while(self++) { #40 } // Ruminations on Vulnerability

A few weeks ago, my mother and I discussed why people tend to be superficial with one another and why they don’t try to learn more about each other. At the core, becoming friends is a hard exercise. Assuming that people like each other enough (big assumption here, I know) to talk to one another, taking the next step is a whole other level of commitment. It means that people need to maintain that relationship and, usually, that kind of attachment is beyond what most people can give to most other people. Especially considering the sheer number of human beings we are surrounded by on a daily basis, it can be overwhelming.

Moreover, we both agreed that this process makes you vulnerable. One manifestation is that you open up about yourself. You show a part of yourself that people don’t normally see. You take off the armor and reveal the soft fleshy body underneath. With all its imperfections and weaknesses. Another way you become vulnerable is that the process of learning about others can challenge you. You learn about other people and lifestyles. It can directly oppose what you believe in. Making friends means seeing beyond ourselves and learning that we can be wrong. Sometimes, people aren’t ready for that. It’s easier to be in our bubbles. This isn’t necessarily right, but venturing out of the bubble can be draining and damaging in its own way, such as when we make ourselves vulnerable to the wrong people or to too many people. But perhaps it’s a fine line that many of us haven’t figured out yet either. Perhaps we struggle with revealing our true selves too much and too little. Ultimately, is this a cause of our loneliness?

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