“We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful.” ~ Eric Micha’el Leventhal
Vulnerability. A state most men are taught to avoid, and not necessarily directly. It’s more of an unspoken code among men. Vulnerability equals weakness. Weakness is not an option. Therefore, vulnerability is not an option. Many men operate under the belief that anger is the only acceptable emotion we’re allowed to display. As a result, we tend to display anger whenever our emotions are triggered. Anger becomes the default response when our feelings are hurt in any way. This response creates a toxic environment because it inhibits our ability to effectively communicate under stressful conditions. For many, anger has become the default response to feelings of fear. Men are taught to not show fear because it is considered a sign of weakness. “Show No Fear” is a popular saying not only among men, but in society in general. This makes it difficult to be vulnerable because there are times when fear & vulnerability are one and the same.
“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” ~ Paulo Coelho
Exposing your heart & mind to others can be terrifying. Will they accept you? Will they judge you? Will they ridicule you? Will they even care? It’s much easier, and safer, to hide behind the walls we create. The problem with this way of thinking is it prevents us from developing healthy relationships. Vulnerability & intimacy go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other. Vulnerability creates a connection, as it makes others feel safe being vulnerable with you. It gives you the emotional freedom to express yourself. Communicating your thoughts, emotions, fears, and dreams create an atmosphere where transparency & authenticity is encouraged, and it sets the tone for genuine connection.
But we also must keep in mind that showing your vulnerability doesn’t mean the elimination of self-control. Self-control is a must. We can’t allow our emotions to control us, for the lack of control over our emotions leads to poor decisions. Emotional outbursts become the norm when we lack the ability to communicate our feelings in a healthy way. As with everything, we must find a balance between the two. We must learn to effectively express ourselves without going into attack mode. Attack mode puts the person you’re speaking to on the defensive and creates a barrier. Vulnerability in our relationships becomes much easier to accomplish when we create a safe environment where transparent & authentic communication is supported & encouraged. Give someone a safe place to be themselves, and they’ll give you their all.
“Through my research, I found that vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.” ~ Brene Brown
Vulnerability is the key element to establishing healthy relationships. Without it your interactions will be surface level at best, for no one will feel comfortable being their true selves when they’re around you. We can’t change if we don’t acknowledge our shortcomings and make the effort to fill in the gaps. Introspection is necessary if we desire to improve the quality of our interactions with not only the people we love, but with society in general. It’ll change your life. In a good way.
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