We are generally afraid to show our vulnerabilities.
Most of us perceive vulnerability as weaknesses. But actually, vulnerability can really save your life, and after reading this article, I’m sure you’ll start to see the beauty in being vulnerable.
We avoid accepting our vulnerability for different reasons. The most common are:
>> The fear of failure
>> The fear of suffering
>> The fear of rejection
>> Lack of confidence
And if you think about it, the reasons above are all interconnected and often lead us to please others to feel safe. The truth is that if we don’t accept our vulnerability, we don’t take risks in life. And if we don’t take risks in life, we don’t get the chance to be truly happy.
After years of a long healing and personal development journey—and helping hundreds of clients to deal with their traumas and fears—I can say that to achieve and reach what we want in life, we have to accept the fear of loss, suffering, or failing, and do what we want regardless.
I personally don’t think we can overcome 100 percent of every type of fear. We can surely heal our traumas and be confident and strong. But I believe that the ultimate healing is to accept the balance of life. Accepting the pain as we accept the pleasure.
Every time we don’t accept our vulnerability, we are more likely to be in toxic relationships or to avoid love at any cost.
In the case of avoiding relationships, I know you fought a lot to be able to be happy by yourself. I also know that deep inside you are consciously or unconsciously afraid that a love relationship can destroy that apparent well-being and independence you conquered. I want to tell you that, if as human beings we were supposed to not need a relationship, we would be born differently.
Life is possible only because a relationship was made. If we did not need a relationship, why are we born through two parents? I know the word “need” is terrifying for you. But this is another way not to accept your vulnerability and not accept you have needs. Do you know that you can have a secure attachment in your relationships?
I will tell you something now that can let you accept more the concept of vulnerability.
In the Oxford Learner’s Dictionary, the definition of vulnerability is “the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionally.” In the Cambridge Dictionary, the definition of vulnerability is “the quality of being vulnerable (= able to be easily hurt, influenced, or attacked), or something vulnerable.”
I think we should revisit and amplify the definition of vulnerability. Think about that; if we weren’t vulnerable, we would not be able to feel. And not only not feeling pain, but also not being able to feel pleasure. If we weren’t vulnerable, we would not feel the perception of floating on the water or refreshing in the sea from the heat. If we weren’t vulnerable, we would not be able to experience pleasure while being hugged by a loved one or while making love.
Without vulnerability, we would be completely numb and nothing would influence our state and sensations positively or negatively. So please keep in mind that every time you escape from a relationship deluding yourself by thinking you will not suffer, you end up suffering more. Because closing a door to the pain is closing a door to the pleasure.
Life comes to be experienced fully in every aspect, not only in the good ones. And if you want to be happy and experience the good ones, allow yourself to be vulnerable and take the risk to experience bad aspects—knowing that if you experience bad, you’re going to experience good as well.
In the case of toxic or unhealthy relationships, one of the most common aspects is a lack of communication. We are afraid to communicate our needs and thoughts because we are afraid of the other’s reaction, afraid of rejection, or loneliness. So, we keep staying in unhealthy relationships, unable to set our boundaries, unable to leave, keep chasing unavailable partners, and/or keep pleasing the partner to feel safe. And at that moment, there is a strong core belief whispering in our ears, “Be lovely and do good; you are the good one; if you act as the good one, the others will notice your value and understand how important you are for them.”
That is an illusion. Every single time you don’t set your boundaries, you don’t recognize your own needs. And if you don’t recognize them, you will never be able to satisfy them or let someone else be able to know what your needs are.
So basically, you are not valuing yourself and hoping someone else will value you, just because you do so, so, so much for the other person, and you say most of the time no to yourself in order to say yes to others.
Want to improve your relationships? Want to be loved in the way you deserve? Want to understand if that partner is the right one for you or not? There is only one solution to all the three questions: be yourself.
Be vulnerable enough to be your authentic self. Be vulnerable enough to show your vulnerabilities and set your boundaries. Be vulnerable enough to question yourself and your actions and reactions. Be vulnerable enough to take the risk of being lonely, rejected, and unloved, but do whatever it takes to be authentic.
