Vulnerability is the language of the soul and the voice of the heart. ~ Virginia Burges
To open up to life is to be vulnerable. To follow a dream is to be vulnerable. To be who YOU truly are is to be vulnerable. Whenever we strike up a friendship, embark on a relationship, start a new project, or pretty much any activity; we are vulnerable.
Every time we close our eyes and go to sleep we are vulnerable, and we trust that after our dreaming we will soon open them again…
I feel vulnerable every time I publish a blog post. A part of me always hopes that it will be helpful and interesting to at least one person! I’m exposing my inner self, a tiny voice in the vastness of the universe. But I’m not the only one, we’re all in this thing called ‘life’ together.
One of the biggest things in my life that forced me to be vulnerable was being pregnant and becoming a mother. You have no choice but to trust what is happening inside your body, and that you can support another life.
A new mum with a baby to care for can be vulnerable to the well meaning opinion of others, to sheer exhaustion, to not knowing what she is doing. We rely on the help and support of family, midwives, partners and other mums. But eventually we find our own way, and we realise how rewarding being a parent is, we embrace the responsibility of raising another human being; even though we are vulnerable as parents and they are vulnerable as children.
Suffering also made me accept and own my vulnerability. Being creative invites learning and growth, but also risks ridicule. When I published my novel I was terrified of what feedback might come my way.
Dr. Brené Brown really connected with me through her TED talk about the power of vulnerability. A short summary of her wisdom and insights:
The first thing I usually feel like doing after a setback, a rejection or a failure is to retreat back into my shell. My inner voice pronounces, “You can’t do it, you’re not good enough,” triumphant in its ‘I told you so’ moment – just when I’m at my most vulnerable. I listen to it to be polite, (there’s no avoiding freedom of speech when it comes from within), and then I mentally reply, “Thank you for your opinion, but I’m doing it anyway. You can go back to your little corner now!”
In the spirit of vulnerability I’m going to wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s quite a worn sleeve, frayed at the edges, but the material has a certain faded toughness about it after all these years…
It seems to me that vulnerability is the only true path to your authentic self, the ultimate form of surrender; leading to what Brené Brown calls whole-hearted living: embracing compassion, courage and connection. But it’s a path strewn with pot holes of uncertainty, stones of insecurity and boulders of disappointments. It is the path less travelled.
I hope you enjoy these few verses; however, as promised in the title, I’ve saved the heavy hitting to the quotes that follow!
Vulnerability opens up all possibility;
Tantalising outcome shrouded from view,
Emotions are unguarded, genuine,
To lower defences, let others in.
Hiding behind high walls, we are safe,
But life is not a medieval siege,
Vulnerability requires a two-way trade;
Open the gate and reception is made.
Over protection is airless, like a vacuum,
Do we breathe vulnerability or stifling safety?
Extreme caution leads to emptiness, numbness;
Is your life locked away inside a fortress?
We risk everything to show our light
And lay bare our earthly plight.
We may be misunderstood, maligned,
But also loved, appreciated and aligned.
The path to fulfillment and passion
Can only be navigated with the soul;
It knows the terrain, where to travel,
No light is hidden under a bushel.
A broken heart understands all hearts,
A failure procures respect for all who try;
A wounded soul does not aim verbal blows,
If it embraces the vulnerability we all know..
Introspection – arch enemy of arrogance,
Vulnerability tenderly accepts warts and all,
Blame vainly attempts to dissipate pain,
But without vulnerability it will remain.
We may be rejected, insulted, ignored,
But shame and guilt win if we shield
Ourselves from joy, happiness and gratitude;
Forgive – move on, relax our attitude.
Flowers do not refuse to open tightly curled buds,
They do not fuss over a passing opinion,
Never ask admiration of their beauty, from seeing;
They simply blossom into a glorious statement of being.
Vulnerability keeps us humble, honest – alive.
Vulnerability embraces risk, uncertainty,
Vulnerability shows our true self, limits control;
Vulnerability is a map for the journey of the soul…
By Virginia Burges
17 inspiring quotes on vulnerability:
- “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” ~ Brené Brown
- “The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” ~ Paulo Coelho, (Eleven Minutes)
- “What happens when people open their hearts?” “They get better.” ~ Haruki Murakami, (Norwegian Wood)
- “To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” ~ Criss Jami
- “Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. The new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.” ~ Stephen Russell (Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior)
- “We are at our most powerful the moment we no longer need to be powerful.” ~ Eric Micha’el Leventhal
- “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown
- “To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.” ~ C.S. Lewis
- “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community. “ ~ M. Scott Peck
- “Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.” ~ Hellen Keller
- “Out of your vulnerabilities will come your strengths.” ~ Sigmund Freud
- “Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage.” ~ Brené Brown
- “I feel like I’m a much better person when I’m developing my imagination and my innocence and my vulnerability. I like that version of me better than the version where I’m just working on my analytical mind.” ~ Brit Marling
- “Heroes are higher than their vulnerability. That is why they are heroes.” ~ Amit Kalantri
- “And maybe that was love. Being so vulnerable and allowing someone else in so far they could hurt you, but they also give you everything.” ~ Christine Feehan, (Water Bound)
- “What makes you vulnerable, makes you beautiful.” ~ Brené Brown
- “I think one’s relationship with one’s vulnerability is a very delicate and precious relationship. Most people try to hide, disguise that vulnerability, and in doing that, you, I think, diminish a great source of power.” ~ Philip Schultz
Until the next time- stay vulnerable!