Me: “Hey, how’s it going?”
Person: “Good, good; how ’bout yourself?”
Me: “Good; can’t complain.”
How many times have I had this conversation? Maybe TOO MANY times? Why is my default to put on this face of “Everything’s good” even when it’s not, even to my closest friends?
Vulnerability is not considered a virtue in our world today. You have to be hard as nails, impervious and cool in the face of adversity, and never fail to keep up appearances. “Trust no one but yourself,” the world tells us.
This attitude, however, is dangerous, not only in our relationships with others, but even more so in the way it makes us see ourselves.
“In the beginning, people think vulnerability will make you weak, but it does the opposite. It shows you’re strong enough to care.” – Victoria Pratt
Relationships are built on trust. Yet without vulnerability, without opening up to the other about who we really are and what is really going on in our hearts and in our lives, there is no trust. Fear of pain or rejection is so strong at times that it gets in the way of what should be our closest human ties. Social media doesn’t help; a thousand selfies won’t create one meaningful relationship.
Vulnerability is also important with the way we see ourselves. If we can’t be honest to ourselves about ourselves, what even the heck is with that?? What’s the point? We can fool others, but we can’t fool ourselves. We know what’s up.
No growth is possible if we don’t know ourselves, what’s really going on. Accepting ourselves is the next step, and is often even harder to achieve. But what is the point of understanding our faults if we live in denial of them? Accepting the challenges we face opens the way to the final step: overcome those challenges. Don’t stay there. Move. Do something about it. If we don’t, we will never grow, and those little walls of pride will rain on the party of our happiness for the rest of our lives.
My challenge to myself, and to you, is this: Be vulnerable. Break down those silly walls of mistrust and self-delusion that we set up in a futile attempt to cling on to the last shreds the appearance of having it all put together. Let go. Let go, and let God.
When we are vulnerable with our friends, with ourselves, and ultimately with our God, then and ONLY then are we in a place to begin a true journey of true personal growth and self-mastery.