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The Gift of Vulnerability

Vulnerability is excruciating. I know. I felt incredibly vulnerable last week. I felt afraid and alone. I didn’t know what to do and was spinning in overwhelm – so much to do but what should I really be doing? Will any of this make any difference? To me? To the changes I want to see in the world?

I felt bad. And wrong. Debbie – you shouldn’t be feeling like this. Pull yourself together! Bad. Wrong. You need to sort this out yourself. You’re supposed to be beyond this now. You teach about this stuff. How dare you be feeling so lonely, isolated, sad and fearful?

Bad girl.

And somewhere in the gloom of self-flagellation and making-myself-wrong-for-being-how-I-was-ness there was a smaller voice. A smaller quieter tiny something. ‘But I need more support’ it said. ‘Help!’ it quietly murmured.

‘Needing someone?’ the louder angrier part of me responded. ‘We don’t have time to find support or to – need – someone. . .’ But the quieter smaller vulnerable part of me in all its rawness kept on and as excruciating as it was somewhere I knew its truth.

Damn. This again. AGAIN. Vulnerable and needing help. Needing support. Scanning the horizon of people I know. Calculating – who can I ask? Who would be willing to support me a bit right now? With whom is the giving-taking-ometer in balance owing to me right now?

Panicked I looked around. Not sure.

I took a breath and a list formed in my mind. ‘I’ll reach out to those few people’. ‘Sorry I’m vulnerable right now – I wish I wasn’t. It’s bad I am. Wish I wasn’t but hey – I could do with a bit of support right now’.

Deep breath and contact. In all my I-wish-I-wasn’t-like-this-ness.

Wobbling and reaching out. Not OK with how I am. Deep fear of rejection. Of being trodden on. Of being spat on or somehow ‘not good enough’.

And the result?

Vulnerability brings CONNECTION.

What I was longing for anyway.

All the people I reached out to in different ways met me where I was. Their ‘OK’ with my ’not-OK-ness’ calmed my panicking self. I could breathe a bit more. Goodness. Maybe it’s OK to be me once more?

‘Sorry I’m vulnerable. Sorry I need you. Sorry I’m here but if it’s OK I need some help right now’. And all the people I contacted shared a bit of their OK-ness with my vulnerability in that moment – and in doing so received a bit more permission for their vulnerability when it comes too.

We’re fluxing flowing beings. Constantly changing. Constantly waxing and waning in response to the season, our moods, circumstances, the amount of sun in the sky or the latest news. We’re vulnerable. Period.

And the irony is - when we’re in that pit of fear and despair thinking no one can help and we’re all alone - the irony is that help and support is simply a vulnerable wobbly phone call or conversation away.

We need each other – that’s the deeper truth. And vulnerability is such an excruciating but also beautiful doorway to connection.

Through sharing my vulnerability with those people last week I was met in it and held in different ways. In essence met with ‘it’s OK you’re not OK – you’re really OK however you are’. Through the simple – and raw - act of reaching out in my ‘not-OK-ness’ the web of connections within which I live my life got that bit stronger last week. Leaning in. Trusting. Meeting human to human – however we are.

Vulnerability brings the gift of us needing each other. ‘Hello I need you – we’re connected – thank you for being in my life’. That’s the world I want to live in – and do.

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