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.
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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