Being vulnerable in our culture has become synonymous with weakness.
Many times I hear friends say that things are going so well for them that they are just waiting for something to go wrong.
We are losing our capacity for joy. When life is wonderful that moment is washed over with a fatalistic doom and gloom. It is like we are trying to beat vulnerability to the punch. If we expect it to come, like a wolf at the door, we can be ready and not let it get the best of us. When it huffs and puffs and blows our house down- we were prepared for it and already took cover.
So what is driving the intolerance of vulnerability?
Over and over the message to us is that we are not good enough, rich enough, beautiful enough and extraordinary enough. Dr Brene Braun calls this the culture of scarcity– this pervasive idea that we are just not ‘enough’ to deserve happiness and joy. And an ordinary life is constantly reminded that it is not enough.
But ordinary has its own extraordinary. After all – when was the last time something really really complicated made you happy?
I know that psychoanalysts always refer to our collective “shame” as a motivator for turning ourselves inside out to avoid being vulnerable. I never really got the shame bit. I never really thought I felt any shame (except for when I shoplifted that bathing suit and did not own up to breaking my grandfather’s sunglasses). But now I am starting to get it. Shame is thinking we are not good enough to deserve something. And I have moments like that that I have to fight off.
With shame we wont embrace vulnerability and without being vulnerable we lose our capacity for joy and connection. Without joy and connection we will not fill our happiness bank with enough of what we need to handle life’s toughest moments.
For me now vulnerability is a straight line to happiness. Divorce (along with occasional loneliness, difficulty and fear) is the schoolyard bully in my life that I must confront. Being vulnerable with courage helps me stare down the face of difficulty and turns complacency on its head.
I am good enough. We are good enough.
My friend and fellow blogger Erin introduced me to this wise woman and I want to share her wisdom with you.
Tell me about how you allow yourself to be vulnerable or protect yourself from it at all costs-I would love to hear because I have been both of these people in my life.