It doesn’t feel comfortable to say that we want to be vulnerable.
Modern media portrays people’s lives (and their personas) as not being vulnerable. They are strong, confident, always knowledgeable, and most times right. That others work very hard so that they are not vulnerable when it comes to finances and family budgets. To not become vulnerable to sickness by eating right and exercising daily.
Our egos join the parade by having us weave our stories and explanations in a way that makes us look strong and confident in front of others. Our survival instincts also work hard (behind the scenes) to make sure that we are never placed in a position that makes us vulnerable.
But what about our humanity? What conversations occur in our heart that are filled with doubt and uncertainty? Conversations that generate fear and highlight how weak or defenseless we might feel in a given point in time?
These conversations happen more often then we tell others. What we miss is that others have these conversations as well. Just like us. For you see, they are no different.
Expressing how and where we are vulnerable takes a great strength to share with others. It demands revealing what speaks or hides within your heart. Good or bad. Weakness or strength. Fear or courage.
We must have the courage to do this, for others may not understand and attack or criticize us. This act of being vulnerable is very different than when we try new things that we don’t know much about. We are vulnerable, in this case, simply because of our lack of knowledge and that’s OK. Others view this type of vulnerability as being OK.
When we openly share about what speaks or hides in our heart it opens the door to more honest discussions, deeper connections, more helpful feedback, and the beginning of potentially unconditional love. That is the power of becoming vulnerable. It’s really not for authenticity as much as it is for human connection.
We yearn for deeper connection with others but again we must take the first step. By acknowledging our vulnerability with others openly to show them a safe space where they too can join.
It’s definitely worth the risk for it can help us get to a better place than where we were before.