Many of us were taught early on in life to see vulnerability as a weakness and so when we arrived in adulthood we had already established patterns of hiding from, running from, and disguising our vulnerability from our ourselves and others.
We get to this later stage in life and find ourselves responding to our fears, anxieties, worries, sadness, and injuries without even considering the consequences.
Driven by subconsciously programed belief systems, we fail to ask important questions such as;
Does this sort of response to vulnerability authentically help me in life? Or
What sort of impact does our treatment of vulnerability have on the people around us?
Recently a friend of mine contacted me about an exciting adventure she is going to go on with her children, she wanted to know about certain activities for her kids and I encouraged her to try those actives for herself as well.
The following text stream ensued:
My friend: 'Is she too young to dive? She is 9'
Me: She can do a bubble maker at least. Are you going to dive?
Friend: 'I won’t. Too scared. I'm trying to to give the kids experiences without them seeing me act like a baby.'
Me: 'Its beyond incredible, I would go so far as to say it has the life changing capacity to eliminate fears and transform a person into someone fearless.'
Friend: 'I know I know, but I think I would chicken out and I dont want my kid to see me be afraid because she will love it…'
Me: It's ok to be scared and do things anyway, you know, like to be afraid and feel terrified and still try. It is a practice'
Friend: 'I know, I just don't want to scared in front of my kids because they have no fears, in my head I am like YES let's do everything but I know I'll be hesitant and I don't want to share those fears'.
Me - and now this message is the most important and the reason for this video today, so please listen closely...
'You already know this, but I have to say it anyway, your kids are not fearless. They also have fears they are afraid to show others, fears that the support of others and the vulnerability to have openly would be of great benefit to them. You could always think that your task is not to NOT be scared for them, but to be vulnerable and open and in that way model healthy fear surmounting. And they may love an opportunity to be strong for you, to hold your hand. They want you to feel safe to be honest about what is true for you so that they can feel confident in their own self honesty.'
This wasn’t the end of the conversation but it is the point of what I want to say to you. Being vulnerable is not a weakness, being open with vulnerability is not something that causes harm to others, including our children. By seeing and embracing our vulnerabilities with authentic self compassion we give ourselves the chance to unlearn conditioned, detrimental patterns from childhood and are given the magical opportunity to transform the formation of new habits or the perpetuation of those habits in others. By embracing our fears, our weaknesses, our injuries, our suffering, you become stronger than we ever dreamed possible.
To apply this new way of treating your vulnerabilities is a simple, although perhaps uncomfortable practice. It begins with self honesty. You can start small, for instance the next time someone greets you and ask how you are, respond authentically. If you are not doing well, say so. You don't have to always be on, to always be happy, to always be perfect.
Practice one day of full and complete honesty to yourself and others and see how freeing this can be. Mastering the capacity to accept and admit vulnerability will have a life changing impact on you and is a key component to moving in the direction of ultimate wellbeing.
Until next time.
Live Mindfully, Be Well.