Over the last few months one thing I have done for survival is watch complete and utter trash TV. There’s a couple of reasons, firstly it didn’t really take a huge amount of brain power, and secondly it allowed me to escape from reality. One thing that I have come to notice though is that people can be mean, obviously this makes for more entertaining programmes, but is based on a certain sense of reality. In every single programme characters take advantage of other characters by working out an area of their life where they are vulnerable and playing on that vulnerability in order to get what they want… and it works.
… I have often thought of vulnerability as a positive thing. Hence this blog… exploring the concept of vulnerability.
I started off with the dictionary definition but that was full on negative
“exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”
This supports what all the mean people on TV do, they find a weakness and they exploit it. That weakness might be family, friends, time, money, food.
Exposed. Attack. Harm.
How can I think of vulnerability in a positive light?
For me, it is about recognition. Self-recognition.
Just after the Christmas break I bumped into a colleague on my way to work, (a colleague I don’t know that well). She asked if I was felling better, and asked why I had been off. When I said the cause was anxiety she said “you are the last person I would expect to be affected by that”! I was a bit blown away by this statement and I couldn’t work out why it was such a shock to her. I clearly put on a public persona – which we all do to a certain extent. Did I really come across as unshakeable? I definitely don’t feel like that, and actually I thought I was quite an emotive person! So often though it is those that seem the strongest who can be brought down the hardest – if that vulnerable area is exposed.
One of the most common positive feedbacks I get from my blogs is the honesty within them. Whether that is how I’m feeling, things I’m struggling with, or how I’ve got to where I am. I guess that’s why I started in the first place. What’s the point of the blogs if you’re not going to be honest within them? I am putting myself in a vulnerable place…I am telling people what my weaknesses are… exposing the possibility of attack or harm. And yet… I am in control.
Yes. People know what my weaknesses are, but so do I. My awareness means that I am on guard about that area. I have also chosen what to share and how to share it. A couple of weeks ago I chose to share some of my biggest fears at the moment with a select group of people. This has resulted in a lot of love, but also a lot of quite strict and stern people, pointing out how I haven’t necessarily helped myself, and suggesting what I need to do. I possibly put myself in the most vulnerable place I have ever been, and yet that gave me the most strength I have felt in a long time.
As with most things in life vulnerability has to have a balance. We need to recognise our weaknesses for ourselves (I would also encourage you to know your strengths but that doesn’t really come in to this). We also need to be willing to share those with others. After all, trying to get through everything on your own, in your own strength, is probably when you are at your most vulnerable as you won’t have the support you need. Sharing absolutely everything with everyone means you are really exposed, everyone knows all your weak areas but also you may not develop the skills you need to help yourself.
When I started writing this I asked the husband ‘do you see vulnerability as a positive or a negative?’ His response “it depends”
Vulnerable: exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
Just because it’s a possibility doesn’t mean it will happen.