Part of becoming comfortable with vulnerability is also accepting it from others. It is recognizing and accepting someone else’s vulnerable state. I have found it to mean being OK with someone who is not at their best. Being OK with someone who is asking for help. Being OK when someone is showing themselves a weaker side of you.
Here is something I am embarrassed about.
When I first became a school counselor seven years ago, I was very uncomfortable when working with a male student, and he would start to cry.
I felt panicked. I felt like I should do something, but I did not know what to do. I was ashamed by their vulnerability and my reaction to it. I really just wanted them to stop crying, because in my world, boys did not show that type of emotion.
I soon discovered that they boys would cry much more often and harder than the girls. What I begin to realize is once the boys felt comfortable and safe, they let it allllll out, because it was not socially acceptable for them to do that anywhere else.
And, I needed to be prepared for that.
I had to work on it, but I am now in a place where I am much more comfortable and competent to handle these situations.
I sit with them in their vulnerability and let them explore it safely and express their feelings.
I am OK with not rushing to “fix” their problems, so they can go back to being the males others expect them to be.
I hope I am showing them it is acceptable to be vulnerable and show emotions. It is OK to feel and express weakness with those you trust.
I am working on becoming better with both showing and receiving vulnerability.
In love & openness,
~Ang Catching a friend’s vulnerability can sometimes be tricky. It depends on how well you know the person’s facial gestures or what the change in their tone of voice signifies. Recently, I was having dinner with a very dear and long time friend. She was telling me about a guy she was seeing who happened to be engaged. A majority of the conversation dealt with trying to figure out whether the guy was really interested in her or just playing games. In my head I was thinking, uh he’s engaged, he’s not interested in you. I allowed her to do most of the talking because I’ve been in that situation before, and when you’re in it and can’t see out of it – it’s fun. So I ended up saying, he’s comfortable with where he is and isn’t going to give up that security for you or his fiance.
I could have torn her down if I wanted to; sometimes people need to be hit upside the head with words in order to wake up but I chose not to that night. She was in a vulnerable place and I had to respect that. She may not know she’s in a vulnerable space but having been in her shoes before, I know I was at the time. When you really want to believe in something, you follow your delusion.
I know some people would argue that if I were a true friend I would have been truthful but the reality is, she really wants to believe what she has going on is real and nothing I can say will change that. We all have to learn that painful lesson sometime but if you can come out looking like Charlie XCX, we’re all the better for it.