Everyone tells you to live with an open heart, to be vulnerable, to show the world your wounds, and your true Inner Self. But let me tell you something — not only is it hard as hell — it’s not what people REALLY want.
Humans are attracted to each other — so I’ve read — by confidence. Confidence is sexy according to Psychology Today. It seems that being vulnerable would be an instant red flag to that process.
No one wants to be clung to and suffocated by the needs of another. No one wants someone so vulnerable they can’t get their own house in order. No one wants someone who is so fragile and breakable — they might just be THE last straw which completely destroys that person.
Or do they?
Relationships call for a level of vulnerability in the truth telling. You have to be willing to trust that the person on the other side of your equals sign in this equation won’t cut and run when they see you are not 100% confidence and independence in motion 100% of the time. They should not pull away if you lean in a bit now and then. Because a relationship being built means you trust someone enough to be your Real Self, not your PR Self at long last.
And vulnerability is vital to that process.
But what happens when we show our underbellies to the world? Or even just a few trusted souls?
Real Friends, Real People stick with you. You all know who your people are. I can see you nodding your heads through my computer screen. You know who your 3AM-My Car-Let-Me-Down-And-Uber-Won’t-Come-Get-Me call is. You also know the next level call — The Bail Money Call. And finally the tippy top of the pyramid — The Sobbing OMG Someone I Loved Is Gone Call. You know your various levels of vulnerability and who in your tribe goes where.
Relationships are made for that stuff. People are made for that stuff. We want to think the world at large could handle it. Perhaps eventually, we will build that kinder, gentler world — where vulnerability isn’t seen as an ugly weakness, a by product of being ‘unstrong’.
In fact, the opposite is closer to the truth. Being vulnerable takes a level of strength which only surfaces when many of us are under deep diress. Much like courage, fortitude, and the adrenline surge needed to lift automobiles off small children — it hides in the darkness of our souls until forced out by life’s circumstances. We never realize it is a normal part of being a human.
Our vulnerability is a treasure we reward to those closest to us. A gift given only to those we know can handle it with care. A relationship where we show our vulnerability takes time. Lots of time. Especially when that relationship is with Life itself.