Being Vulnerable

I’m not too proud of how I handled something lately. I overreacted and got upset because someone didn’t do what I wanted them to do. And while I may have had some valid reasons to get upset, I’m not happy at all about the way I acted toward this person.

Ahhh, always fun to be disappointed with oneself, right? Well, I’ve learned that rather than dwelling on it, it’s best to learn from it and figure it out…

First thing that came to my mind is the fact that I have a temper. I mean come on, I’m 100% Sicilian and from New York, but I try hard to keep it in check and it rarely flares. But when it does, I have to think about why the crazy behavior…

Hm…. and then it hit me. The situation made me vulnerable. And I despise vulnerability.

Once again, turning to my Apple dictionary, by definition vulnerability means “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” Well, who wants that, right? But while the physical part makes complete sense, the emotional part is a bit fuzzier. For example, when we put ourselves out there in dating land, are we not allowing ourselves to be vulnerable? But to what degree are we willing to do so? While most others are probably willing to be more vulnerable in order to get the reward, I’m definitely on the other side of the spectrum in which the moment I feel I’m in a position to be hurt emotionally, at all, I strike back. And I believe that’s why I acted, repeatedly, the way I had with this particular person.

One could argue we largely become who we are based on the experiences of our childhood.

When I was ten, my parents moved us from Buffalo, New York, to Los Angeles, California, and I had to leave my best friend behind. She was the world to me and I struggled greatly with this separation. I mean I started doing rather odd things, like making lists on how to not get too close with the new friends I made and wearing layers of clothing and not wanting anyone to touch me, but before I scare off my readers, I’ll stop there. Suffice to say, I did not take well to the feeling of loss. Though it may have been on a subconscious level, I think it was then that I decided I would not put myself in such a vulnerable position like that again. It kept me at a distance from people for many years. Throughout my young adulthood, I would change friendships like they were disposable. But then, I started building life-lasting friendships and that helped me see being vulnerable was okay and I thought I was really beating this. This recent behavior of mine, however, showed me it’s still in me.

The fear of being vulnerable.

But without some vulnerability in life, especially when dealing with our emotions toward others, do we not greatly limit ourselves? Yes, we have to see what is actually in front of us and being vulnerable is not to be confused with being in denial or naive, but doesn’t it take some vulnerability to connect with someone else?

Being vulnerable can actually be quite courageous.


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