vulnerable

V is for vulnerable, in Virtues and views, Blogging from A to Z.

Is feeling vulnerable a virtue or a vice?

I don’t think feeling vulnerable is either a virtue or a vice. It’s a feeling. It is a feeling that our society puts pressure on adults, particularly males, not to feel. Or not to admit.

I read Robert Johnson, PhD, Owning our own shadow. He asks what three aspects of ourselves we are most proud of. For me, at that time, the triad was toughness, smarts and independent. He says that the opposite, or shadow, of that triad, is what we are most afraid of….

….oh, and he had me there. I look in my mirror and see someone smart, tough, independent, and terrified of being vulnerable.

I am much less terrified now. I am a physician: everyone is sick sometimes, vulnerable sometimes, everyone does dumb things sometimes, and dependence will come as well as death. I needed to bring that fear out of the shadow and make friends with it. Bringing those shadows forward is hard work! I don’t want to! But I can and I like to work and I am good at working. Small steps daily on a path with love and thought and care…..

Dictionary.com vulnerable

adjective

1. capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon:
a vulnerable part of the body.

2. open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc.:
an argument vulnerable to refutation; He is vulnerable to bribery.

3. (of a place) open to assault; difficult to defend:
a vulnerable bridge.

4. Bridge. having won one of the games of a rubber.

So we ALL fall under the first definition! ALL OF US!

Our culture derides and conflates vulnerability with weakness sometimes. Don’t let it. Stand up. Speak out. Do not let fear stop us….