We all experience times where we feel vulnerable. Sometimes we know exactly why – we’re putting ourselves forwards and outwards into life – opening ourselves up in some way. We might be chancing a new relationship or a new career change or trying to add something to our lives. In this state of hope we are allowing ourselves to become vulnerable to the possibility of being hurt in some way. Perhaps the new relationship won’t work out, the other person may hurt us emotionally. Or perhaps we won’t get the new job, the special new career we’ve attempted to find just isn’t going to be ours this time. Or perhaps we won’t manage to be any good at the new thing we’re trying to add to our lives.
One way or another the vulnerability we feel is the fear voice whispering in our ear: what if I’m not good enough.
Not being good enough shakes our attempts to change and to grow. Not being good enough makes us vulnerable: if we don’t try, we can’t prove ultimately unsuccessful.
Sometimes we think we’ve got it all under control. We’ve worked hard, we feel like our belief in ourselves is strong and that we can do what it is we are trying to achieve.
But we can wake up – as I recently have been doing – just shaken to our core with a sense that we aren’t ready. We’re not good enough.
No matter what we do, we feel, life will never change and we will never be good enough for the life we want to live. Never a match to the dreams we hold inside…
So what do we do? We shut down. We close ourselves off. We let go of the dreams a little – make them smaller or revert to old ways of living. Knowing that they didn’t fulfil us but at the same time it’s safe. Safe to be where we know and how we always have been rather than step out.
And in shutting down we die a little a bit on the inside. Sadness hits: we know we’ve gone against the tidal wave of growth our soul is begging us to step into. Anger erupts as a mask to our pain and we scream and shout ant anything other than the fear that caused us to limit our lives.
We’ve all experienced the pain of vulnerability. We’ve all tried for MORE – to get more from our life. Growth is natural. But with the progression forward comes a cracked open, bare state of defencelessness. Will we win? Will we succeed? Will we be ridiculed? Will we ultimately prove just how not good enough we are?
This pain is every bit as real as a cut to the body or a blow to the head.
And we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t. If we try and risk failure, that pains us. If we decide not to try and stay put, that pains us even deeper.
And so in the end, I guess there is always pain. There always is the vulnerability of life. We can’t avoid pain – we can only mitigate it; learn to understand it and work through it. If we don’t feel the pain we’re not experiencing more. And if we’re not experiencing more, then ultimately we’re in pain anyway.
So the trick must be to make friends with the pain of vulnerability; to see it as an ally not a foe. To see that it can help us appreciate the steps we’re about to take – however small they may seem – are in some way magnificent to our growth. And so the lesson, I suppose, is how love the growing pains. To feel them come and welcome them in even as we seek to limit their destructiveness. Pain may be unavoidable; but we don’t have to live there. We must ultimately decide if the gift of expansion is worth the risk of failure. And really once you put it that way, there can be ony one answer. Always, YES. And run through the fear as fast as we can – as gracefully as we can. And wait with anticipation and expectation of success. We create our lives every day we live. Growing or stagnating; flowing or stopping. Letting go, surrendering our vulnerability to the greater good. We can only succeed if we are willing to face our vulnerability to failure.