There is a prevailing myth in society that being vulnerable is the same as being weak – especially for men. This means that if you allow yourself to be vulnerable, others will more easily be able to take advantage of you. The reality is that vulnerability is not the same as naivety or passivity; you can be vulnerable as well as an assertive and strong individual.
Many definitions of the word ‘vulnerability’ abound, but the best one for your purposes here would be to say that it is about being open emotionally and intellectually. People can have all types of mental defences they use to protect themselves from potential threats; for example, arrogance can be used to hide the fact that the person is dealing with low self-esteem. The inner walls of protection may protect the ego, but it can also mean that you are so closed that you become trapped in conditions such as addiction.
Here are just six reasons why being vulnerable in recovery is likely to benefit you:
1. It Means Others Can Help You
In order for others to be able to help you, it is necessary for you to let them know how they can do this. When it comes to addiction, there is nothing noble about suffering in silence as all this does is leave you more at the mercy of addictive thinking. Asking for help means making yourself a bit more vulnerable, but in so doing opens up the doors to a much better way of living. There is nothing weak about doing this; it is remaining alone in addiction that is the real sign of weakness.
2. It Means You Can Start to Help Yourself
If you believe that you have to put on this tough act all the time, it may mean you refuse to acknowledge your weaknesses even to yourself. This type of denial is very common in those who are dealing with addiction and it explains why they can remain trapped in this state indefinitely. In order to move forward in life, you need to become vulnerable enough to begin making important changes to your life.
3. You Only Experience Love to the Extent that You Allow Yourself to be Vulnerable
If you are in a romantic relationship but have all of these barriers up to protect your ego, you will not be experiencing the full joy of this connection. It is only to the extent that you are willing to risk being hurt that you can experience love. Protecting your heart may mean you suffer less pain later on if things turn out badly, but it also means you will never really experience the full potential of the relationship.
4. You Only Feel Happiness To The Extent That You Allow Yourself to Be Vulnerable
A common reason for why people turn to alcohol or drugs is so they feel less vulnerable to the negative parts of life that involve pain. Numbing your emotions may initially mean you experience less heartache, but it also means you will be experiencing less joy as well. You need to be vulnerable to all of life’s emotions in order to fully enjoy the banquet that is life.
5. It Means You Can Develop Deep Meaningful Relationships
If you refuse to allow yourself to be vulnerable then it means there is always going to be this barrier between you and other people. You will sense this, and they will sense it too. You may still have lots of friends and people to talk to, but these relationships will tend not be very deep unless you allow yourself to be vulnerable.
6. It Is Part of All Spiritual Paths
All spiritual paths require that those engaging in them develop at least some level of vulnerability. This is what opens you up to spiritual development and gives you the strength to let go to some type of higher power. Living a life that is all about protecting your ego would be the opposite of following a spiritual path. If you want to make progress with practices such as meditation then you need to be willing to open your mind and your heart.