The Paradox of Vulnerability

What is vulnerability?

Some will say it is opening one’s innermost self with the accompanying possibility of being hurt.

Some will compare it to a dog rolling over on its back and leaving itself vulnerable to attack.

Some will say that it’s exposing one’s secrets and therefore the ultimate intimate act of trust.

Vulnerability may be voluntary or imposed. When it’s the latter, trust may or may not be a factor. Soldiers whose commanding officer orders them to expose themselves to the enemy are making themselves vulnerable, but their sense of that is dependent on the trust they have in that commander and their own ability to defend themselves.

When couples meet and begin sharing their lives, their experiences, and their bodies with each other, there are degrees of vulnerability. Some will say that full vulnerability is the ultimate state of Connection.

So where is the paradox?

That sense of trust is paradoxical. I can share a secret part of myself with my partner and trust that he will not use it to hurt me. Many people suffer with the betrayal of a partner who did, in fact, hurt them.

But here is the real paradox: If I am totally good with myself - with who I am, with what I’ve done in my life – then I can’t be hurt. Therefore, I can reveal my true self, my innermost being, and no one can hurt me with it.

If I have done my own therapy, healed my shame and regrets, forgiven myself and others, then I can’t be hurt. If I am living as a person completely congruent with my values, then you can’t hurt me.

I don’t have to trust that you will not hurt me. I also will not attract someone capable of deliberately trying to hurt me. The issue of trust evaporates.

That is the paradox of vulnerability.

Be In Light,