Vulnerability

Let’s be honest. It’s terrifying to put yourself out there.

vulnerable adj.  1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded    2. open to attack or damage

The act of being vulnerable is blindly trusting someone not to hurt you, and being “open to attack or damage” takes a lot of strength and a lot of courage. In some sense, it’s a crazy thing to do, because as we all know, people will hurt you.

And yet we all do it, little by little.

I once said that I share my story with others because it makes it harder for them to hate me. Opening up and sharing your experiences make you human. It shows parts of you that are imperfect, and this humanness gives others the opportunity to relate and empathize. In any relationship, friendship, you have to share parts of yourself to get closer. If I hadn’t shared my feelings, my thoughts, my fears, my dreams, myself, I wouldn’t have the friends that I do now.

We’ve also seen that vulnerability is an important factor in being happy. If you’re not convinced, watch this video by Brené Brown.

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If you really think about it though, it’s strange to think that everyday, I carve out pieces of myself and hand them out like campaign flyers, hoping that the passersby won’t toss them into the next trash can they come by, hoping dearly that they won’t stomp all over these pieces.

Knowing (maybe hoping) that being vulnerable can lead to something amazing is what keeps us doing it, even when time after time we find the pieces of ourselves damaged, betrayed, lost, and neglected. We may hold on to this possibility, but it doesn’t mean that being vulnerable gets any easier.

Recently, I’ve found myself putting myself out there, doing things I didn’t think I had the courage to do. I found myself being open and honest with people, sharing stories I didn’t think I’d share. I think I really enjoyed the feeling of control and power; I felt like I was playing protagonist in my life. Instead letting life happen to me, I was making life happen.

Until today.

Right now, I feel as though I’ve just been steamrolled by anxiety and panic. I am petrified that the scars that I’ve bared and the stories I’ve revealed will be too much. I’m terrified that they will be judged, worse, be the reason someone walks away from me.

This might sound the craziest: I’m scared that they will like me for who I am, because I don’t understand how anyone could accept the huge baggage I carry around with me.

I think the hardest thing would be if someone were to truly accept me for who I am, even appreciate the person I’ve become in the last 22 years.

Because, well, what if they change their mind? What if they leave? What if I’m not who they thought I was?

I’ve never reached this level of vulnerability, and honestly, I think it’s taking a toll on me.

xx

e

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