22 Jul Vulnerability
As an aspiring advocate of vulnerability, it surprises me that I still get tingles of awkwardness once I bare my true self to someone else. I have realized that vulnerability isn’t something that one can master, but instead, something that can be constantly practiced.
At seventeen (pictured above), I thought that I had it all figured out. Growing up, I was known to carry my huge heart on my sleeve. I was easy to read, and known to many as “sensitive” or “soft”. This gift was both a blessing, and a curse. I tried to embrace a part of myself that I grew up learning to hate, based on what others taunted me for.
In an effort to use this blessing to serve others, I turned to writing. I became a writer/blogger that shared her insights and perspectives to a world that seemed too loud. I wrote about parts of my life that I couldn’t talk about offline. I was open, engaging, and as vulnerable as I thought I could ever be.
Yet, three years later, I find myself struggling. I found that after believing that I was practicing vulnerability, I was actually guarding myself from experiencing pain. I was afraid of getting hurt. Instead of opening deeper connections with others that once brought me joy, I only opened the shallow parts of myself or not at all.
Today, all of that changed. I opened up how I once felt about a dear, great friend of mine. It was awkward, uncomfortable, and new. Yet, it felt like opening a can of worms – once it opened, it wasn’t ever going back inside.
I felt free.
It felt so liberating being able to crawl outside of this closed shell that I kept myself in for so long. I was allowing myself to be “bare” once again to find a new shell to fit the person that I am today. I was open. I was honest. I was true to myself, and my friend.
It was an exhilarating experience.
I learned how to open my heart to people again. I learned how to put myself out there, and trusting that the other person will be there to catch me when I fall. I learned to find people in whom I trust, and be comfortable with. Though I do not expect that all has changed overnight, it gave me a sense of hope.
To hope that there will be others whom I could be comfortable and vulnerable with, and vice versa. To hope that others may be able to feel safe to open their hearts and themselves to other people. To hope that despite the pressures that society instills in us to be “tough”, it is still perfectly okay to be “soft”.
A friend of mine once said that this quote reminded her of me, and I believe that this summarizes how I feel about vulnerability quite well.
“I asked God why He made me too sensitive, and He promised me that it wasn’t a mistake. He told me He purposely made me delicate, not so that I could shatter easily, not so that I could be frail, not so that I could be told I’m “too soft” whenever someone tries to touch me.
It was so I could know of the gentle beauty in living. And in my tenderness, I can love in a way the world may not know of yet. My compassion has the power to speak raging waves to calmness and I can appreciate the little things He created that go unnoticed. There is something special in being fragile, and it has nothing to do with weakness, and everything to do with strength.
Being sensitive is a gift, He answered, and I shouldn’t be ashamed of it.”