It’s often a word that describes a problematic scenario. It’s s word that links people with insufficiency and a feeling of smallness about one’s self. Often it can be part of one’s story of struggle. It’s not really considered a place any of us want to be in or hope to find ourselves in.
We live in a vulnerable world. It is hard to argue that. It’s even harder to not see it. Oppression is perhaps the most obvious example of it. You only have to read or watch the news to find examples of injustices and the cruel treatment of people that leadership unfortunately bares these days. Vulnerability is most definitely exploited here.
I look at the children of this world, the ones in war torn, conflict charged countries. They are at the mercy of those around them each day. Many of them are forced to grow up even before they’ve had the chance to be a child first. Their innocence exploited by those who know better.
Their vulnerability is scary. It is unfair. It is completely against the way that things should be. A child must first learn and be shown the way of life. If he or she learns a way of life that has been corrupted then they too set off on the same path, corrupted by the only things they know – that they have been taught.
Vulnerability though is more than this, and this is what I’d prefer to focus on here. This other kind of vulnerability is more stoic. It’s kind of heroic. For it’s about being strong enough to allow yourself in to a position that goes in the face of what your mind tells you. It requires an inner strength to allow yourself to be vulnerable. This is vulnerability of a good kind.
Life will throw us situations which will require us to react with a vulnerability. That is, the opportunity to allow ourselves to trust something, to believe in something. Similar to having faith in something or trusting the process at hand.
In our minds we expect things to happen a certain way and in a certain time. We’re great at programming ourselves the way we believe things should be. There’s nothing really wrong in doing so, except it’s not always something we can control. It’s also something that may not necessarily be the right thing for us. We may think it is, but what we believe is the right thing for us isn’t always in fact the right thing for us
This is where allowing ourselves to give up control and trust the process and timing of things comes in. Vulnerability comes in here by admitting that there’s only so much we can do. We need an inner strength within us to let go of the doubts and fears. We need something inside us to tell us that it is okay to let go of those fears and concerns, to believe that everything will work out the way it’s meant to be.
An obvious example of this mindset is someone who is blind. They rely on instinct, they also rely on order or a process for a better word. They develop a routine that makes the day to day more simple. But above all of that they require the help of other aids. Whether that be people or walking aids. Essentially they disarm themselves of control and trust that something else will control it for them.
That there is releasing the control you have over to something else and this requires one to allow their vulnerability to be exposed. But their vulnerability is a stoic one. It’s one built on a strength that has been added to over time.
It’s in part a determination to live as normal as possibly can be. It’s a character that says “i will not be defeated by my circumstance!”. For those that see it it’s inspiring. Why? Because you see the strength that flows from that person. You realise in that moment that they are overcoming the obstacles placed in front of them with a determination so fierce and bold. It’s the same determination the warriors of this world carry.
So what about me?
The lessons I’ve learned in allowing my vulnerability to be exposed have never ended in a bad place. That’s the first thing I’d say. What I’ve found is that most of us respond in a manner to vulnerability that suggests we’ve all been through similar circumstances at one point or another.
I’ve found that if anything people find comfort in the testimonies of those that have submitted to themselves and allowed their hearts and mind to become vulnerable.
I’ve also found that allowing yourself to be vulnerable in fact allows yourself to find comfort within yourself. It builds a sense of freedom within you as you become less afraid of the things in your environment, things such as the way you become perceived by others. It’s like the boldness you showed in allowing yourself to be vulnerable weighs far greater than that perception you once held.
This is where vulnerability carries its strength. If vulnerability is a mountain, then the other side of the mountain looks far more assured. It’s looks safer, surer, confident and stronger.
That’s the thing about mountains. On your approach they can look daunting. They are big! You can’t see the other side and you sure can’t see what is within the mountain. The reality isn’t always the same as the perception from beforehand though and things always settle once you reach the other side.
That is the encouragement here. To remember that vulnerability is often a chance for us to build ourselves into stronger characters. Consider it a test of your own character.
Don’t be discouraged by circumstances but rather embrace the opportunity to build yourself up from this. You are stronger than you think. We were built that way. There’s a superhero gene within us all. It starts within our inner strength. I hope you can be bold enough to let it out; and remember? We all need to be living, breathing examples to other people so that they too can draw inspiration from what they see.