Hungry For Protection
Vulnerability Is Power
Inverse as it sounds, it’s true. Vulnerability is Power.
File this blog under the category of underlying reasons addictive behaviors spiral out of control, because it is feelings of vulnerability that have sent me there more often than anything else.
Vulnerability is not something I’m comfortable with. I’ve always considered it a weakness to be avoided. Actually, more accurately, I’ve spent much of my Energy hiding the reality that part of the human condition includes sometimes being in a state of unprotected openness.
I’m realizing with more and more clarity that running from this open-hearted way of being has done me no favors.
As Brene Brown says in the above lecture, vulnerability is probably the most feared and misunderstood of all emotional states in the spectrum of human experience. There tends to be deep shame associated with feeling it. But when I give vulnerability its rightful place at the table, I suddenly allow myself to experience life more fully, more whole-heartedly as Brown says, because it’s actually not possible to fully experience Joy, Creativity, Love, and Belonging without owning up to at least a flash or two of vulnerability.
Of all the above benefits that come from admitting vulnerability, the one that most grabbed at my core was Belonging. Having spent most of my life as an outcast, I convinced myself that I didn’t care about Belonging. Didn’t care if people accepted me or approved of me. I thought I came up with the perfect answer: act as if I don’t need others, avoid trust and emotional intimacy, and I’ve given myself the gift of instant protection.
Not letting my vulnerability see the light of day was all about keeping the perceived predators at bay. I was truly hungry for protection. Hungry to be kept from being hurt. If I can’t control the outcome of something that really matters to me, why bother? But I’m beginning to accept that living life fully and with my entire heart in the picture means taking risks.
So what’s my safety net now that I’ve agreed to drop the illusion of being protected? In some ways, admitting that there never really is a safety net is about as good as it gets in terms of protection. There’s also a growing knowing that I’m going to be OK no matter what Life has ahead for me, no matter what obstacle courses of experiential wonders Divine Design has laid out, unbeknownst to me. Ups, downs, and those unexciting plateau’s are unavoidable parts of it. I’d love to be able to wave a wand over my fears and have them disappear, but nobody ever really grows in fairy tales…ever notice that?
Those of you who read HFTT regularly know I’ve been very open about why I had the wall of weight around me for so many years. One of the main reasons was keeping men at a safe distance (and trust me, it works like nothing else). Only deep down, that’s not what I really wanted. Evolution and emotional onion layers being peeled away revealed something unmovable at my center: a desire to Love and be Loved. Even after decades of telling myself it doesn’t matter, there it was, still living and breathing, after all that time in lockdown.
As Brown points out, emotions can’t be numbed selectively. When I douse out vulnerability, anxiety, and fear, the Joy, Excitement, and Happiness get washed away with it. So what’s the worst that can happen? I don’t get Loved in return? The outcome differs from my expectations? That has to be survivable.
Who knows, if I stick with this new game plan, feeling vulnerable may one day feel natural…perhaps even powerful. Thank God. Because I’m discovering I like the feeling of Belonging.
Wide Open…At Long Last