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Embracing our vulnerability




Our own vulnerability has been one of the most denied aspects of our existence. We go to great lengths in trying to evade facing this fragile aspect of our self. From this denial spawns the pretensions of arrogance, criticism, self-righteousness, bigotry and stubbornness. The experience of vulnerability exposes our weakness, thereby threatening the integrity of our venerated pride. Such fear is the author of many vices we espouse to shield us from such “deprecating” experience.

I lay witness to the consequential evils brought about by the attempts of most people to fortify their defense against any events that may expose their vulnerabilities. Since time immemorial, the denial of acknowledging our vulnerabilities has lead people to atrocities, conflicts, misunderstanding, greed, ignorance and decadence. Even in our present time, nothing has changed about this unfortunate propensity of man. Despite the progress in every area of our lives and despite the intellectualism of our present generation, few understood the wisdom of facing our vulnerabilities.

Why then is it hard for us to embrace our vulnerability?

Perhaps the ultimate reason is our inability to handle the fact of our own weakness; we seem to not have the courage deal with it. Fear dominates as we thought of being perceived less in the eyes of others: our delicate ego does not want to be put in a position of fragility. And so, any attempt to expose our vulnerabilities we counter by closing our minds. Consequently, we don’t admit our lack and we become stubborn with our own erroneous ways. We go through life without allowing ourselves the beneficial sacrifice of embracing our vulnerability.

The truth is we can never escape our weaknesses. Even superheroes—which are the product of our illusory aspiration to be invulnerable—are always hunted by their weakness; even the Prophets with all of their divine privilege have never been exempt. What more of us mortals, who are the most fragile of all creations. Do you think that by pretending to be impenetrable can make your immune of your weak spot? Have you considered the effects of having to suppress the acceptance of your vulnerabilities? Are you under the impression that you can get away with it? Think deeply about these questions because therein lies the choice of liberating yourself from your fears.

As we traverse the dynamics of our everyday endeavors, from success ventures to interpersonal relationship to social interaction, we all carry our shields to hide our vulnerabilities. For instance, in our attempts to achieve certain goals, we focus too much on the vulnerability of experiencing failure; thus, we shield ourselves by shrinking away from taking any further risk. In the area of personal relationships, instead of being sensitive to the feelings of others, we tend to be indifferent; when it comes to positive criticisms, we either confront or put on deaf ears. Even in socializing with our communities, we tend to be stubborn of our own points of view instead of perusing the valid arguments of others: we don’t want to be put in a situation where our ignorance will be evident. Such are the common grounds over which we hide our vulnerabilities.

Part of our growth is to let go of the false dictum of our ego and let our vulnerabilities be exposed. We need to have the courage to explore the fragile part of ourselves in order for our weakness to be relinquished.

Let me sight the common areas of vulnerabilities we all share and dissect the benefits we will gain should we choose acknowledgment.

  • To err is human. But did we accept this fact when we commit mistakes? Few does. Allowing ourselves to accept our mistakes will gain us the respect of others as well as learning the lesson from our errors.
  • Acknowledging our helplessness builds our spirits. Whether we admit it or not, there comes a certain point in our lives when we are down and we can’t do something about it. Let us not prevent ourselves from experiencing the downside of our existence because in it we can discover the wisdom about our true nature.
  • Admitting our ignorance is nothing to be afraid of, rather, we should make it a vehicle for learning more. Let go of your pride by pretending to be knowledgeable in order to satisfy your self-worth, nothing can be gained if we are adamant with our ignorance. Let us not be embarrassed of our lack of knowing; after all, our ignorance will be our defeat.
  • Acknowledging our neglected emotions has been the problem most of us suffer, especially among men. Without allowing that part of our emotions to be expressed, it will grow inside us and will makes its way through negative physical manifestation like stress, depression, nervous breakdown and other psychological symptoms.

Our vulnerabilities spawned from certain events of our past that exposed us to the experience of pain, betrayal, embarrassment, disappointment and shame. Having suffered once their overwhelming stings, we promise ourselves never to repeat the experience again, and so we fortify our defense against them by means of denial. As a result, we never pass by our weaknesses and we continue to get more fragile as we shrink with age. And then in our death beds we will question the almighty: Father, why have you forsaken me. But God will reply: No my child, I was carrying you all along but you are resisting.

