Vulnerability- The Doorway to the Emotional Self
Updated: Oct 13, 2022
In my journey of self discovery, becoming a certified coach has emerged as one of my career goals. Being the son of a coach definitely helped in bringing in clarity and so did Divine guidance. I was empowered in grace to make choices that help me align myself with my Purpose. Life is like a piano. There are the white keys and the black keys. The naturals and the sharps. The good and the bad. The Yin and the Yang.
As 2020 dawned in my life, life took an unprecedented turn and my coping mechanism pushed me into a space of emotional unavailability. The sit-coms I started watching and the characters I started resonating were the ones who were emotionally unavailable with a serious empathy deficit. My friends who knew me for the past 6-7 years sounded the alarming bells and warned me to open up. They said that they sensed a shift in me that turned me into someone I was not. I had no idea how much of life I was missing by numbing my emotional self.
I had taken a psychometric test a couple of months back where I could see a quantified report of my shift. The report revealed details that my best friends and myself could not believe. From being a textbook extrovert, I had now taken a sharp turn and became an introvert. From someone who used to operate from the heart space, my head to heart ratio was probably the most concerning detail personally. My head to heart ratio stood at 85:15. I knew I needed to change something but I did not know how.
Then comes in Regal Certified Coaching. One of the Ted Talks that we had to go through as part of our classes was The Power of Vulnerability by Brene Brown which I urge you to watch. I shall not delve into the details of the video as I want you to watch it. Her inimitable speaking style with a dash of humour is something I want you to experience! However, I shall definitely share a few insights that I gained as part of our discussion on the video in the RCC class.
Vulnerability was one of the differentiating factors between successful people and unsuccessful people. As I contemplated on vulnerability, I realized that vulnerability was the doorway to human emotions. I could not selectively numb emotions! If I numbed negative emotions, I would end up numbing positive emotions too; unknowingly. I discerned that if I was willing to be vulnerable with others, chances are high that others would be vulnerable with me too raising the odds of developing a meaningful connection.
Vulnerability is the basis of trust which makes a relationship meaningful.
Coming back to our class, it was revealed that vulnerability is the accurate measure of courage. I used the word 'revealed' deliberately. The above statement was nothing short of a revelation to me. I used to look at vulnerability as a sign of weakness. In a particular YouTube video, Jordan Peterson speaks about the difference between being virtuous and harmless. He brings up one of the statements from the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible, where Jesus states that the Kingdom on Earth shall be inherited by the meek. Jordan could not make sense of this as he felt the meek did not have the intention needed to inherit the kingdom as the word signifies weakness. But as he searched for the meaning of the word 'meek', he realized that meek used to refer to the person who had the ability to strike the sword but chose to leave his sword sheathed. This made sense to him. Jordan thereby concluded that the ability to be dangerous was what defined a virtuous man. He said that a man who has the ability to be dangerous and chooses not to is virtuous. A man who does not even have the ability to be dangerous is just harmless.
Vulnerability is the accurate measure of courage.
This made sense. It takes sheer courage to be vulnerable without blame. Blame is the discharge of pain. The moment I am vulnerable with you without caring if you are vulnerable with me or what you would do with whatever I have told you is a dangerously powerful place to be in. Sheer courage.
A particular dinner a few nights back made me realize how vulnerable I felt. It was phenomenal and shall remain etched in my memory for what it was going to do to me. Those moments of vulnerability opened up the Pandora's box. A lot of unprocessed emotions, fears, judgements etc. started spewing out of the darker recesses of my mind and I was caught unaware. I thought I had processed all of my emotions but clearly I had not. My instinct was to withdraw and become emotionally unavailable again. But that was not an option anymore. I knew that retreating within was not from a place of courage but from a place of fear. So I decided to be alone in my house for a couple of days without anyone coming over for the sole reason that I can be with myself. I started writing down whatever I felt, recording voice notes, singing and praying. It helped. I started becoming emotionally strong. The journey has just begun and the distance to be traversed is one of a lifetime but definitely worth it.
A degree of faith in God and trust in my ability to deal with whatever life throws at me was all I needed for this sojourn. Each one of us is on a journey to self-actualization. We are not lonely travelers. Let us support each other as we play this game of life! Please do watch the video by Brene Brown; you will love it.