Vulnerability vs. Weakness

I have been letting this concept of vulnerability versus weakness percolate in me for the last couple of weeks.  It has been a slow-to-move process for me.  As a child I learned to put up walls to protect myself from physical and emotional harm.  The walls grew thicker over the years as I grew and encountered more and more “reasons” to protect myself.  It seemed like every time I let myself be open to others, they showed me what I expected; they left, they threw loud, hurtful words at me, they disregarded my desires, laughed at my statements, and ignored my presence.  I desperately pretended to not let things bother me or to never let the other see how much it hurt.  Pah!  I’m fine!  So what that you were my best friend for two years and now I am not to be spoken to for some unknown reason and you sent an emissary to tell me that?  So what that you made a promise to me and at the last minute, broke it.  So what that you don’t seem to care what I want?  So what that you act like I’m not as smart/pretty/funny/awesome as you and I should just shut up?  So what?  It’s fine!

But underneath, it was not fine.  Not at all.  I just buried the emotions and pretended I wasn’t wounded.  I am a very good actress.

In the last few years, I have come to see that each one of those episodes were in my life to show me something.  I had something to gain from experiencing all of it.  It took me years to understand the meaning behind them and to change my perceptions of others’ hurtful actions.  Along the way I have learned to not only forgive them, but also forgive myself for creating these scenarios that caused me pain in my life.  It took me a long time to stop asking  the why or why me questions (victim mentality) and to see the big picture outside of my narrow little viewpoints.  Who knew it wasn’t all about me and my little self?!

The scenarios were never created to hurt me, they were created for various reasons, perhaps from the wounds of the one who spoke harshly and did something I considered cruel and heartless.  Perhaps I misunderstood the situation and took it all too personally.  They were most definitely created by me before I incarnated because the soul wants to experience everything (much to the dismay of the human).  Yes, I acknowledge I create these scenes for me, to lead me to the point of loving the soul despite, or regardless of, the human’s actions.   And then I find my way on the path to loving ME despite how others perceive or treat me.

from Dictionary.com

weak·ness

1. the state or quality of being weak; lack of strength, firmness, vigor, or the like; feebleness.

2. an inadequate or defective quality, as in a person’s character; slight fault or defect: to show great sympathy for human weaknesses.
I always thought it was weak to show my emotions.  It would give another person the space to pounce like a cat on unsuspecting prey.  Weakness was always a version of “you suck” to me, it meant you were inadequate or defective just like the definition describes above.  And that was how I felt most of the time, totally inadequate.  Well, now I see that that is also the definition of victim mentality, and I am no longer a victim.  I am a Creator.  If it’s in my life, obviously it’s here for a reason.  Now, go figure it out and change what needs changing.  I don’t suck, I am learning and growing.  I get that.
But being open with my emotions when I have spent so many years stuffing them has been quite a challenge.  I am brave and outspoken in my head and in my writings, but often stumble when doing the face to face thing.  Or I say things the “wrong” way that may end up miscontrued and don’t get the reactions I wanted.

Vul-ner-a-bil-i-ty

the state of being left without shelter or protection against something harmful; susceptibility to being wounded or attacked; the quality or state of having little resistance to some outside agent.

Synonyms: openness, exposure, sensitivity, receptivity, possibility, uncertainty

Being vulnerable leads to being open and receptive to the uncertainty of the moment.  We are left exposed and sensitive to everything.  Which is not easy for those of us (ok who am I kidding, me!) who have lived with such thick walls all our lives and now we are to tear them down and be left without any kind of protection?  It seems to me that when I relax my guard and open up with others by letting them see “real” me, they get all perturbed at me over something I said or did.  And that’s where I am still digging myself out of the hole of my buried emotions.  I don’t like when others get mad at me or misunderstand me so it is still a process for me to work through how I feel during those times.  Those times I have gone back to the person to try to make sense of something or to try to smooth things over have not gone well, usually they stay mad and it ends up worse.  So my dilemma is, do I try to clear it or leave it alone?  And how much of this is me and how much is the other person?  Does it matter?

This week I have been taking a situation that bothered me into meditation and doing my clearing there which, for me, has made a huge difference.  I am also doing Hoponopono which is a wonderful clearing exercise to use.  I’m feeling much better and this afternoon, I ran into the person unexpectedly and holy moly, they were super friendly and totally normal with me again.  Woohoo, it worked!  I was thrilled.

So I ask myself, What is the truth of me? when I am feeling shaky and unsure.  And then give myself permission to emanate it no matter what.  Despite how others perceive me.  I can do no less anymore.  I am not weak, I am showing vulnerability by staying open to the flow, being sensitive to the energies, and allowing life to be for me instead of against me.

I loved this statement by my friend from the retreat, Mary Yoon, about this subject, “If you live inside a fort with a small slit to look out for enemies, you can’t see what’s next to you, behind you—you can’t see the beautiful world all around.  It’s less than “safe”.  I feel you, Dorothy, standing in your truth.  I see you on the porch of the cabin next to me and I’ll breathe beside you all night long.

Vulnerability is not undesirable, it lets you see 360 degrees.  It allows you to see who shares the space with you.  You see the whole vista instead of a narrow view.  You see with unimpeded view those who try to undermine you.  You see those who support you and breathe with you through the tougher times (dividing the load), and then you also get to share the laughter with them in joyful times (multiplying the happy)!

This is definitely still ongoing for me and each “lesson” teaches me about myself, helping to reinforce how I want to be, strong, confident, vulnerable, open and loving.

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9 responses

  1. Pingback: Being Vulnerable, Part 3 | Life Heart and Soul

  2. Pingback: Unshed Tears | Life Heart and Soul

  3. Pingback: Excavating and Emanating My True Self | Life Heart and Soul

  4. Beautifully expressed, Dorothy. I am totally in awe at the changes I see with-in you.
    This is something I have also struggled with quite regularly throughout my life.
    I especially love your clarifying last paragraph (the words ‘fairweather friends’ springs to mind).

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    • Aw thanks Karen. I don’t see those changes most of the time unless I really think about it, it’s hard to be objective about myself…. I do feel different, not sure if it’s obvious to anyone else so it’s nice to have it validated, especially from someone who has gone through some humdingers of changes yourself in the last year or so. I stand in awe of yours!

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  5. We shall see Sue, lol. I am still a quiet person despite the wordy writings. I love the Mary Yoon quote, it has stayed with me. Point taken, Mary, point taken.
    Glad you enjoyed it Marilyn, thanks for commenting!
    Sumr, I’m glad it helped hon. I’m always here if you want to email me.

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  6. This is the most thoughtful look into vulnerability vs. weakness that I’ve read. Mary Yoon’s quote in the midst of it all brought tears to my eyes. Dorothy, you are fierce in your quest. I can’t wait to see who you are when we meet again. By then you will be able to speak your truth, in words, directly, to me.

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