3-Never Show Vulnerability…Unless…

3rd of 6 parts

I know a lot of people fervently believe the idea – NEVER SHOW VULNERABILITY.

Never let anyone see your weakness. I understand the thinking, but what if it’s better than pretending you are invulnerable?

Is a cardboard existence for a huge portion of your life enough for you? Maybe it is. I’m made differently than that. I have always known that wouldn’t be enough for me. It’s what makes the world so darn interesting, isn’t it? People are different.

I’m going to dive a little deeper here, however. Hold your breath and take the plunge with me for a second…

How can you trust someone who pretends everything is ok all the time or that something difficult doesn’t really bug them much, if at all. That’s always interesting to me. Isn’t there a lot of lying in that kind of existence? There’s a time and place for everything, but what if there’s never a place allowed for the real you?

I’m not being hard on people who prefer this kind of existence at all. Hey – I get it! Look around us. It’s the common way to operate and we have bills to pay and people to see and things to do and kids to feed! I’m merely good at asking questions of myself and others as we continue to consider the possibility of expanding our awareness of the experiences around us. I guess I personally have never understood the point of being on this planet if we aren’t real.

People are commonly praised for being rocks – not showing any softness, fear, sadness, emotion, when going through something terribly difficult – traumatic even. It’s not surprising to hear someone say how impressed they are by such a show of ‘strength’ … which I consider a baffling endorsement.

So, that says people are proud of the fact the person hurting didn’t trouble anyone with their incredibly painful trials and made it look easy? That makes it sound as if it ought to be celebrated when you keep others from having to actually allow it to register in their minds that this is a most awful experience for you and what you’ve gone through will not be a concern. It sounds strange.

The thing is – what if connecting to that cared about person’s difficulty keeps us in touch with not just them – but our own humanity – heightening our awareness of the vital need to care for one another…above all else?

I’m not convinced ‘being a rock’ is always strength.

What if it’s fear of rejection, fear that if they crumble – they won’t ever be able to put themselves back together, fear they won’t be validated, or general shock?

All of this begs the question – well, how about you? What do you do then, Maria, when you’re struggling? What is YOUR habit when hurting?

I handle difficulty a couple of different ways depending on what’s possible. I either travel – just go…leave and head somewhere anywhere – have an adventure.

Or, if I cannot leave – I go very internal, get very quiet, observant, and I read and write a lot. Plus, I tend to bundle up – cocoon up maybe? I tend to self-isolate to give myself room for clarity to come eventually. My challenge is in not self-isolating too long when I handle it this way. I have to keep that in check for myself.

Too much alone time can turn into a loneliness that feel a little too much like we are heading toward despair. Nature is my remedy for that and it works well.

Luckily, I have a healthy amount of the DNA from my parents with whimsy attached to it – so I’m decent at letting something float away once I’ve made peace with it.

You can’t chip away at walls made of steel and stone. People have to want the walls to come down. You can never make it happen for them. Part of taking down a wall is trusting yourself.

It’s okay if someone else’s good enough isn’t enough for you and you move your life in a different direction. We’re either growing or we’re dying I remember hearing once.

Never show vulnerability…unless you want to be known for who you actually are.

Given that – maybe vulnerability is only as scary as we are afraid of ourselves.

Next time: Emotional Openness with Impulse Control