I write a lot of really vulnerable blog posts. Usually, and thankfully, they are well recieved.
But it finally happened- I was finally called out for being too open, too vulnerable. I was told by an acquaintance that people are turned off by vulnerability, and if I remember correctly, no man would ever want to date me that way.
This was only a matter of time- right? My writing- let alone the rest of my life- IS vulnerable. It’s gritty and exposing and unflattering. Anybody watching the “highlight reel” that is my Facebook page is able to get a good dose of reality by coming to my blog and cuddling up with this novel of my weakness and failures.
So yes, I am vulnerable- online, in real life, with my friends, and with strangers. Isn’t this a bad idea though? Doesn’t it open me up to being hurt? Yes, it does. And no, it doesn’t.
When You Choose Vulnerability
I wish I could say that every time you reach out for help, admit your weaknesses, or in some other way display vulnerability your gesture will be universally well received. It won’t be.
There will be some people who find it off-putting. Some people will think of you as obnoxious, needy, burdensome, even, perhaps, pathetic. The account of the acquaintance at the beginning of this post illustrates how this has happened to me. It will happen to you, too.
These people will distance themselves. They will begin avoiding you, if they can. They may say hurtful things. They may make you will unimportant and small. All in all, they will communicate that your weakness makes you unworthy.
They will like you less. They will want to be around you less. And that is exactly what you want. Think of it as social exfoliation.
Being vulnerable will drive people out of your life who cannot provide for your needs. It will rid you of those who don’t want to help strengthen and support you.
And who will be left?
The people who are going to make your life awesome are going to be left.
While being vulnerability will likely remove some people from your life, it has the potential to greatly strengthen your relationships with those who stay.
Think about it- have you ever been nervous about telling someone something about yourself, but then found that they took the news way better than you had expected? How did they make you feel? If you’re anything like me, it gave you a new level of trust and connectedness to that person. It may unlocked the gate to a whole new level of emotional intimacy.
Have you ever had someone help you out in a situation that you may have been embarrassed about? But instead of being judgmental, they were understanding, caring, and helpful? How did that make you feel about that person, and, more importantly, how did that make you feel about yourself?
Have you ever had someone sit with you during a breakdown? Lend you money in an emergency? Deliver a meal to you in a time of tragedy? Forgive you when resentment seemed justifiable? Offer to help you work your way out of a bad situation you got yourself into? Pray for you, without even being asked? Clean your house, because, let’s face it, you’re a hot mess?
And they did it all out of love?
It is nice to be respected and admired by those who just know the good stuff I like to show off, don’t get me wrong- but, at least for me, this kind of validation is fleeting at best, and pride-invoking at worst.
I don’t think anything makes me feel more important than being accepted- flaws and all.
Going a step further, knowing that people will love me with my failures makes me far less afraid to fail. And being less afraid to fail makes me less afraid to try. And that means more trying. And that means more succeeding.
Also, it is often so much easier to work through problems with help. And if they’re the tough kind of problem, you need the kind of help that you can be honest with- not the kind where you are only partially honest about the situation because of the fear of being viewed poorly.
Do you get it?
Willingness to be weak makes it easier to be strong. Letting people know you have failed makes it easier to succeed.
And all the while, you’re relationships will be rich, rewarding, intimate, and fulfilling.
I put off having a blog for a long time. I wanted to write, but I didn’t feel like I had anything special to write about. I didn’t cook or craft. I don’t go on exciting vacations. I don’t have cute kids. Then it hit me- I needed to say the things that other people thought, but weren’t willing to say. I needed to say hard things, and I was probably going to have to say hard things about myself.
The lure of my writing, from what I’ve been told, is that it is confidently honest about things I’m not confident about. It is always scary to press the “publish” button, but always worth it.