We’ve all got one life to live, let us not limit ourselves by our vulnerabilities.

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”

~~ Madeleine L’Engle

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27 Responses to “Embracing our vulnerability”

  1. Hulbert says:

    Vulnerabilities can make us stronger or make us weaker. We might ignore our vulnerabilities because we want to stay competent with others, but doing this only lasts for a moment and does not work out in the long run. When we accept our vulnerabilities, we know exactly what we need to work on. This makes us stronger and gives us a better chance to succeed. Great job Walter and thanks for reminding us to embrace our vulnerability.
    .-= Hulbert´s last blog ..Sylvester Stallone and Hits =-.

    • Walter says:

      You are absolutely right about this Hulbert, our vulnerabilities can either be our weakness or our strength. It is up to us what we choose. :-)

  2. butterfly says:

    This is so true, and for me its my heart. I wear my heart on my shoulder and people see it, I can’t lie, people see it in my face, probably even in my words, but exposing myself I think is a good thing because then I am real. Great post.

    • Walter says:

      Most of us embrace the lie of our pretensions in the belief that we can hide our vulnerabilities forever. But many have learned the hard lesson. You are wise to be true to yourself. :-)

  3. I love the quote here Walter:
    “But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.”
    I do believe that that’s very true. Acknowledging our vulnerabilities and weaknesses means to grow. However it is hard for most people to truly acknowledge this. Why?
    I guess because it makes them look too human. As you’ve mentioned we want to be like super heroes.
    .-= Julius Kuhn-Regnier´s last blog ..The 3 Unwritten Rules of Blogging =-.

    • Walter says:

      Accepting our vulnerabilities is not an easy task. The challenge one must face is to drop one’s pride or ego and face the pain of overcoming one’s weaknesses. This is the reason why many are reluctant to face their vulnerabilities. :-)

  4. Karen says:

    Another thought-provoking post, Walter.

    I think that deep down we all know we have vulnerabilities, otherwise we wouldn’t be human. Knowing that we have them and trying to strengthen our resolve is also very human. We see what happens to those who show their vulnerabilities and don’t want to be victims. It’s a fine balance for sure.

    Karen
    .-= Karen´s last blog ..Friday’s Links =-.

    • Walter says:

      To be human is indeed to have vulnerabilities. The more we face our vulnerabilities despite our fragility, the more we grow in spirit. :-)

  5. Hi Walter,

    None of us are perfect. We are all works in progress and therefore, there is no reason to be afraid of being viewed as vulnerable. We are all vulnerable. I think people often are so concerned with how they are viewed, they forget how to really make the most out of being alive.

    We all have had our pain and things we are not proud of….we should use these things as a way to recognize the unity of the human experience. Unfortunately, people are so consumed with fear they pretend to be what they are not.

    I have greater respect for someone who is open and real than someone who pretends to have it all together. But that is just me. :)

    Great post, as usual!

    • Walter says:

      Fine points you have shared here Nadia. I believe that working on our vulnerabilities is a matter of spiritual development. Unfortunately, most people are too concerned with their fragile body they forget about its temporariness. Our vulnerabilities have their reason, and by facing it, we will discover our inner essence. :-)

  6. Walter, thank you for this eye-opening post. I feel that the places we are vulnerable are sign-posts for us. Everyone has weaknesses and fears, but part of growing is learning to face them and embrace them. As you say, we may never overcome all of our weaknesses, but if we can learn to love ourselves just as we are we will have taken a huge step forward.
    .-= Angela Artemis´s last blog ..The Psychology of Luck. Do You Have the Luck Factor? =-.

    • Walter says:

      I share your analogy Angela. It is important that we become aware of our vulnerabilities and learn to face them. A valuable wisdom we can gain each time we convert our vulnerabilities into our strengths. :-)

  7. Baker says:

    I have to admit that this is a challenge for me at my age, however it never ceases to amaze me that the moment I just surrender and let go and open up to this energy of being vulnerable, the amount of release and pressure that leaves my energy is nothing short of extraordinary and freeing. This is a valuable concept I think that gets overlooked a lot today, but is much needed. Thank you for this post. Much appreicated.

