Vulnerability – Fear or Freedom

Recently I had an experience that made me feel very vulnerable in an emotional as well as physical way.

I got myself into an argument with somebody over a situation where the other person was at fault. I got quite angry and didn’t want to let it go. The result was that I was met with aggression and threatened with pretty drastic violent and destructive actions. Those sorts of threats go to the bone in me. I had nightmares that night and couldn’t rest the next day until that situation could be somehow resolved. I felt fearful, very vulnerable and tense, and also found it very hard to let go of my position of being right and that I was the victim.

But holding this position felt very stubborn, hard, and I knew that holding on to it wouldn’t go anywhere, and in this case it was also increasing the threat and my fear of being exposed to more violence, rather than dissolving the situation. There I was, feeling unfairly treated, then threatened on top of that, ‘made’ into this frightened victim and angry about it.

I was actually feeding the monster by holding onto this so strongly!

Then it dawned on me that to get out of this feeling of tension, fear and victimhood, I had to surrender. Give up my emotional position and surrender to what I really felt.

I felt the pain of disconnection from myself and from the person I’ve had that argument with, and I could see that I was in part also responsible for the violent reaction towards me as a direct result of my own provocative, angry reaction. And I strongly felt that an apology was needed, to myself as well as to the person I had the argument with, to heal the harm done to both of us by my reaction.

I also felt that I needed to reconnect truly to my inner love, knowing and trusting that this reconnection would support me and bring me back to a state of inner settlement and strength. I needed to surrender to the unfolding of what was happening around me, while doing my best on a practical level to resolve the situation.

That is allowing a vulnerability that doesn’t feel like I’m a victim, but quite the opposite.

I am in charge of my body and mind; I choose to connect to my inner being and not to be ruled by emotions or expectations. I choose to be open, to love myself and then to let everybody see the real me, even if I feel exposed and vulnerable. If I choose to let go of my position of being right or being a victim, let the other know how I really feel, I then open myself to a love that includes us both, that makes us equal. My experience is that it does not matter whether the other person is open to it or still locked in their own position. If I stay open and truthful and don’t react emotionally but accept where the other is at, it takes the heat out of the situation, and most often the situation will then run a much more productive course.

I took all the practical steps to clear the situation, and along the way I kept bumping into resistance, not only on a practical level but also in myself, where I had to keep accepting that the world and people are not perfect and everybody has their story. But the most important step was to choose to be loving and open with myself, and stay an observer in this difficult situation.

Not easy – if I didn’t have the trust in my own inner knowing that I am love and I am loved, and that we all are equally that divine love, I probably couldn’t do it at all.

I also realised that holding on to a position of being a victim and feeling vulnerable to the actions of others often comes with anger and wanting to hurt the other back somehow, and that feels like a very hard cage around me, sometimes so tight that I can hardly breathe. Letting all of that go and allowing myself to feel all the layers of hurt, seeing the protective shield that I have built and the separation that I have created with it, allowed me to see the difference between the vulnerability that is based on fear and the vulnerability that I allow by choosing to drop my emotional protection. That vulnerability is based on openness, trust and surrender, and it is such a relief to feel that restrictive cage of the fear-based vulnerability drop off –– a feeling of expansion and, yes, love.

By R.P., Australia

Related Reading:
Human Relationships: Let’s Make Them About Love.
Control & reaction v space & grace
Road rage … can we regain control of our reactions?

620 thoughts on “Vulnerability – Fear or Freedom

  1. Thank you for the gift you offer us in this blog. We can know we are right yet have handled something in a bad way. Being able to step back and understand why we react the way we do in particular situations is a growth for everyone concerned whether in the perceived right or wrong.

  2. Surrendering is handing over the outcome and as vulnerable as that may make us feel we can find we can see different perspectives and that is a healing for us as well.

  3. When we treat ourselves as a victim then that is how others will perceive us as well. When we choose not to be a victim and empower ourselves with truth then everything about us changes.

  4. We know when we’ve stepped in to wallow in an issue and when we’ve stepped back to observe what it is we feel. These two approaches are worlds apart – and mean the difference between us working through and falling apart.

  5. It is horrible what happens to our bodies when we go into anger but yet it seems to not put us off going into it! It really takes a lot of conscious presence and willingness to let go of being right to move from such automatic reactions. A life times work for me!

  6. Vulnerability is a quality that is so important for men to feel… There are so few role models that open the doorways for this awareness and yet, it is vital for us all.

  7. In my experience allowing ourselves to be and feel vulnerable leads to more connection with others and an opportunity to take relationships to a deeper level, because vulnerability = rawness and realness, that we all can connect to. Vulnerability feels like our natural state of being, always there underneath the protective layers we’ve learned to walk around in and with.

