The concept of vulnerability is a touchy one. Many times it is snuggled comparatively alongside words like ‘exposed’ and ’embarrassed’, leading us to think that being vulnerable automatically opens us up to hurt, failure and despair. This uncertainty is enough to make even the softest and most fluffy of hearts harden up and vow to never admit or even entertain the possibility of emotional weakness – maybe this is why a lot of humans these days are suffering from a condition we’ll call “I’m fine, but I’m not fine.”
How is it that we so easily fall into the pattern of chasing control and power, yet end up misunderstood and lacking in freedom? Could it be a conditioned mindset that experiencing temporary discomforts and depth are signs of weakness and inadequacy rather than courageous and healthy progress?
In reality, outside of our own minds and fleshly defensiveness, we will find it’s only the latter that leads to true and lasting connections, healing, and worthwhile growth.
Over the past 12 months I have been gifted experiences that really challenged me to view vulnerability and weakness in a more commendable light – through embracing the physical realities of situations like completely losing my health after a major surgery, and on the opposite end of the scale, something as simple and enjoyable as travelling solo for a brief time.
In times when I was gripped by the feeling of needing to ‘do more and be more’ while my body was in a prolonged state of recovery, frustration and envy would kick in. This ironically ended up doing the opposite of assisting my healing, as I danced with the feeling of wanting to blame my body for not being well enough to perform.
The real gem here is in learning to have more thankfulness and patience, adjust perspective and acknowledge what it is you have or are currently going through (whether it’s your health, an uncomfortable situation, a crippling fear). The reality of my health coming to a halt could have been a tired body’s handbrake solution to stop me in my tracks of trying to perfect, control and push myself into being superwoman – mentally, emotional, physically and spiritually.
Lesson: Feel feelings.
Be okay with weakness and imperfection. Don’t try to become bionic or rely on drastic things to happen to make you take a good look at how much kindness and time you are allowing yourself to enjoy.
For myself, the ocean is a great teacher in relinquishing control. Being in and around it gently reminds me of my inadequacy as a human to control things of a bigger nature. To practise the art of resting in that vulnerability and using it to our advantage, not as an enemy, is much like surrender in our daily lives.
Sometimes it’s necessary to admit our inability to have it together all the time. The ability to laugh at oneself in the midst of a society so invested with fitting in and flaunting perfection is the most authentic and sustaining act of self-confidence and assurance; it’s like flailing and flopping about in imperfection while embodying some form of absolute flawlessness.
When we choose to believe that something in our world can only turn out good if it goes according to our perfect plan and expectation, our options become limited. As we detach from the ideals of perfection and instead favour vulnerability and surrender, we open our mind and heart, and our motivations, actions and responses in life become much simpler. The notion of observing how things more effortlessly pass through and turn from burdens to blessings has the power to become a massive redefinition for our daily life and relationships.
Put simply, the art of surrender and vulnerability is at the heart of true femininity.
– image credit: Joseph Young