None of us truly like to be put in positions in which we feel vulnerable, but to achieve anything worth having in life you have to expose some part of yourself and become just a little bit vulnerable.
To open yourself up to something you have never had before, whether it’s a new relationship or a new career opportunity, you have to step into the unknown. I personally struggle a lot with being vulnerable, because I associate vulnerability with weakness.
Showing my hopes and dreams to others feels like I am giving them the power to hurt me. When you show all of yourself to another person you don’t have control over how they will receive you. You can’t look into the future and know how they will react to you or how you will feel about the exchange.
When I was studying for my undergraduate degree in Sociology one of the theories that stuck with me was the idea of the Looking Glass Self. This theory states that our self-image, our idea of self, is shaped not by our own opinions but by the opinions of others.
The way others see us and react to us shapes how we see ourselves and we are constantly shaped by how society reacts to us. I believe this socialization plays heavily into our fears of being vulnerable, of putting ourselves out there. We never know how others are going to react and that in itself is the risk we take every time we go to that interview or ask that person out on a date.
Whenever I step into a space of vulnerability I can feel myself putting up defensive walls. “I don’t care”, “I’m not that invested”, “Whatever happens, happens”, “It is what it is”. I say these things to myself and to others in the hopes that they won’t see how badly I want things to work out my way, how much I want to be loved, accepted and seen for who I believe I am.
Writing this blog can be a challenge for me because I am putting myself out there. I am sending my thoughts, views and experiences out into the abyss and hoping that the reaction is favourable. This year when I sit down to write I hope that my words are an accurate portrayal of my authentic self and show that I am trying my best to live bravely.
I have found that when I open up and show all of myself: the good, the bad and what I might think is the ugly, overall the response is positive. Through practicing vulnerability I am challenging myself to live a life where I become more comfortable with feeling exposed and embrace the feeling of fear that comes with being my authentic self.