Vulnerability is Not Weakness
Being emotionally vulnerable is not my strength. In fact, I would say that I have probably ruined a bunch of relationships because of my inability to allow people in to see my heart. It is like I "catch feelings", then freak out and unconsciously decide I better find a way to put a stop to this and ruin what could be a very good thing.
It's a gift I suppose. I work so hard at protecting myself and my heart that I will literally break my own heart before I let anyone else do it. It is my own doing and my own fault. Part of my personality is that I want to appear strong and tough on the outside. But, those who know me best, know that I am extremely sensitive. I really do have a massively big heart and I love people. I am just not very good at often sharing that part of myself. Exposing this part of myself to anyone makes me extremely uneasy and scares me. I am not usually afraid of anything. But being vulnerable and trusting and then being betrayed or manipulated is my greatest fear. I cannot have that. So I fight so hard to wear this armor of tough, independent woman.
I will be honest and say that I am slightly envious of those who are able to develop beautiful, meaningful, and deep connections with people quickly. Whether they be platonic or romantic, I am always in awe of the people who have these kinds of relationships and they are good. I often find myself asking, "what is wrong with me?" Why is it so hard for me to develop new friendships and relationships? The struggle is real.
God is teaching me painful lessons. I tend to jump to conclusions. I put up walls. Instead of just sharing my feelings, I speak as if I am making demands. Just did that with someone. Pretty sure that relationship is done and I am blocked on their cell phone. Ha! I told you. I have a gift. God is showing me that I need to exhibit a little more restraint. A little more compassion and understanding. To be more flexible and patient with others. That we don't all move at the same speed. That they have their own issues with their heart and they are operating as best as they can. They don't want to get hurt either. I have to remember that. It isn't just about me.
I have been reading a book titled "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality" by Peter Scazzero and it has been really helpful for me to unpack a lot of my struggles and emotions that are unhealthy and buried deep within. It is no secret these last two years have only deepened some of my issues with trust and vulnerability and even going back into how I grew up, my family dynamics, what I learned and how we communicated.......whew....it has been a lot. If you are like me, I would recommend picking this book up and reading it for yourself.
Overall, what God is showing me is that it vulnerability is not weakness. That most individuals are not out to get you. They are not out to betray you. Of course, there are personalities out there who thrive on conflict and harming others for their own sake. But there are a lot of amazing men and women out there who are also wanting connection and love. To continue to be open and honest. Boundaries are important, yes. But boundaries aren't so that you can keep everyone out. You aren't trying to create a prison wall around your heart. Protection is always good, but not if it means you ruin opportunities of truly connecting and building community. We all have our issues. We all have our stuff. I will be the first to tell you, I have my issues!
Do you struggle with being vulnerable? Or is this easier for you? What keeps you from opening up and creating space for people?