The Art of Vulnerability


There is a difference between authenticity and vulnerabilty. That is a distinction that has gotten lost in some fields of personal growth and spiritual development.

Never be anyone but you. If you are doing otherwise, you are living in a world of illusions and hiding behind masks that contribute to a sense of separateness.

Being You (strengths, weaknesses, fears, certainties, and all) is being authentic. Being authentic does not, however, mean openly sharing all of your vulnerabilites, without direction or purpose.

There is power in vulnerability; but only if we recognize when, and with whom, it is safe to expose the most tender parts of ourselves.

It is not a matter of judging others but of employing wisdom and self-compassion, when we are feeling vulnerable.

If the check-out clerk at a local department store asks, “How are you today?,” would you start sharing your thoughts and feelings about your recent divorce, or your mother’s battle with cancer, or some other deeply personal and painful experience? I hope the answer is, “No, of course not.”

Well, the same reasons why you wouldn’t open up to the clerk are important for you to consider, in general, when you feel tempted to share the most vulnerable parts of you with anyone else.

It is both wise and prudent to understand what you really need, when you are feeling vulnerable; and to realize who can, and who cannot, give you what you need.

As someone who spent decades living Life as an open book, I can say that it is not always healthy or helpful to bear your soul to someone, just because they’re willing to listen. Not everyone can be present enough with us to be the kind of friend we need, when we are hurting, afraid, or confused. But there are times when we need that kind of friend to help us through a difficult situation.

While it is ultimately up to us to face, to feel, and to heal the wounds inside us, there are times when we need a helping hand (with a loving heart), during the process. Knowing when we need to reach out for help, and to whom we should turn for help, is very important. Turning to the wrong person, at the wrong time, for support can cause more harm than good.

But, if we refuse to open up to anyone . . . if we try to be strong, all the time, we are missing out on valuable growth opportunities: and we are stifling our ability to reach our deepest wounds.

And it is in the healing of those deepest wounds that the Light of Divine Love enters us, most profoundly.

3d small people - friendsSo, how do we learn to be wise about the art of vulnerability?

We start by recognizing the positive potential of opening up to the right person, at the right time. From there, we can begin to see (more clearly) when the reverse is true.

When we are in pain (hurt, rejected, insecure), the most tender parts of us are exposed and in need of nurturing. If we have been doing our own inner work and we have become more self-aware and mindful, we can sense (immediately) when something inside us needs our attention. And, here, let me emphasize – our attention. But that does not mean we have to go through the process of attending to what needs nourishment, within us, alone.

Those people in our lives who truly love and honor us will be able to see that we are struggling, and they will be open to helping us (without trying to fix us). They will understand that we are strong and we are capable, even when we need a shoulder to lean on. They will hold sacred space for us, as we work through the pain and search for the wound that needs healing. And they will not claim victory for our inner triumphs.

They will listen, deeply, and guide us intuitively (without projecting their own pain or struggles into the situation before us). They will provide a sense of safety that liberates us, in that moment, from the confines of survival strategies and allows us to go where our soul is trying to take us.

What a beautiful gift it is . . . to be in those moments of healing and self-discovery with a trusted, loyal, and loving friend.

If you are in the presence of someone who is unwilling or unable to hold this kind of sacred space for you, my advice is that you not open up to them, at that time. Find sanctuary in another form, and pray. Pray that the Divine will direct your steps and place you in the presence of the person who can and will hold sacred space for you, as you make your way into a place of sweet release.

Remember, even when the weight of emotional pain is bearing down upon you, you have more strength inside you than you can imagine. Trust, always, that you are Divinely Guided and listen carefully to your inner voice. You will know when, and with whom, it is safe to reveal your vulnerabilities.

Many Blessings, Love, & LIght,

©  01/27/2015
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