When I define my relationships with those around me, I have come to realize that I define them in terms of vulnerability.
I rarely allow myself to be vulnerable with those people who I consider to be distant friends. Too many experiences have taught me that putting up a wall is safer than putting my emotions out on the table.
My closest friends and family, however, see a completely different person in that respect. I have come to realize that when I first decide to be vulnerable with someone and find that I can trust them with protecting my vulnerability, that is when I know I have a relationship with someone that goes deeper than the surface.
I have come to define all of my relationships in terms of vulnerability. I am guarded to those I know the least, and open up as I get closer to people. I often wonder if this is a wise way to live, or an isolated one.
Interestingly enough, I have not only struggled with being vulnerable with other people. I am a creative person and wish to one day work in a creative industry, and yet, I struggle with revealing the art that I create. I grapple with showing off my work to the world because of the personal connotations that it often holds.
Recently, I had an experience that made me seriously rethink the role of vulnerability in forming meaningful human connections.
Something incredibly rare happened; I was in a place where people were unapologetic and unafraid to share their personal struggles. I was emotional at the courage and bravery of these people, and hearing their stories made me feel a deeper level of connection to them. In my mind I questioned: if they weren’t afraid to be vulnerable, why was I?We have been conditioned to be afraid of our emotions and to bury them deep down within our souls for the sake of society. Yet, vulnerability is an inevitable and vital part of the human experience. Without our ability to share stories, emotions, and personal struggles with one another, what do we have? Being vulnerable provides solace not only for the person being vulnerable but also, for the person who needs to hear that they are not alone. Vulnerability can save lives through shared experiences. Being vulnerable shows us that we are not on this planet in solitude.
It’s no easy feat to throw everything you have out on the table, but sometimes, it’s worth it. Without vulnerability, there is no passion, no love, and no emotion.
On a personal level, I need to work on overcoming my fear of vulnerability. Because I have refused to be vulnerable, I have complicated relationships, my thoughts, and my happiness. It isn’t easy for me, but I am learning how to open up and be okay with putting what I have out into the world.