Friday, February 17, 2017

To Be Vulnerable or Not?

Vulnerability is a four-letter word that is whispered in the dark. It's a nebulous mystery that appears dangerous to most, inciting a reverence and fear. When we are presented with an opportunity to be vulnerable, however, that reverence quickly evaporates. We often freeze, assess and quickly escape. Why? Because vulnerability is "the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally" (Google definition). We might be harmed, so our survival instincts rage in and we decide: Do I endure possible pain or do I choose to self-preserve? More often than not, we choose the latter.

I am no exception. My desire for self-preservation may exhibit itself a bit differently than yours. We all have our own manner of dysfunction. Mine presents itself through avoidance, denial and distraction. Generally, this looks like keeping my mind and/or body busy so I can't think or feel. Successful avoidance activities include marathoning Netflix shows or completing a to-do list of chores; or better yet, both at the same time. No time for reflection means no time for confrontation. Denial is simply a catalyst for continuing to avoid and distract myself from a problem.

Unfortunately, the problem is usually born out of a fear, often times illogical or easily "fixed." For me, the problem is usually connected to a lack of knowledge. Questions arise."How do I do this?" and "What way is best?" start the train rolling, but they are quickly followed by, "What if I make a mistake?" causing all other questions to stop.  Not knowing how to accomplish a task doesn't stir in me a fight or flight response, but more of a freeze. That last question echoes in my mind and I'm frozen, unable to move forward or backward.

But how then do you thaw the fear?

Answer: You confront it.

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