“Vulnerability is the essence of connection and connection is the essence of existence.” – Leo Christopher
I had no idea when I began my journey of self discovery at 19, that what I was truly doing was becoming whole by slowly learning to embrace my vulnerability. We all grow up in families, in societies where raw honesty, true vulnerability is feared. We learn that there is no safe space for our messy selves, our emotional selves. As children, we learn from experience that our imperfections, our neediness, our missteps, our not knowing, our weaknesses make people uncomfortable. It makes them uncomfortable because it triggers their own vulnerability that they feel unsafe being with. It isn’t personal! There is no way a person can be with another person’s vulnerable self if they cannot be with their own vulnerability, their own perceived weaknesses. Generation after generation we learn that our vulnerabilities are shameful and if we, in relationships, are open and honest with what isn’t perfect, harmonious, well adjusted, nice, cooperative, friendly, happy, if we dare to claim our vulnerability as a legitimate part of being human, then we risk not being loved. That is a risk most of us are too afraid to take.
This non-acceptance for what we deem as human weakness manifests as judgement. And it is judgement that is the tool for disconnection between people and separation we all experience from love, wisdom, beauty, abundance…from Life itself. Judgement of others keeps us disconnected from truly uniting in love with another in their experiences, allowing the waves of misery or even joy to come and go with another person, serving as the space for their vulnerability is an act of love in the highest, maybe the only true act of love. And we judge ourselves for the thoughts and emotions we feel are “wrong” or “too right”. We sever ourselves from the wholeness of our own gorgeous, real selves and true connections with others and with Life itself. We sever our selves from True Love, that is unconditional love. I am committed to a life in raw alignment with my vulnerability, I learned that it is indeed my greatest strength. I am committed to being that space of radical love for my children as well. I am committed to Love.
For the past two years, I have willingly gone through what would be called “the dark night of the soul” or what I jokingly call my “emotional sewer”. Growing up without feeling safe to be me, no matter what, caused me to grow up fragmented. Seeing myself through the eyes of right and wrong. I had to come face to face, in raw honesty, with every negative judgement which I had spend decades invested in and feel the pain of each belief, each weakness I judged myself for, each aspect of me that I truly believed was unworthy of love, each element of my victimhood that I held onto with dear life, demanded to be felt, demanded to be here, demanded to be loved. I learned that my mind, my thoughts have no power, that they are not messengers of truth, but if allowed, take me to the Truth of who I am. I But what a gift my life has been! The contrasts that have allowed me to discover True Love! I am grateful for absolutely all of it.
As part of my journey, I made the painful decision to step away from relationships that compromised the safety of my vulnerability. I say painful, because it implied allowing people to believe I did not love them. That could not be further from the truth. It is just that I needed to love me more, love me first, love me most. Embracing my vulnerability, making space and time in my life to go through the process of coming Home to myself really meant learning to love myself unconditionally. Through the process of leaving no stone unturned, no feeling unfelt, unloved, I now experience everyday this rush of self compassion I have never felt before! With each judgement I embrace about others as well, the more love and compassion I feel for the world, accepting the absence of love in others knowing it is always about the subconscious fear of being vulnerable, fear of not being loved.
What I did not expect and what seems to be growing more and more each day is a fiery “ownership” for my Wholeness…this is a bit hard to put into words. As I release my attachment to being a “victim” (in my mind, I had made being a victim synonymous with the need to stay small so that I would be “easy” to love), it is like I go from walking hunched over, diminishing myself to others, holding back from life to standing tall, taking up space, facing life and the unknown knowing that I HAVE ME, that I am held by Life, cared for and LOVED beyond my wildest dreams. I have seen, experienced first hand that my vulnerability will not crush me. That being “with”, embracing my most vulnerable self time and time again, day after day, not from my mind, but from my heart is the greatest sensation of love I have ever felt. And is what I have always been yearning for, but searched for in relationship with others but never found. I have created space for this rawness with my children as well. We literally experience physical pain when the door to our vulnerability seems closed (sometimes needs a nudge!). We have language now that makes all feelings safe to be shared, to be felt, to be held. I have fallen in love with my children more than I have ever believed I had the capacity to. A love that feels broader that love! A love where I am gone. They are gone and there is only joy. Joy that holds the pain, the fear, the shame, the guilt, the anger…A joy that holds Life and celebrates IT ALL!
The strength, the confidence, the fearlessness that I am experiencing NOW in just being Me, is like nothing I have ever dreamed of. United with Life itself, with wisdom and love, and yet so human, so gorgeously imperfect! Divinely Human! Imperfection no longer means I am wrong or bad or unlovable or should be ashamed of myself, my imperfections, my messy self, my missteps are only joyful opportunities to expand even more in love for myself, for life itself and everyone and everything in it.
But this deep love and compassion for myself will not allow me to be in relationships with others that do not respect vulnerability in me or in themselves. Raw honesty, raw feeling, the courage to be REAL are my requirements for anyone I am close to now. I used to believe that my need to be safe in my vulnerability (had no words for this back then however…) with others made me needy, made me “high maintenance”, that a safe place for my heart was unrealistic, too much to ask from people. And it did! Because it came from fear. But I see now that a space for vulnerability in my closest relationships, without judgement, is a simple requirement for Wholeness, a simple act of self love. No longer bending to “be something” for others, to diminish my softness, my feeling side, my own authentic voice because it makes other feel uncomfortable. My aloneness does not frighten me, we are all alone in truth, gorgeously alone in our own experience of life. It is the absence of self loathing that makes my aloneness pure bliss.