    • Walter says:

      As long as we live, we should not cease from learning. Our vulnerabilities has something valuable hidden in it and we can’t acquire it unless we put on the courage to face it. From our vulnerabilities reside the wisdom of our true essence. :-)

  8. Nice view of life…

    I think that we should love our “vulnerability”, “mistakes” and “imperfections”, because they are not “bad”. They are just different from our expectations and standards.

    And I will not hate something because it is different. :wink: .-= Marko || CalmGrowth´s last blog ..Personal Stagnation =-.

    • Walter says:

      Right you are on this Marko. For our every lack, there hides valuable lessons. We don’t need to be afraid of facing them. :-)

  9. Cheryl Paris says:

    Hi Walter,

    I admire how humbly you have written the article. If we want to move ahead in life (professional & personal) we will have to accept vulnerability. Unless, we accept we will not grow to be happy and successful at the same time. We will be ‘better me’ if we accept and will sure see the difference.

    Bye for now,
    Cheryl Paris
    .-= Cheryl Paris´s last blog ..How We Grew With An Acorn- N is for… =-.

    • Walter says:

      Thanks Cheryl. Indeed, we need to accept our vulnerabilities in order for us to move ahead in life. Without this acknowledgment, we will never truly grow. :-)

  10. Nate says:

    I like the buddhist way of looking at this. Actually we are all perfect just the way we are right now….but, there’s room for improvement :-)

    It’s a light-hearted way of looking at ourselves with compassion and understanding as well as pointing out that we shouldn’t become too attached to the thoughts that we have about ourselves, including our thoughts on fear and vulnerability.

    I really like what you’re getting at here. There’s no need to put on false fronts. Pretend we ‘know more’ or are ‘better.’ I think it’s really about accepting who we are right now and appreciating that.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..A Moment for Appreciation =-.

    • Walter says:

      Accepting who we are is the very thing that most people deny. Instead, we choose to live a life of pretension that brings nothing but decadence.

      I appreciate the points you have shared here Nate. Thanks a lot. :-)

  11. Lauren says:

    Walter,

    I feel this is such an important issue to address. As you point out, I too believe that many of the atrocities committed are because we cannot accept and embrace vulnerability.

    Rage feels much more “powerful” than fear, anxiety, sadness – in short, vulnerability. Like many things, though,this is a paradox.

    There can be tremendous “power” of the best sort through embracing vulnerability. For one, it is REAL. Authenticity is a very powerful thing.

    Authenticity allows us to interact and CONNECT in a real way. Relationship is such a key aspect of life.

    If we cannot be vulnerable, we tend to dominate. I see this a lot with inmates I work with who are domestic abusers. I don’t condone it at all, yet I see this person suffers too. A one-up one-down relationship isn’t real love.

    A great step toward loving relationships, regardless of the relationship, is being willing to be vulnerable.

    Also, though, it is good to know whom not to allow vulnerability with. A deer would not wish to be vulnerable at the moment it’s about to be eaten, now would it?

    Great post!

    • Walter says:

      By acknowledging our vulnerabilities, our inner strength will be revealed. Our go tends to deny our vulnerabilities because of its helplessness to handle what it perceived as a treat to its integrity. However, if we are wise enough to embrace our weakness, we can discover the true power hidden within us. :-)

  12. Suhasini says:

    Well it is quite obvious that vulnerabilities will be there as human being just can not be thought without this, nice post buddy.

  13. Dear Walter,
    You speak truth in all words throughout.
    Learning to accept vulnerability is like acknowledging who we are in existence and appreciating that this moment is what defines our being.
    Beautiful article, and thank you so much for dropping by Expressive World again.
    .-= Ana Goncalves´s last blog ..The Art of Attunement =-.

    • Walter says:

      Acknowledging our vulnerabilities will gain us wisdom about ourselves that we would not have otherwise known should we continue our denial. One important thing we will earn is our inner strength. :-)

  14. Jane Pelton says:

    Hi Walter,

    We are the just the same I firmly believe that one of the ultimate reason why we unable to handle the fact of our own weakness is because we lack the courage of dealing with it. Of course it not easy. It is never easy to face our fears.

    Jane P.
    Author of Synaptol Reviews

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