The past year was a real heavy-hitter. I don’t think I ever got as real with my emotions, ambitions, and overall feelings about life more than I did in 2017. Looking back, my 2017 had some pretty big highs and lows, but at the end of it, there was one real takeaway: the importance of vulnerability.
“Emotions are a sign of weakness”, “I don’t really talk about my feelings, they don’t matter that much to be”, “I’m definitely a T and not an F” — these are some of the many things I say when describing my personality. I prided myself on being heavily influenced by logic rather than emotion, never taking into account ~feelings~, always preferring to prioritize the tangible results and quantifiable outcomes instead of how people would “feel”.
I don’t disagree with this method of thinking, I believe a lot of my successes in life manifested because of the way I think and process the things around me. But I’ve also realized that there’s a difference from being emotional about something, or towards someone, versus being vulnerable.
The first definition of vulnerable is “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm” (yikes). If you dig a little deeper, you’ll realize it can also mean “the courage to be yourself…surrendering personal power and control to connect on an emotional level.”
Like many, I always ran with that first definition. Why would I make myself an easy target? Why would I open up to people when I already have this friend and that family member? Why do I need to rely on other people, when at the end of the day I’ll end up relying on myself? Well, for starters, I’ve learned the world is not so black and white. There’s no clear cut boundary for choosing to rely on yourself or the people around you.
However, the biggest question I’ve asked myself is this: How can people learn to trust and love the real you, if you’re not even being real with yourself?
A healthy and happy life creates a gray shade, mixing the two, utilizing a social support system while believing in your own strengths. Vulnerability is not the end all be all for relationships, some people do just fine in their friendships by always keeping up their guard. But what I’ve realized is, when choosing to be vulnerable in a relationship, you either a) remain friends in the exact same manner (with a brief moment of embarrassment for being so raw with your feelings) or b) develop your friendship into something greater and deeper because a strong emotional connection is now formed.
It’s not like I woke up overnight and became this super emotional, touchy-feely, “let’s have a deep talk about our greatest insecurities and fears even though we just met a week ago” type of person. But I have realized there is a great power in being able to successfully harness your feelings of vulnerability; being able to navigate the world in an emotional sense may be just as important as successfully achieving tangible results.
Cheers to a happy and healthy 2018! May this year bring a lot of (positive?) vulnerability and good vibes.