The Art of Vulnerability – Own Your Scars and Wear Them with Pride
We all wear our scars. We have all faced difficulties in our lives, engaged in a battle with what is raging inside of us, a battle that no one else knows about.
We’ve all been afraid to tell others of our fight out of some misplaced sense of shame, or because of the fear of being laughed at.
Or simply because we thought: No one cares.
There are a lot of people who choose to suffer in silence rather than reach out for help because of one or all of those reasons. The consequences of suffering in silence are unhappiness, depression, or in the worst cases, suicide.
When I was in my teens, I faced some of the most difficult years of my life.
My life was a constant struggle against suicidal thoughts.
Thoughts which I kept to myself for more than six years. Living with these thoughts day in and day out poisoned me, affecting and shaping my personality, my view of myself and of the world around me.
I became disconnected from everything and everyone, and it has only been in recent years that I have been able to open up and talk about these thoughts, these feelings, and the scars they have left behind.
Vulnerability, among all the emotions, is the one that is most often mistaken for weakness.
In reality, however, the opposite is true; vulnerability is courage in its greatest form.
Without a shadow of a doubt, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and admitting that you are vulnerable is downright scary.
When I dared to open my mouth to talk about what I had been holding in me for so long, a strange shame came attached to my words, and a feeling of total and utter fear ran through me.
Not just down to the thought of how the person in front of me was going to respond, but also because it was something which had become somewhat of a secret identity of mine for so many years.
Unfortunately, this was something that resonated with many people.
It’s uncomfortable to open up about dark, personal subjects, not merely because they are personal, but also because we somehow think it’s not normal to have these problems.
So what do we do? We keep them to ourselves, keeping them imprisoned inside of us where they crawl around and slowly poison us.
But problems, struggles, difficulties—whatever you want to call them—are normal. In fact, each and every person you see walking on the street, sitting in the metro, working out at the gym, wherever, is fighting a battle you know nothing about.
I became disconnected from everything and everyone, and it has only been in recent years, that I have been able to open up and talk about these thoughts, these feelings, and the scars they have left behind.
Problems are the most human thing about being a human, and they are one of the few things that each and every one of us has in common.
Looking back, that is the reason behind something I discovered after talking to people about my own scars – people are a lot more forgiving and compassionate than you think they are going to be.
Because, every single one of us is suffering in our own way, and being open about such deep personal topics brings about a real emotional human connection, showing that we are all the same.
We are all human beings fighting a battle regardless of our more obvious differences such as skin color, personality, nationality, and so on. Everyone is engaged in the battle of living.
Happiness is largely about being socially connected, yet we cannot be connected if we keep on being so hard and unforgiving towards ourselves and on the scars we wear inside.
We need to allow ourselves to be vulnerable and to speak openly about our inner wounds and scars. The path to healing begins with the acceptance of them, and a large part of that acceptance is achieved when you are able to speak with someone about them.
That is the art of vulnerability.
What has happened in your past cannot be undone, altered or changed in any way. Of course, you can choose to go on and keep hiding those scars that are inside you, keeping the shame and vulnerability hidden from the world and everyone else.
But by doing that, you miss out on the chance of your own personal healing, of forming new and rewarding emotional connections and also the chance to help someone else with your story.