  8. Playing the victim by taking the ‘i’m right’ stance only eats us up inside, and sometimes we meet people who have held on so tightly that it changes them into a completely different person; often displaying bitterness to the world and those around them.

  9. The whole right and wrong thing leads to conflict as there is no truth in it. Love and Truth are needed for any true healing or resolution.

  10. It is beautiful to realise that even in the most intense situation we can stay true to ourselves and not go into any role or expected reaction like feeling like the victim or vulnerable.

  11. “That vulnerability is based on openness, trust and surrender” This gives another the choice to feel safe enough to let down their guard and openly express their own vulnerability. This true expression of vulnerability is not weak in any form it is in fact truly powerful.

  12. I have also recently had a similar situation where a person totally disagreed with something that was true. The person is known to have a short fuse and feels like he almost enjoys his explosive and oppressive, in your face, never wrong stance. I just continued in my non-combative discourse that seemed to rile him further. When he demanded to take me to the place and the object we were discussing to prove his point, he found he was wrong and apologized for being aggressive in our discussion that had just transpired. It was never about being right but standing up for what is true and not feeding the energy that tries to attack us.

    1. I agree Gill. Yesterday I felt the vulnerability of allowing myself to feel an old deep hurt, it took me a while to go there but as you say when I allowed it to pass through my body it was then gone and so very liberating.

  13. One of the things that really prevents us from being vulnerable and open is when we make things about being right and wrong. We have to get past that to making things about love and truth.

  14. Playing the victim role never leads us to truth, it is when we realise how harmful this is and are open to see that victimhood only takes us around and around the same issue without resolving anything. We then start to see that there is another way and to be open to taking responsibility for our issues and understand our part in it. By being open, honest and willing to take responsibility, we are then able to cut the energy that drives us into victimhood.

    1. Yes because until we are open to hearing that we are playing the victim card we can often not notice how and when we do, yet it permeates our every interaction and keeps us from stepping up and fully engaging with our own lives.

  15. Amazing things start to happen when we let go and surrender, because there’s space for it. When we’re so busy trying to control situations and how we want others to behave towards us we’re exhausting and depleting ourselves in the process. Allowing and accepting where we and others are at- there’s a beauty and an ease in that, where it’s completely okay to be ourselves, and others themselves: no need to try and nothing to prove, openness and honesty without the need for fear and protection.

  16. ‘I was actually feeding the monster by holding onto this so strongly!’ I’ve had this with control. The need to control what is going happen to me and how things will work out, but holding on to it as you say just feeds the need to control. Yet I find as I now let it go just how restrictive and heavy it has been.. and the freedom that comes from it.

    1. Control is such an illusion just as right leads to conflict and does not contain truth. Both these things are exhausting and don’t work or lead to any resolution but just perpetuate things.

  17. I think that is really key to not expect others to be perfect, i have such high expectations of others and when they ‘fail’ me I am unforgiving and hard instead of understanding and open. It reflects how I am with myself.

  18. I really struggle to let go of the need to be right. But I have the ability to at least know that position hurts me. And I am learning to see where I am doing this and trying to see the bigger picture.

  19. Thank you, R.P. I really, really appreciate what you share here. There is a gap between what we know as true and what we actually put into the practicality of living, and the victimhood, the position of being right, the reaction etc. etc. are what we put in-between to allocate ourselves in a formation we call a relationship. We are not that, but we do it. And to surrender – to what is the key, that which we are, or that which we are not but we act out.

  20. We all love to receive openness, trust and surrender in a relationship with another, it is very precious. So to feel the vulnerability in ourselves can only compliment this and all our relationships.

  21. One of the biggest and most healing changes I have experienced in a relationship resulted from my choice to express my vulnerability to the other person. But as I was expressing how I was truly feeling I could sense that it came with no victim-hood, no weakness and no fear of judgment, simply the power of claiming how I felt. From that day our relationship has expanded on many levels.

    1. Thank you for sharing Ingrid. It is by sharing that we get the reflection that it is worth taking a chance to see if the way we have protected ourselves in the past has contributed to the reactions we have received and to practice a different response.

      1. This is so true Lucy. At the time it felt as if I was ‘taking a chance’ but something deep inside simply knew this was the time to break down the wall of protection, the hardness I used to keep myself ‘safe’, which probably was keeping people away. I can see now with the way I had protected myself from what was coming at me, and which might, I was always primed and ready to react. How liberating it is to have let those walls down and with trust open myself up to whatever comes next.

  22. To surrender is letting go our control by going to our innerheart And our body. There we find the divine, the whole universe holding us.

    1. It makes sense of our resistance to being vulnerable if that is the key to connecting to our innate power.

  23. When we surrender, we can feel so incredibly vulnerable, but in the process, it is often the other that then clocks our true surrender and will often drop their hardness too.

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