Vulnerability is the New Strong

Have you ever had someone tell you something…or many someones tell you the same thing, and you just don’t see it?

I have recently recognized a pattern. Many time when I talk to people, or reach out on Facebook, or in a support group, people always (yes, it is that absolute) remark at how strong I am.

It astounds me for a moment and then I brush it off. I feel as if I am anything but strong. I feel as if I am simply surviving. I feel as if I have one foot in the loony bin and one foot in quicksand. I feel as if my nose is constantly going under the water and I’m not able to breathe.

And, today, I really stopped to think about all of that. The only thing certain in my life is the uncertainty of my life. And it scares me. It is painful. I don’t like it.

So then, I started to think about what I’m doing. And, while I did have my fetal-position-rocking-in-the-corner-because-my-husband-cheated-on-me-and-left period of time, I do assert that I am fairly past that point (a few backslides are to be expected…sorry Adrienne & Linds) because on a daily basis I get up and do what needs to be done.

And I don’t hate all men. I don’t even hate my husband. I feel sorry for him. But, I’m not going to let his poor choices dictate the rest of my life. And, while I don’t know where I’ll be in 6 months or 20 years, can anyone actually truly say with 100% certainty that they know where they will be? Even if their marriage is solid? Or they are “happy” with their life?

It got me thinking about what people are really saying when they say I’m strong. I think they are saying that they look at my circumstances and don’t know for certain how they would respond. Maybe they are afraid their rocking-in-the-corner-fetal-position would last twice as long. Or forever. Maybe they would hate men (or women). Maybe they would let it dictate the rest of their life.

And I understand that completely. Because until it happened to me, I used to look at others and think the same thoughts.

Well, here is the thing. I don’t feel strong…I feel vulnerable. For years, YEARS, I was the giver. And I still try to be at times. It is SO easy to give. So, so easy to be the savior of a situation. It made me feel important. Look! There’s Meg saving the day! She is giving her time or her talents to make things better! What a great gal! And, during those years of giving, it was so, so hard to receive. I never asked for help. I was THE helper.

It is really unsettling to need and receive. And, it is really hard to be vulnerable. What if I’m not important enough to be worthy of receiving help. Or, what if I end up owing someone something that I can’t repay? By always giving, I never gave anyone the opportunity to let me down. I was in control. Being out of control is like having a never-ending ticket on a ride to crazy town. Receiving is humbling. It is saying that I trust you to love me enough to see to my needs. And to help me.

So, I guess if I have developed strength, it is the strength to allow myself to show my vulnerability. The strength to let my guard down and receive. The irony is, of course, the one person I should have been able to count on to support my vulnerability let me down and it was through that act that I found the ability to be vulnerable. And, in doing so, I found the gift of unconditional love from people I never expected it from. I found comfort on the other side of fear.

I don’t know why the lessons we learn in life come about this way, but they do. I guess I found that it takes strength to be vulnerable. And I guess I have that in spades now…so maybe I AM strong 🙂


4 thoughts on “Vulnerability is the New Strong

  1. I hear ya and have felt similar. Strong? Giving? Support? Future? Not worthy? Overall, it’s crazy and we have to live through it. Because there is no other option.

      • And keep trying. Bitterness only hurts you. I battle it every day, but I see women (and men) who are bitter. It’s not pretty.

  2. Pingback: Vulnerability is the New Strong | HeartWorks

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