Tag Archives: vulnerability is good

Vulnerability is a Must for Love–Use It with Care

I had a crazy experience recently. I was leading a group and I really wanted it to go well–really get everyone bonded. I had made a plan but then decided to go with another one at the last minute.

The group went even better than I supposed it would. They all seemed to feel good about it, but I didn’t. People had opened up more than I expected, even people that I didn’t think would.

Usually I go first to model vulnerability–a rule of being a good group leader. But I didn’t even have to. And afterwards I felt bad.

I couldn’t understand it! Why did I feel bad? Because I hadn’t gone first? Because I had changed plans? Because I thought I hadn’t prepared well enough? I didn’t get it, but I felt an awful heaviness in my chest.

I went to bed an hour or so later, and it was still there! So I said to God, “I don’t know what is going on! I have no idea why I feel this heaviness. You healed some old lies for me this morning, and yet tonight I feel worse than if You hadn’t. What is going on? Do I need to learn something? Find a lie? Is this just an attack from the dark side because things  went so well? Please show me and take this feeling away.

Immediately it lifted, and I was so grateful and went to sleep. But the next morning I was still puzzled, when suddenly it hit me: the people who had shared had gotten so vulnerable and so real that it actually scared me. I felt that because they had opened up and shared so much I could, and it scared me half to death.

It was such a surprise to me! I have gotten fairly at ease with sharing vulnerable things about myself. I don’t know if anyone ever gets comfortable with it, but if is usually freeing and you feel lighter afterwards. That is the reward. Secretly, we all long to be known and loved anyway. But there are certain things that only go to very trusted people, and I think suddenly I felt that this was a group I could trust, and it scared me.

I’m sharing it because I think we all are afraid to be open and vulnerable, and we should pick and choose people who have earned our trust over time–people who have risked sharing with us also–to trust. Risking vulnerability is scary, but it is good. It is growing. Just wanted you to know that everybody feels it, except maybe sociopaths, but risking being known is one of the best human experiences there is. Do it carefully, don’t share too much too soon, but do it. Let yourself be known. It is the only way to feel truly accepted and loved.

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Mothering is Not Easy, but it is Good

Remember how easy it was to run to Mommy when you were hurt or in pain? Needing was natural then.

“Admitting the problem is half of the healing.”

I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Why is it so hard for us to do? Especially if we know how much it helps us?

I think, because we have all been hurt, we are in self-protective mode. We try to shunt responsibility elsewhere. For instance, I always think all the dirt in my house comes from my husband. I don’t even question it! Well, lately I had a humorous and painful thought. When he dies, I might be surprised at how much dirt is still here–and then I’ll have to admit that it’s me.

When you admit responsibility you have to do something. You have to look at yourself–admit you fail, admit you aren’t perfect, admit you are vulnerable.

Or, you get to do something! People who can’t admit they are wrong strain the relationships they are in, putting pressure on the people around them–the ones closest, including yourself.

We think admitting fault or weakness makes us less. Makes us look bad. Or this one–makes us vulnerable.  We don’t like to feel vulnerable –it scares us. We think we have to protect ourselves. What a silly notion. As if we really could! Most of our attempts make things worse–including us. It hardens our response ability into defensiveness (fear), instead of the free-flow of creative thought where solutions or new ideas come from. Defensiveness keeps us from growing. It makes those around us uncomfortable, and sometimes feel hopeless.

Welcoming a new perspective helps. Brene Brown has researched vulnerability for years and has found it to be  the most healthy attitude a person can have: knowing that you aren’t perfect, can make mistakes, and admit it.

Today I am so proud of my daughter for admitting she has post-partum depression! She has already started to feel better three days later! Yes, it can respond that fast. (And for any of you who are fighting depression, research has shown that 1000-4000 mg. of Omega 3/daily, and half as much of 6 and 9, is more effective than anti-depressants, as is exercise, and sunlight, or vitamin D if you have no sun, and in her case iron because of blood loss from birthing).

We knew she was suffering from sleep deprivation, and I noticed she looked like she did when she was depressed after her last son, but she wasn’t into the vulnerable place of being helped yet then. Her main coping mechanism has been to do it herself, take care of everything, be perfect.

In fact she confronted me on being judgmental about her technology. That wasn’t how I saw it, but man, did it hurt. There was just enough truth and just enough misunderstanding to really make it sting.

I didn’t know what to say, but when it hurts that bad, you have two choices: go into defensive mode or pray. So I breathed, and said to God, I don’t even know what to say. We were with her husband and mine, and someone said something, and I heard myself saying, “I just know that looking at yourself is really hard. It’s so painful that you can barely see yourself with any clarity.”

That broke the tension and everyone became more vulnerable. Everyone started sharing, and we even ended up praying together. It ended up making our last day much better.

A real big-picture perspective would show us how futile are our attempts at self-protection. With what we are up against–living in the war zone between good and evil–we regularly get slammed with discouragement and pain, and what fun the dark side has with our pretending to be good and right. They help us make big messes with denial and self-protection.

How much better to let God protect us, so we are free to be real: broken and vulnerable, not hiding, not defensive. Able to hurt, to need help, to be wrong–to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is good, healthy even.

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