Wielding Vulnerability as a Weapon
Happy TribeLife Tuesday!
If this is your first time here, Welcome to our Tribe! We are a group of humans gathering each week to share life, inspire one another, and each of us is boldly choosing to become a difference maker in our world.
Today I want you to pull up a chair, take a deep breath, and come find rest. Here. Right here. On this page. Over the years and through many conversations with some of my most amazing friends I have seen this frantic need for self preservation when relationships get tough. I’ve been there myself. When the vulnerability sirens start blaring, our natural instinct kicks in - SURVIVE - PROTECT! The somewhat natural tendency in shutting down emotionally and putting distance between you and said friend, partner, or family member can sometimes be alarming—but today I want to sit right there with you.
How do we stay vulnerable in the midst of pain, hurt, shame, turmoil, and the everyday?
I’ll start with me. For a long time I had confused openness with vulnerability. I have always been a very open person. I don’t fear personal questions. If you ask me anything, 9.5 times out of 10 I am going to answer you—and I used to think that was vulnerability. But it’s not. For example, I would share with you how my husband and I have tried to conceive a child for 10 years and that we are still on that journey, but what I wouldn’t tell you is that we have started the adoption process with 3 different agencies over the years and heard from 2 of those 3 agencies that “we were not accepted” without explanation. You see, that’s the vulnerable part. Not only are unqualified physically, but now we’re labeled that as well. So therein lies this insufficiency—my insufficiency—which causes me to protect that part of my life. It’s self-preservation.
The process of adoption is having your life scoured to see if you meet the standard. Please hear me, I believe in the process, I understand it, I appreciate it, and it’s necessary. None the less, in my “case,” showing up vulnerably means starting this process again, when I’ve already been disappointed and rejected (more than once). It means not ALWAYS hiding behind the generality of infertility. It’s accepting this precious gift of vulnerability as a sword, my weapon to brandish. It’s powerful, heavy, sharp and not to be wielded frivolously.
Let’s rest here for a minute on the fact that vulnerability is a weapon which you may wield. In one of the pieces I wrote a while back called Relationships, Risky Business, I stated, "vulnerability levels the playing field” and I want to expand on that a little more. Being willing to let someone in emotionally (which is all that vulnerability is) is an exposure of a tender part of yourself, meaning that you are willing to relinquish your power and lay down your weapon. This is the stuff that grows us, it puts the humanity back into living.
Many times we want a guarantee that the other person will do the same with their sword, that they will lay it down. But having a guarantee defeats the purpose of being vulnerable. Walking into the ring, bare, with only your sword makes you so freaking powerful. It's at that point where it is no longer about self-preservation, but about how strong you really are.
Tribe, I know this is much easier said then done. I know this because I have been in the ring many times, sometimes wielding my weapon for protection and sometimes laying it down despite the outcome. This is not a one time only type of thing. It’s choice you make continually, in every relationship, with every person you find yourself in the ring with.
So I ask you today, How are you doing with your vulnerability?