Vulnerability Is a Good Thing

Posted On: 01.24.12

My favorite posts on this blog are my vulnerable ones. The ones where I sit at this screen and admit being lost, examine my struggles, and say: I don’t know. To me, these posts are the most raw, the most human, the most universal.

My favorite conversations in life are my vulnerable ones. The ones where we sit together and admit being lost, examine our struggles, and say: We don’t know. To me, these conversations are the most raw, the most human, the most universal.

My favorite stories, read and written, are the vulnerable ones. The ones where characters convene and admit being lost, examine their struggles, and say: We don’t know. But maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s real. Maybe that’s grand.

Vulnerability. It’s clearly something I revere and yet it’s hard. There are times when I feel extra porous, keenly vulnerable, and my instinct is that this is bad, something to alter, to flee from.

Now is one of those times. I’m not sure why.

I think I am feeling vulnerable because my littlest is almost one and I feel like it’s time to up the ante professionally and I’m not sure how I feel about this. I think I am feeling vulnerable because after thirty-three years on this good earth, I’m not sure exactly who I am or what I want. I think I am feeling vulnerable because after almost three years here at this blog, I’m not sure what exactly it is, what I want it to be. I think I am feeling vulnerable because I have recently witnessed fallibility, true and scary and beautiful fallibility, in a friend. I think I am feeling vulnerable because I’m pondering, and living, a profound change in my days and my ways. I think I am feeling vulnerable because I have three small creatures to raise and I want to do a good job and I’m not always sure what that means. I think I am feeling vulnerable because I want very much to be a good wife and daughter and sister and friend and citizen and there are no instruction manuals to reference. I think I am feeling vulnerable because I am waking up to the reality that life is change, constant and compelling, sometimes crippling. I think I am feeling vulnerable because my body and mind are impossibly weak, just on the other side of a wicked flu.

I think these are some of the reasons. Not all, but some.

And as I write them, and read them, these reasons, I smile. I smile because this right here is real. I smile because this right here is honest. I imagine I am not the only one out there, out here, who feels both lucky and lost, riddled with uncertainties, insecurities, also inspirations.

So. I’m not sure what I am saying here other than I am feeling inexplicably, richly vulnerable today. And that’s okay. Maybe better than okay.

Maybe, somehow, it’s good.

Do you ever feel inexplicably vulnerable? Do you agree that in many ways vulnerability is reality? Do you agree that vulnerability (within bounds) is a good thing?

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10 Comments for: "Vulnerability Is a Good Thing"
  1. I feel vulnerable almost all the time. In fact, one of the tasks of the last few years for me has been recognizing all the myriad walls I’ve built up to compensate for this … and taking them down, if and when I can. I often talk about walking around without skin, and I’d say vulnerability is my default posture towards the world. I love when I find someone who can likewise share themselves, as you so often do here. xoxo

  2. I found this quote the other day and it perfectly captures what you’re feeling:

    ?”When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability. To be alive is to be vulnerable.” Madeleine L’Engle

  3. Shelby

    I think the the older I get, the less I feel like I’m ALLOWED to be vulnerable. Because there’s that thought that you’re supposed to be getting better at figuring out life and dealing with the twists and turns it throws at you when in reality, it just gets more complicated and crazy (in a good way sometimes).

    I don’t know if it’s a good thing or a bad thing though. Maybe it’s because I’m a college student, but at this point in my life, everyone is just chasing their dreams like lions chase prey in the wild (I just thought of that analogy. Huh, I kinda like it!). Times like these, vulnerability will bring me down and pull be back so I listen to that other voice saying “say strong and don’t pay attention to that”.

    BUT, maybe, the older we get the better it is to be vulnerable? Perhaps because we start finding more things in life worth being vulnerable about.

  4. Kristen

    I wish I could be more vulnerable. I’ve built walls around me and I can’t quite figure out how to take them down. I feel like my awareness should make them easy to remove, but that is not the case (or at least, not the case with me). The walls I’ve built have become habit and as a result, I don’t realize the things I do daily to keep those walls intact. I am married and my husband is the one person I’m most real with. But I wish I could give him more – be more vulnerable.

    I haven’t really answered any of your questions today, but I am moved by this topic. Its something I think about quite a bit and hopefully one day I’ll figure out how to be fully vulnerable.

  5. These are my favorite posts of yours as well.

    I feel that when we acknowledge vulnerability, we acknowledge our human nature which allows us to grow and change.

    “Do you ever feel inexplicably vulnerable?”

    All the time. I question and analyze my decisions and wonder over the future. Right now, I am especially emotional as I enter the 10th week of pregnancy and wonder if things will continue to be all right. I have felt confident until today. Inexplicable, indeed.

  6. Yes. Yes. Yes. Nothing more need be said. xoxo

  7. We are on the same wavelength. I feel vulnerable – questioning my choices and the results. Is it right? Is it wrong? I don’t know. But that’s part of embracing the process. I think we are afraid of being vulnerable or admitting it because it signifies this notion that how we live or the choices we make aren’t enough. The irony is that we have to go to the vulnerable place to realize that what we are doing today is enough. Perhaps I am rambling, but these words really resonated with me today. Thanks Aidan.

  8. Oh, I definitely feel vulnerable much of the time. I am trying to embrace it right now. In fact, I’m doing two things that scare me this week: going to a professional networking event and checking out a public speaking club (I have to give a big talk this spring). Thanks for writing about your own vulnerability!

  9. Pingback: My Kids Are Amazing. (And I Am Tired.) | ivy league insecurities

  10. Ann Hayden

    I came across your blog while searching for articles on vulnerability. I love your blog and I am 52 and still vulnerable. I do believe a bit of vulnerability is good. It keeps our feet on the ground and stops us thinking there is nobody like us. Vulnerability is cute. Thank you for your wonderful blog I really enjoyed it.

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