I find being vulnerable is the biggest fear for many people. For me, it has been my biggest challenge. No one likes to feel vulnerable right? I’ve also learned when I have opened myself up to being vulnerable, I’ve been rewarded with some pretty great experiences.
Many of us feel uncomfortable when there is a threat of being vulnerable. We feel scared because we will be powerless when we are exposed. I think for many of us, it stems from anxiety which is a response when we feel threatened and helpless. I’ve found when we are protecting ourselves from vulnerability; we interact with the world in a closed manner. What I mean by this is that when we are vulnerable we are open to all experience. The world and everyone else sees all of us and who we are as an emotional and spiritual being.
Some of my greatest experiences have been where I was vulnerable and putting myself out there. When I decided I wanted to volunteer at the youth prison, I was scared. Some thoughts that ran through my mind were “I’m not strong / these are criminals / I am weak / What do I have to offer?” I am so thankful I was able to challenge all of these beliefs and fears. I learned so much from the youth at the prison and it was an experience I will never forget. This experience led me to changing my major from criminology to psychology.
Another experience was during my undergraduate degree, I enrolled in psychology class with 15 students. 5 of the students were undergrads like me, while the other 10 were graduate students doing their Master’s or Doctorate’s. I have no idea why the class makeup was like this. I honestly enrolled in the class because of my scheduling. At first, I was very intimidated. All the other students were so smart and I felt so dumb compared to them. I had never felt that way before, I had always done well academically. I felt so insecure. I thought about dropping the class, but then I didn’t. I knew it would be a really good learning experience if I kept with it. I quickly learned the other students’ did value my opinion and I had nothing to be scared of. I learned so much from the other students and this is when I knew I wanted to pursue my master’s. I am so happy I was able to have this experience because it led me to where I am today.
In these experiences, I had to be vulnerable. If I didn’t want to be vulnerable, I would have never volunteered at the prison or I would have dropped the class. I would not be where I am today if I hadn’t been vulnerable and open to experience. At those moments when I was feeling insecure and scared, I chose vulnerability. It was a risk and a liability I took, but I reaped the reward. I’m not saying every time you choose to be vulnerable, you will always be rewarded. But I do believe that there generally is great reward in being vulnerable. There is always a lesson you can take and apply to your life.