In order for true growth to happen, vulnerability is needed. It’s hard to be vulnerable because no one wants to be hurt or show pain. They say that when you are uncomfortable, that is when the most growth happens. For example, what I have been used to is having something bad happen, like having a friend die or not getting my way and being angry, holding things in and not showing my true feelings as to why I’m upset. If nobody knows what I am feeling, then no one can truly gage where I am at with my issue and pinpoint where the work needs to be made. Sometimes I am scared to what vulnerability can open up for me. If I am uptight or closed off, I know that I am holding something in and not fixing my problems. Being vulnerable is the artist’s way of having a clean canvas to paint a new picture.
When I was using and drinking, it was very rare for me to feel vulnerable. I hid all of my feelings and hid myself and never wanted to deal with them. I drowned myself in drugs and alcohol to drown my feelings and emotions so that I would never feel them because I felt it would be “too much” for me to handle. Since getting sober, I’ve felt vulnerable many times. When talking about my son I feel vulnerable because I haven’t been around or present and in his life for a long time and I feel horrible about that. Another thing I’ve felt vulnerable about is talking about my family. I feel so bad for the wrongs I’ve done to them and these things make me want to cry and open up to people which is exactly opposite of what I tried so hard not to do when I was using and drinking. To me vulnerability is opening yourself up to people and letting them in and letting your emotions out. It is very uncomfortable to do so but when I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable I can be real and honest with myself and others which will lead to growth and getting better. I’ve also struggled with being vulnerable and accepting help from people who care about me out of fear that they won’t accept me for who I am. So now that I’m sober and getting help from SOCD and Salina, I am slowly learning to get vulnerable and open up so that I can get help and maintain long term sobriety and be apart of my son’s life and be a good son to my parents.
Allowing myself to be vulnerable around others can be difficult. Unwanted feelings and emotions that have been stuffed away, come to the surface. This is often very uncomfortable and hard at times to endure. I used to think being vulnerable was a weakness but have realized it is a strength. After becoming vulnerable, I find relief and become more in tuned with myself. When I think of vulnerability, I think of being attacked or harmed emotionally or physically. Either way, exposing this state to others is a courageous act. Being vulnerable with others allows us to appreciate intimacy and closeness in our relationships. The more open we are, the less likely we will be hurt.
Something many of us yearn for in our relationship is a sense of security. We want to feel like no matter what, we will not be hurt in this love. Where there is doubt or insecurity, we view it as a sign something is wrong- that something needs to be fixed. If we can eradicate insecurity and vulnerability, then we think we will be “safe” and happy. But I’ve recently realized my attempts to feel invulnerable and secure make me more insecure through the loss of connection. Connection is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. Humans are wired for connection and we need it to survive. There’s really only one variable separating the people who have a strong sense of belonging from those of us who struggle and long for it. Those who have a sense of belonging believe they’re worthy and embrace vulnerability. To me, vulnerability is the willingness to say “I love you” first, to put yourself out there even though you might get rejected. The willingness to open up and invest in a relationship even though it might not work out. It’s fundamental to true connection and love, but it’s scary and uncomfortable. My goal has always been to be in control, stay guarded, and avoid vulnerability like the plague. That’s why I’ve numbed uncomfortable feelings with drugs for so long. Unfortunately, you can’t selectively numb emotions. I can’t numb vulnerability or insecurity without numbing joy, gratitude, love and happiness. Accepting vulnerability is letting go of the idea of who I think I should be so I can be authentic, which is necessary for love, belonging and connection. Vulnerability isn’t comfortable for anyone but it’s what makes people beautiful. My life becomes very unsatisfying when I spend all my energy trying to be secure. True security means welcoming complexity, comfortability and the unknown. It means becoming vulnerable because that’s how we connect to one another- rather than being secure, in control and alone.