The Power of Vulnerability
Years ago we wouldn’t talk about vulnerability and power in the same sentence, unless it was as opposites. We were taught that power came from the ability to control our reality, to have power over people or achievements in our lives. Power was strong because it was unyielding.
As a young one, I wasn’t consciously seeking power, but I definitely wanted control. Oh, how I tried. I was a fantastic type A personality–organized, hard working, great at making my lists happen.
But at some point, control started to feel like a hollow coping mechanism. Because when life didn’t go my way, I collapsed into a heap. Life was either fantastic or horrible with no sense of balance in between. I had no resilience.
I arrived at a choice point, to feel more free I needed to let go. I didn’t consider it an act of vulnerability. The pain of feeling stuck was simply bigger than my fear of the unknown.
And so I began learning how to let go by making friends with the unknown in my life. I dropped out of law school. I married my sweetheart (a leap for a child of divorce). I listened to my heart and had babies earlier than many of my contemporaries. I studied women’s spirituality and earth-based ways of healing. I practiced following energy.
Along the way, I discovered eight teachers for navigating the unknown.
Over the last 20 years I’ve realized that growing a relationship with uncertainty hasn’t diminished my power. In fact, the opposite with a twist.
Today, for the most part, I rest into a power inside that also connects me with something bigger than myself. This power includes personal intentions but is rooted in a willingness to not know. It involves connecting with, receiving and following guidance. This power lives in relationship with vulnerability.
And so we arrive full circle where power not only relates to vulnerability but is sourced by it. This vulnerability isn’t weak. In fact, it takes incredible strength to let go.
Opening to the unknown, including the possibility of pain, requires deep trust in ourselves and our capacity for resilience. Rather than being unyielding, the power of vulnerability finds it’s strength in being open and fluid with change.
By the way, vulnerability doesn’t mean giving up choice. Or healthy boundaries. You need a strong solid container to open fully. You can be feisty and fluid and the same time.
But a relationship with vulnerability does begin with saying yes, and recognizing whatever fears might be trying to stand in your way. After that, what you discover–the texture and experience of your unique vulnerability–is all your own.