Generally I feel that vulnerability is not a desired characteristic in one’s self. I, for one, hate to feel unprotected. Out of control. Weak. This is when my brain takes over my heart. It says, “Heart, you have gotten us into the worst pain we have ever known. So we’re now co-captains of this Maney Vessel, and in case of emergency, I am in charge.”
This can be a good thing. It helps me through anxiety attacks sometimes. I use my brain to imagine a world that I can understand. A world that I can feel safe in. Or sometimes I am in so much pain because of those I love and lose and miss, I can think my way into some candlelit corner of hope. Although my brain is good at managing tasks and solving problems, it can be a little unfeeling when it comes to relationships. In some ways this is a strength: no hope, no hurt. If you never let yourself love or hope or dream, you can’t be disappointed when those things come to an agonizing end. Right?
But. My counselor says that vulnerability is a good thing. And that gives me pause for thought. I trust my counselor. She literally saved my life. She is kind and good and safe. And she tells me that being vulnerable is healthy! It goes against every self-defense skill I taught myself after everything happened! But she says it’s true, so…
So I’ve been trying it lately. Trying to be a little more vulnerable. Trying to put my heart out there. And let me just tell you, it’s scary as heck. I am a human who gets an anxiety attack if someone speaks too loudly in public. How can I explain this so the general non-anxious population will understand? Um… imagine your least favorite bug crawling over your face. If that makes you quite uncomfortable, then that is how it feels to “put myself out there.”
I’m not complaining–or maybe I am, and I’m sorry–but I only mean to tell you that you’re not alone. Life is hard, and anxiety is hard, and being vulnerable on purpose is terrifying. True, true, true. But please don’t give up! If only for this: I cannot be the only one who is doing this. I need a few humans who understand a little of my fear, and who still keep trying to be open to new relationships.
Also, don’t forget: there is always one person who knows exactly what you’re going through. He loves you. He suffered and died for you. And He lives.
You can be brave because of Him.