“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.” – Brene Brown
In the past few months my insistence on sinking into vulnerability feels like I am walking around with a gaping wound in the middle of my heart. Cut open, I am porous, emotions leaking out of holes even I didn’t know existed. In this state, I tend to notice every slight, perceived misstep and stew over situations beyond my reach. My willingness to embrace vulnerability comes with a cost, the perils of it sometimes unknown until I step into the quicksand.
In the middle of certain circumstances, I’ve questioned the purpose of vulnerability. Should it feel like a foreign substance entering my body? What is the cost of revealing self? How much to divulge and to keep under wraps? Who will believe my vulnerability? And will it be reciprocated? Through some hard lessons, I’ve learned vulnerability is a practice that must be my own. Over and over again, loved ones, wag their fingers with the same advice, “You can’t be vulnerable with everyone.” Yet, I failed to heed this warning, because I am unable to live a life without trying to at least attempt to express my truth, good or bad.
In this space, I acknowledge how I adore the magic in the ordinary. There is an undeniable beauty in the blazing sunset, the innocent questions from my daughter and the comfort of holding hands with my husband while we watch a movie. I relish the tiniest moments, trips to the library, grocery shopping and the privilege of cleaning my house. My Instagram feed is filled with countless snapshots of the sky, petals of flowers, as well as the contrast between shadow and light. Embracing vulnerability means softening toward beauty, but also feeling sadness in a way which feels uncomfortable and uncertain.
Living this way also harbors a price. It breeds a sensitivity to the world in a way I fail to always understand. I am the quickest to reveal my emotions, with a swift release, not knowing how it might land elsewhere. I express my feelings in this space, trying to deconstruct what “authenticity” means in a practical life. For me, it means divulging details in my writing, but also trying to build a bridge between intention and action. The worst fate – living as a fraud. I try to honor the bad parts of my life too, sharing my grief and restlessness reach a pitch I am unequipped to handle. In a given day, vulnerability means crying unexpectedly in the middle of the day or laughing in a way which is raw and unencumbered.
It means being all in, no matter what the consequences. Some days this perspective offers endless joy, other days, a palpable sadness. Vulnerability rips open all wounds, but also offers a glimmer on how to become whole again.
Image: Put Your Heart Out There by Cassandra Rae via Flickr.
I have been visiting your space quite often since I discovered it six months back (to be exact). Your writing is so beautifully raw that it pierces me to the core and in every aspect I can relate to it. I find sadness, solace and endless joys in your writing. Thank you.
I embrace vulnerability, sometimes it makes me so weak that I instantly start crying and sometimes it strengthens me beyond the horizon.
Thanks so much for your kind words. I am so grateful my writing resonates and thankful you took the time to let me know.
Yes, vulnerability offers comfort in joy and sadness. xo
Oh, we are on the same page today! It’s agonizing to be vulnerable, but you also can see beauty that others can’t. Love this. And you.
Love that we are on the same wavelength. Will def check out your latest post. The feeling is mutual, my friend. xo
This is beautiful Rudri, and thank you for including Brene’s quote, as it helped me understand what you mean by vulnerability.
I think this, “feeling sadness in a way which feels uncomfortable and uncertain,” for me, is something I struggle with. I don’t know if I’m living in a vulnerable way or not, but I often question whether I am feeling too much, or if it is okay to react as strongly as I do. It’s something I’ll have to do some more thinking on.
Thanks, Dakota. Your insight always pushes me to look at my thoughts in another light. I suspect we all have differing definitions of vulnerability and that is why sometimes it is so difficult to connect with others. I certainly don’t think I’ve figured it out and for me, as well, it is a struggle. Hope to continue this dialogue with you.
This is lovely, raw, and real. I wrote about rejection, in writing and in love, on my blog last year. Vulnerability does lead to rejection, but it is ultimately worth it. Lovely post.
Thanks so much. Yes, disappointment opens us to unknowns, but these moments push us to relish and appreciate goodness on a deeper level.
I’m so struck by thinking of cleaning the house as a privilege, but it really is, isn’t it?
I feel vulnerable every day. I feel that love makes it so – and yet, I also get high by that vulnerability. It makes me feel so alive.
I love your metaphor, Tamara. Vulnerability is feeling alive. Thanks for your insight.
Feeling vulnerable and sensitive as well. I love this. xoxo
Thank you, Ayala. xo
Vulnerability is a state of authenticity. Sure it’s a gamble, but without it we will never love or be loved with the full capacity of which we were created to give and receive…and oh, the blessings when we give it a chance.
The vulnerability of my words, the gateway to my heart, is what kept me from sharing my writing for so long. There are times I still struggle to put them out there, times I wish I hadn’t, and then there are times it was all worth it.