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What is Vulnerability


MAY, 2020

Celtic Soul Essence

For the most part vulnerability can get us breaking into a sweat and saying

“Me, no I don’t do vulnerability”!

Maybe that is because the first definition you get when you look it up says that “it is a fear of being attacked either physically or emotionally”.   And of course, none of us want that as it taps into our basic fear around our survival.   Feeling safe is a non-negotiable need.

The kind of vulnerability I am speaking to is the one that makes us fear other people really seeing us, really knowing us, or really hearing us.   We put on masks to hide our real selves in order to appear somehow different to who we really are.     Often, we don’t realise we do it.   But often times we do and choose to do it anyway.

It comes down to how we value ourselves.

We might not feel good enough, bright enough, thin enough, educated enough or whatever enough.

This might be in a work situation, with friends and even sometimes we may find that we struggle to fit in with our family.    We may look at our siblings and wonder where we came from and question how unlike them we are.    And so we mould ourselves to try not to be so different, we pick up on clues of what makes us not stand out or get us picked on.   This is the first step of course to dimming our light and hiding who we really are.

We may adopt the values of what we are told are acceptable and unacceptable and in so doing we are not living congruently with our own authentic core values.

This is where vulnerability comes in.     We feel we cannot let the real us be seen because we think we just doesn’t fit in and we come to accept this as our truth.   But as you can see it’s a made up story and it’s not our real story.

A caveat here, we all do this and sometimes we did it for our safety or as a defence mechanism to just get by.

But living authentically or in other words living in accordance with who we are, requires us to embrace ourselves fully, warts and all!!!    Being authentic is not just looking at what we perceive good about ourselves, it is also being brave enough to look at the parts of ourselves that we may consider more negative, the part that made us be laughed at when we were younger or ridiculed by a family member.  Remember here that the person who ridiculed us had their own story and maybe they ridiculed you to make themselves feel better.

We can allow ourselves become vulnerable enough to look at ways we can integrate these parts of ourselves to ring them back to the light and embrace them!

We are all born unique and we each have our strengths.   What may have been deemed “inappropriate” for us as a child may be the thing that gives us the most joy.     It’s our uniqueness that makes us shine.   Even in business we are told to find our unique selling point in relation to what we are selling because it’s the uniqueness that sells.  It’s the realness of the product or service.

Fear of rejection and isolation will likely try and stop us from remembering our vulnerabilities.   A popular saying,

The Devil you Know, is Better than the Devil you don’t know.”

can have us staying stuck in relationships that don’t do us any good.

Of course we may not even know our true self anymore because we have hidden it for so long.

The first step is the hardest but its also the bravest.

When we start opening the lid on our real self its quite magical and of course a little scary.   Some old stories may arise with the associated emotions that surface, but being brave enough to delve into them is where to start.    AND you don’t have to share this journey with anyone if you don’t want it.   Take some time to get to know who you truly are yourself.  Become playful with memories of times when you were being you and were happy.   Memories will surface when you to look for them.

We may realise how we spent maybe an entire lifetime trying to fit in or trying to gain acceptance.   It’s such an act of self love and self care to delve into our heart’s desire and along the way find our own tribe of like minded people where we will feel a true sense of belonging.

There is no push and pull when we feel like we belong.   It is like reaching a safe, peaceful destination on the shore.

Being vulnerable takes courage.

We always have a choice of course and it does require us to muster up the courage to make the changes.

An old fear of being afraid to speak up when you were young may have been manifesting in your life as a fear of standing up in public to speak at events?  You may have been suffocated with this fear your whole life.

Perhaps you were laughed at when you stood up in first grade at school and vowed to never again go through that humiliation.

When you  embrace the fact that you have a right to be heard you embrace the vulnerability that this first grader felt.   You speak to the “old wound” or “old story”.

You can ask yourself – What now do you at this stage of your life need to embrace in order to make that first grader feel less vulnerable?

Perhaps you decide to record yourself reading out a paragraph of your favourite book, even if you never share it with anyone.  Or maybe you go one step further and do a Facebook Live telling people how you are overcoming your fear.

This is what facing your vulnerabilities is like and you realise you are not going to be attacked either physically or emotionally.

Little by little you are taking back a part of yourself, and taking back the driver’s seat of your life.

You have learned to let go of giving your power away to others.

In conclusion embracing our vulnerabilities is empowering but not always easy.  We may need to learn tools to help us navigate this tricky terrain when our head screams no but our heart and soul aches for a yes.   But we can learn to give the ego some time off and allow ourselves grow and thrive.

We can learn to put up boundaries, ground out emotions and stand tall in our authentic selves where we find peace, joy, and tranquillity.

The first step is always the hardest, but the end journey is worth the work.


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