I repeat, vulnerability is NOT weakness.
Why does this feel like a newsflash?!? ‘THIS JUST IN…..after years of research and extensive human trials, it has been determined that vulnerability is NOT weakness but is, in fact, the birthplace of love, joy, and belonging.’
I don’t know about you, but I grew up believing that vulnerability was weakness. It meant you were too emotional and not strong enough to handle something. Which in turn, meant that you just had to toughen up and deal with it on your own.
You can practice being vulnerable alone right?
And isn’t vulnerability something you can just opt out of? I mean, Juan Pablo of this season’s Bachelor showed us how you can opt out on national television! Don’t say I love you and avoid answering the tough questions….that works….right??
And so over the years, I would avoid vulnerability whenever I could and I was damn good at it. Mainly because I learned that the best way to avoid it was to appear as if I had it all together. This manifested in what I like to call my 20-tonne perfectionist shield. And I would haul that heavy armour around all damn day so that no one could see that I was anything but ‘all together’.
Ohhh, and IF someone was curious and brave enough to try and get to know the real me? Well, I’d have my sword at the ready so I could poke them in case they got a glimpse of my scared and soft core. (I mean, you DO get a free sword with every perfectionist shield purchase, might as well use it right?!?)
But after 30+ years of carrying all that damn heavy armour around….well…..I was exhausted.
I knew I had to dig deeper. WHY was I so adverse to vulnerability? Was I alone in feeling this way?
No, I wasn’t.
Were other people feeling tired and wondering why life wasn’t as fulfilling as they had hoped it would be by the time they were in their 30’s?
Yes, they were feeling that too.
But we were all too armoured up to even see that we all had this in common.
I was frustrated and believed that there was more to life than this!
I wanted to live life with more joy, purpose, authenticity, love, and belonging.
And it turns out the only way to do that was to lay down my heavy-ass armour. Ugh.
So I began at work by admitting that I couldn’t do it all and that I needed help. This was excruciating for me because in my 20 or so years of being in the workforce I NEVER had to ask for help. I could do it all! I was the one who could get the job done quickly and with a smile. I was frickin’ SUPERWOMAN!
And I frickin’ exhausted.
And wouldn’t you know it, when I had that tough conversation with my boss, she got me the help I needed. I remember thinking ‘well that was easier than I thought!’
Turns out letting people see the real you actually garners respect from others. Hmmm. Interesting.
As I started to lean more into this vulnerability thing I discovered that although it IS risky and uncertain, never did I let my guard down with someone and it turned out badly. Because contrary to what I thought, you can’t do vulnerability alone. It’s something that happens between people. It’s how we connect. It’s how we get to truly know each other. And we are all hardwired for connection. It’s why we are here.
So here’s what I’ve learned…if you want to truly engage and participate in life and amp up the joy and love and all the ooey-gooey goodness that is yours for the taking….you gotta lay down your arms. Take off the masks. Take off the shields. The swords. The armour. All of it. I know that’s risky. I know that’s scary. I know there mere thought of it riddles your whole body with fear. Because you cannot have vulnerability without fear, they’re a package deal.
BUT everything you want and deserve in life is on the other side of fear. And you can’t get there with all that heavy armour on.
So I strongly encourage you to lay down your arms and surrender to the power that is vulnerability. Let us get to know the REAL you. It’s who we want to see. It’s who we want to connect with. It’s who we love and want to be with.
Come off your battlefield….