The Power of Vulnerability – A Vessel for Affection
“…Vulnerability is … the core of shame … fear, and our struggle of worthiness, but it appears that it is also the birthplace of joy … creativity … belonging … [and] love …”
Touch has been a major theme in my young adult experience.
I crave it, yet fear it.
I’m afraid to allow myself closeness to others, fearing the isolation that may ensue.
Touch—I feel guilty when I receive it, because I cannot offer it; I feel obligated to suffer, to be without it.
When another person touches me, it’s thrilling—something in my chest dances, the closure of worthiness washes me with a momentary sense of relief.
Yet … it’s almost too thrilling. Does that make it carnal?
If it’s carnal … (I think it’s carnal) … it’s wrong.
And all rational people know that a carnal relationship without the guarantee of love only causes more pain long-term.
Desiring to be good, reaching to touch causes my hands to tremble.
Reluctant, a jolt shoots through fingertips that graze the flesh of another.
It seems almost easier to hide my hands, to close my body—to not touch, to make myself untouchable.
With this cycle, I perpetually crave and deny touch, affection; love.
If love is a vessel for affection, my cup is dry.
I want to share myself with others, but my thirst renders me weak.
To sate others, I would have to reach deep within myself and cut through those walls which conceal the content of my being.
However, the risk of an unpalatable taste leaves me empty; I fear that making such a cut would only render my wound to fester, soaking in its own waste.
As validated by the video, and other important people in my life, I realize that filling my own cup can be difficult. However, taking such an initiative is necessary to allow myself to experience whole-heartedness.
On studying and observing the happiness of others, TED speaker/researcher/storyteller Brené Brown found that people were more satisfied with their lives when they ‘fully embraced vulnerability.’ Touch is one of those areas where I experience vulnerability.
Though much lacking in a strategy which can be universally applied in a normative sense, I feel that a lot of what Brown says resonates with me; having the courage to be imperfect, the compassion to be kind to myself, and allowing myself to authentically and genuinely connect to others would almost certainly create a greater sense of purpose for myself—a greater sense of self-validation, the confidence to be vulnerable.
I know that I am not alone in this experience. I see vulnerability challenged every day.
The nervous, stiff extremities of new dancers become confident and warm embraces. The jealous or inquisitive eyes of neophytes redirect their focus internally. The apologetic choose to see what goes right, the quiet become Toastmasters; those who persevere through their vulnerability find power.
And, by allowing myself opportunities to feel uncomfortable—vulnerable—I believe that I can learn to touch another person.
I would be lying if I claimed that this video has cured me of my insecurities, or that it has empowered me to change overnight. However, I do feel that Brown’s perspective on vulnerability is a healthy one that I ought to embody. With my thoughts and intentions focused on self-improvement, I hope that I may be able to help both myself and others find solace in vulnerability.
With behaviors conducive to whole-heartedness, our cups shall one day collectively overflow with those wonderful things that we each seek most.
Brené Brown’s TED talk, “The Power of Vulnerability,” can be viewed at the link below: