Have you ever sat across from someone at a restaurant or maybe people-watched at a coffee shop or maybe you simply have wondered this with family and friends … what finally makes a person comfortable enough to be vulnerable?
What is the turning moment in a work, family, friend or romantic relationship when someone finally accepts that it’s okay to be vulnerable? I think it’s different for everyone but I also know it’s extremely important to have in any successful relationship. Whatever the level is on the spectrum.
i’ve struggled to be vulnerable and here is my story on the matter.
When I was 19, I started regularly wearing make up for the first time. I was in a relationship where the person I was with had an idea of how “his girl” should look. Hair, makeup, and clothes put together. So that is what I did. I completely changed who I was to fit someone’s idea of how I should look. Don’t get me wrong I didn’t hate to dress up or wear makeup… I just didn’t see the need to all the time but I was too scared to speak up and stand up for what made me comfortable, so I changed.
perfection at its worst
One day, while I was at work, sitting at my desk, I received an email. I had not been at that particular job long, a few months maybe. The email was from my boss letting me know all she felt I was doing correct, praising me and giving me amazing feedback. Then…there it was, a few things she felt I could work on. I felt humiliated, embarrassed, and vulnerable. It was awful. I wanted to be seen as a perfectionist as someone who didn’t show she had flaws and things to work on. Why could I not have just accepted the compliment of all I had done correctly and used the other feed back as fuel for growth?
a few weeks later
I made a decision to start attending a church in the city I now live in. I loved the church I attended previously in Alaska because they knew me. I felt comfortable and accepted. Although I was comfortable before, with any big move you have to try and do new things… like going to a new church.
That first Sunday I ended up having a conversation with some elderly members who asked me why I was there alone and why I was not married. I began to feel uncomfortable, upset and uneasy. It was embarrassing for me… but was it? Weren’t they just being themselves and making conversation? Why couldn’t I just be myself, show vulnerability and reply that that wasn’t where my life was right now and move on with the conversation. but I couldn’t do it… I just smiled and left the conversation.
a turning point
Not long ago, at all, I entered into a new relationship. It has been fun, happy, and exciting. It felt like I had made a friend but someone I could also potentially see more in over time. Someone who loved adventures like me, who made me laugh, a lot and a person who made me feel so special. Then it happened. I got hurt and upset about something which now is obviously insignificant and silly, but at that moment I was so hurt, and I showed it in a less than graceful manner. There were definitely tears.
The next day I had gathered my thoughts and was able to express to him why I had felt upset the previous evening. I showed vulnerability when otherwise I would have swallowed my words and not said a thing. I was ok with not being seen as perfect and realizing that I am human. I am flawed and that as long as I am working at being the best version of myself, that it’s okay to show the world you have flaws.
it’s okay to not always be perfect.
So you see, vulnerability is messy, uneasy and can be downright ugly. But it is normal and necessary and just a part of living a real and intentional life.Published in