The more you are authentic, the more you will heal generational trauma. That trauma makes us believe that we have to always be “the good girl” and “the good boy” to be praised—exactly as it was when you were in primary school. Does it sound familiar? Our parents, caregivers, or teachers praised us when we were doing something good and blamed us when we were doing something not that good or correct. So, this dynamic generated a firm belief that today brings us to not accept our vulnerabilities, not to be able to accept failure or loss, to blame ourselves every time we do something we are ashamed of, and to seek the most common trauma response, perfectionism.
From today make yourself the biggest gift, choose real over perfect. Like that, you will understand that your worth is not related to what you do or how you do it.
You are worthy of love even if you do nothing. You are worthy of love even if you did something bad. Love is your birthright. And how do you access this love? Through acceptance. If you are authentic, you will allow yourself to accept all the parts of you. And acceptance is the first step to improving something. Every time you want to improve something in yourself, something in your body, something in your relationships, something in your life, the very first step is to accept it.
Without acceptance, you will act to change and improve that something, starting from a place of fear. But it is only love that can really transform something for good. And acceptance is one of the most radical acts of love.
If we approach the change while hating that aspect of ourselves, we will not transform it and improve it in the right way for us. We will keep building up the seeking of perfection and all the fears related to that. Instead, if we act from a place of love, we will accept that aspect of ourselves or our life, knowing that it is there to show us something and to learn something. And after this learning, we can step forward with appreciation instead of rejection, and everything will transform and improve much faster and easier.
To let you understand this concept better, I will make an example and share one of my vulnerabilities with you.
If someone gains lots of weight involuntarily or has always been overweight and hates that, I am sure they will try many different things to lose this unaccepted fat. But most of the time it will be so difficult and frustrating because the body will not really respond to all the exercise and diets.
It happened to me as well. Two years ago, after I stopped the birth control pill, I suddenly gained 5 kgs in one month and another 7 kgs between the second and sixth month after the pill interruption. And I know it might sound crazy, but I gained the last 7 kgs while I was going four times a week to the gym and dieting.
After the first 5 kgs gained, I went crazy and could not accept that. I hated my big belly, and that weight gain made me relive the same trauma I experienced 17 years before when I gained 12 kgs in one year because of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). After that, I started to take the birth control pill, and during the first year, I lost 10 kgs without doing anything, simply because the pill was avoiding the PCOS symptoms and hormonal imbalance. You would say now, “Okay, you gained the 12 kgs again after you stopped the birth control pill cause of the hormones and the PCOS,” but, no. My gynecologist declared me fully healed from PCOS two years before the pill interruption and after as well. All my blood tests and hormone levels are really good. So, no one doctor could ever understand why I gained 12 kgs after quitting the pill.
I’ll tell you what I think the reason was and what made me not only accept my extra kgs but even love to have gained them!
The first approach has been to hate my body and the extra 5 kgs and start dieting, counting calories, going to the gym, and doing whatever possible to lose weight. The result was stressing and pushing my body, because I acted from a place of fear and gained another 7 kgs. After that, I started to understand that my body was trying to tell me something, and digging deeper within myself I understood that I gained all this weight 17 years ago and again two years ago because I never had set boundaries in my life.
I have always been a people pleaser to feel “the good girl” and to beg love. Basically, my body was building layers of fat to take up all the space I was never taking for myself. My beautiful body was just trying to show me that. I started to lose weight only when I started to set boundaries by myself and accepted my body and the extra kgs. And to show everyone my vulnerability and transform it into one of my biggest strengths, I decided to go to make some shootings as a curvy model.
I would never have been able to even think about doing that. Two years ago, I was completely disgusted by my fat, but once I started to see the beauty of my vulnerability and the messages behind that, I unlocked unapologetic self-acceptance, self-love, and became self-confident for real. So, I am grateful for this experience. I’m saying to you all of that and making this example to show you that accepting our vulnerability and loving ourselves on all our sides—a full 360 degrees—is really a game changer. And paradoxically, being fatter created in me the confidence and self-love I needed to stop being a people pleaser and improved my relationships.
Before gaining weight, I was sure to be pretty confident and to love myself, but gaining weight made me understand that I needed, for sure, an upgrade of that. And today, thanks to my vulnerability, my confidence is unshakeable.
To be vulnerable is a huge superpower that makes us humans.
And if we stop seeking perfection, we will then notice that being alive is really fun and it’s giving us many more good things than we thought.