Vulnerability is a petrifying thing. Being completely exposed to the possibility of being harmed, physically or emotionally. Yep. That's the definition. Let those words sink in for a minute. You're in harm's way, at the very minute you start to feel raw, and quite powerful, emotions that are meant to be felt. Vulnerability is a petrifying thing.
My nightly Grey's Anatomy binge grabbed my attention, sparking a whole train of thoughts about this crazy thing we call vulnerability. Shonda Rhimes, the creator of "Grey's Anatomy," succeeded in her worldly attempts to wreck me by assigning the powerful line, "Boundaries don't keep people out, they fence you in," to the main character, Meredith Grey.
No one ever specifically told us to conceal our feelings and emotions, but it's in our humanly instinct to want to avoid any sense of embarrassment. However, there's also something in our human nature that acknowledges this fear of being exposed, yet encourages us to not bottle everything we are up and shove it way down deep.
Eventually, coming from personal experience, those emotions you swallow and never allow to see the light of day, often times surface and all the wrong times; all at once, until you're drowning in the sea of issues you could have dealt with earlier on. Perhaps this is why it's been given the definition it has. We keep it hidden in the dark for so long it becomes an unknown: a scary unknown that we have to train into existence.
Boundaries aren't created just for your relationships with others: they're created for the relationship you have with yourself too. Regardless of how high or thick, you build the walls around yourself, the things that hit a little too close to home will always find their way in. As for you? Your vulnerability should be boundless. It should be limitless and outpouring in no specific direction. Being vulnerable isn't just a petrifying thing: it's beautiful, natural and more importantly, it's a necessary thing.
We live in a world that is striving to accept others however they are; you better believe that the ability to feel everything so purely is a gift, and an accepted one at that. One of my favorite chapters of the Bible is Ecclesiastes 3, not only because it solidifies the point I'm trying to make but also because the movie Footloose recites some of it. It says, "For everything, there is a season... A time to cry, and a time to laugh, a time to grieve and a time to dance."
There's a time to be vulnerable, so don't fence yourself in, trapped with your unvocalized emotions surrounding you. Find a friend you're comfortable with and share. Start journaling. Praying. Running. Crying. Whatever it takes for you to find the sense of relief you need from the things that knick your emotions just a bit too deep. Your ability to be vulnerable is a gift. A beautiful, petrifying and powerful gift. Use it.