Last night I had a dream—not the MLKjr kind—that had kept me reflecting on a word that is very close to my heart: vulnerability.
Some time ago I discovered the importance of being vulnerable in order to heal and get stronger. Our human nature gravitates towards trying to shield ourselves from heartbreaks and in the process we band-aid our pain and pretend to go through life as if we were soldiers, closeted wounded soldiers. It is only natural to do that—who wants to be in pain?
There is no greater pain than that of being backstabbed, kicked, pushed and spitted on when we are at our lowest. Sometimes it only takes a hurtful word—a harsh judgement disguised as advice—to make us shattered when we thought we could not break into even smaller fragments. I have no doubt, however, that from those tiny pieces, we can recover ourselves like a phoenix.
The alternative involves a lot of acting, pretending we are not broken at all. Still, this does not glue us back together. As in weightlifting, we do not get stronger by pretending we can lift heavier weights. We get stronger by knowing what we can do and pushing a little bit harder every time. If we ignore our weakness then we get injured… injured by our own stupidity and stubborness. In that case, it is useless to blame the dumbbells when we were the ones that held that what was not meant for us.
Vulnerability is the greatest act of courage. Pretending we are stronger than we are is the greatest display of fear. Bullies, for example, hide their fear because they want to pretend they are strong and in doing so they try to bring others down. Now, we all know bullies are broken and all the cruelty and pain that emanates from them is only an intent to share their pain with others. So hiding pain exponentially creates more affliction in the target and the perpetrator. Should not we all strive to reduce pain in ourselves, our surroundings, and the world at large?
Since we cannot control the acts of bullies/fake friends/mean people, let's start by embracing what we can control: our own vulnerability. Only by doing so will we truly get stronger. That is, unless you'd rather be an ostrich and hide your pain in the ground, pretending it does not exist, then let's find courage to acknowledge we are somewhat broken and somewhat stronger than what we were yesterday, able to lift a little bit more weight and courageous enough to lift our heads and hearts up—whatever is left from them—until we are able to fly again. There is nothing wrong with that. Being a flightless bird, such as an ostrich, does not sound very appealing or easy. I, with all my broken pieces exposed, am working towards being a phoenix instead and flying high, higher everyday, knowing that eventually we might be plopped to the floor before we start over again. Right there, high in the clouds, I might be able to realize how much stronger and free I have become without the weight of fear on my wings. And maybe then, is when I will we be encountered by another dream, another lift, another chance.