Why some people have such a hard time with vulnerability

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org

Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org

I am part of this incredible club on campus called “I Am That Girl.” It is a group of women who meet each week to talk openly about topics that matter. We share in our common struggles, laugh at one another and lift each other up. This week, the topic of conversation was called “Speak your Truth.” We ended up talking about one topic specifically that I find extremely interesting: vulnerability.

Being vulnerable is letting yourself feel something. It’s about showing your emotions and not being afraid of being hurt or what others will think. It sounds so simple doesn’t it? This is something that holds so much value in life, yet many are hesitant and even incapable to do so.

We live in generation defined by comparisons — social media has changed our whole perception of what individuality means, where people hold back their true opinions and shield one another of their identities. Why is this? Why are people so afraid of letting themselves go and simply being about to vulnerable? Why don’t people show their emotions enough? Maybe it’s a defense mechanism for people to withhold feelings. Maybe they are too scared to fail or get hurt. The answer is fear. We are afraid. Afraid of losing ourselves, afraid of being different, of failure, of being judged. Doesn’t the saying go, “It is better to have loved and lost than not to love at all”? One of the most important things in life is being able show your humanity. That’s why we are alive after all.

When we allow ourselves to let go, to feel vulnerable, we can do so much. We can use it for success and when we work with it, the hurt that we struggle with usually informs us and we can move on with the wisdom we’ve received. We are able to become trusting of ourselves and our ability to heal, rather than putting our trust into other people, that they will behave within a certain expectation of what we consider acceptable.

If we do this we are allowing ourselves to open up, to be who we want to be, by our own definition. Vulnerability brings us a common ground, and with that we can do wonders.

Brittany Fleck is a sophomore majoring in human development and aging. Her column, “B-Flecksible,” runs Fridays.