Believe it or not, vulnerable, in my mind, is synonymous to confident. So if that one Demi Lovato song got stuck in your head as soon as you read the title of today's post, you're not wrong.
Certain emotions get a really bad rap. If you think about them all carefully (hurt, anger, fear, etc.), they all have one thing in common: vulnerability. Throughout my wild, wacky, horrific, humiliating, life-affirming, heartbreaking, wonderful life experiences, I've found that people are scared to death of being vulnerable. I only know this, not because of what they were like when they were vulnerable, but because of their reactions when I let myself be vulnerable.
I need another word besides "vulnerable." I'm repeating it too much and it's starting to look weird.
In fact, I just discovered a major source of the problem I'm describing while I was Googling synonyms. Here are the synonyms Google lists for vulnerable: helpless. Defenseless. Weak.
Vulnerability is not a weakness, just like kindness is not a weakness. Rather, it is pure power. Think about all of the times you felt strongly about something but didn't say it out loud. Or express it through tears, or through wild gesticulations and general flailing. Think about all of the times you took a piece of you, judged it, and then stuffed it down the disposal and flipped the switch. If doing the opposite is weakness, is easier, why don't people do that more? Why is bottling up one's emotions basically a freakin' epidemic if that's the strongest, most challenging option?!
News flash: humankind likes instant gratification. Humankind likes simple. Vulnerability is neither.
It takes strength to let your emotions out. It takes strength to accept whatever feelings, emotions, or sensations hit you, and to not be afraid of revealing them to the world. Because here's the crux of the problem. Vulnerability forces you to be 100% authentic. That legitimately scares the crap out of people! To be 100% authentic, to see 100% authenticity in other people. It's weird.
Does this stem from society's expectation of every individual to fit in? Perhaps. Really, it doesn't matter where it comes from, because that's not going away. All that matters is how you react.
I find I'm happiest when I'm not judging my emotions or my (admitted penchant for) vulnerability. And when I'm not judging myself, I find it easier to not judge other people, either. It's a win-win.
Basically, what I'm trying to say is cry more, okay?! I'm sick of feeling like the only person who cries in public!