Vulnerability is not just about showing the parts of you that are sparkling and new, it’s about opening up a door to the parts of yourself that you’re not so comfortable with. Being vulnerable is hard because we are so often no accepting of some of our traits and opening them up to the world leaves us open to labeling, change in the way people treat us and the hardest to receive; complete rejection. The fear of rejection can be so strong that some people even wear it as a coat of armor, so it’s not a wonder we often close off part of ourselves to strangers as well as to those we love. When we are vulnerable and have an open heart, we experience pure joy and intimacy, so being afraid of being vulnerable is also being afraid of intimacy.
As addicts, using alcohol and other drugs is a very convenient way of checking out and avoiding intimacy. When we can’t look someone in the eye, micromanage a situation, try to be a people pleaser or use our phones to separate ourselves from the moment we are in, we are trying to disconnect from another person and hide our vulnerabilities.
Here are some things I do know; Vulnerability is much easier when you love all parts of yourself. When you accept yourself, even the rougher parts, you care less if someone else doesn’t. When you move past the fear of rejection, you can step more easily into a space of openness. It takes practice, never has a person been vulnerable to another and suddenly they are experts at it. It takes time and ongoing repetition of acts of vulnerability. The more you try it, the easier it will become. Being vulnerable has endless rewards. When you are vulnerable, you can experience a true connection to another. You will attract people who appreciate your vulnerability and you will be pleased to see how showing these sides of you can help you connect to anyone time and time again.
There is infinite power in vulnerability. The very thing that we try to hide so that we don’t feel alienated, is the exact thing that will change our world and make us feel safe and connected to others. As the poet, Criss Jami once said ‘to show your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable, to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength’.