Is there a dual nature to vulnerability?
Our next topic is one that I am excited and deeply passionate about, and because there is so much to vulnerability, I am going to break it down in to a three part discussion over the coming weeks, so that we can truly have the time to go over it.
We’re going talk about Vulnerability.
Vulnerability is the most unique of the eight feelings, in part because of the interplay with the other 7 uncomfortable feelings. Think of vulnerability generally as an awareness you could be hurt. In the book, I define vulnerability as “an openness and willingness to be hurt or to learn.”
I am proposing two different kinds of vulnerability – one that is innate and has to do with protection and survival, and another that we choose to lean into; I am also suggesting that there is a dual nature to vulnerability, such that it can be considered your greatest emotional strength and likewise be associated with emotional weakness.
The first type of Vulnerability I call Non-Conscious Vulnerability. It’s tied to the notion that, at some level, we are all vulnerable, all of the time. We all experience this. We are not in control of it. Vulnerability is never not present for anybody.
We experience this non-conscious vulnerability as we become more aware of life circumstances that can change on a dime. The real-life events and encounters that alert us that we could be hurt intensify and magnify feelings of vulnerability. Anytime you witness or experience sudden, unexpected tragic or traumatic events – no matter whether you are exposed to them in real life or merely on screen – your awareness of your own vulnerability becomes heightened.
However, in the absence of such threats, that awareness is generally not something we consciously think about on an hourly or even a daily basis. Yet, knowledge or images of people suffering or dying in other locations often evoke responses of empathy and vulnerability, especially if circumstances in our own lives parallel what we observe (e.g., we enjoy attending big musical performances and we know lives have been lost or forever altered because of the shooting in Las Vegas). Consequently, if we are a witness from afar to natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, mudslides, fires, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.) or man-made ones (gun violence, rape, war, etc.) we aren’t necessarily physically more vulnerable in those moments. Instead, what changes for us is the degree to which we are aware that we are vulnerable.
This weeks questions:
In the age of easy access to news and information, we are frequently aware of challenging events happening around the world. This week, I want you to ask yourself:
– How are current news and/or life events influencing awareness of my non-conscious vulnerability?
– How does awareness of my non-conscious vulnerability impact my emotional well-being?
I’d love for you to respond on my facebook group!
Join my group on Facebook LOVE MY LIFE and let me know. I’ll post the question and jump on myself to chat and answer questions.
To A Life You Love,
Dr. Joan Rosenberg