Thursday, 16 September 2010
Notes to my unborn child: Vulnerability
If there is one thing I have learnt about life, it is that we live in a world of paradoxes. And none are more striking than the paradox that vulnerability is not only a sign of strength, but also creates strength.
Let me explain: we live in a society that is dominated by images of perfection and power. However, the reality is that none of us are perfect, except in our imperfection. Nor do any of us hold ultimate power: power moves from person to person, depending on circumstances.
What I have learnt about Vulnerability
Because so many of us feel we need to be perfect, to be powerful, we hide away all those aspects of ourselves that are less than perfect, as if we are ashamed of them. As if they make us a 'failure', or weaken us in some way.
When someone has the courage to be honest, to speak of their fears, insecurities or confusion, they are showing their vulnerability. That honesty is incredibly powerful. Most of us lack the courage to be so honest. And it is for that reason that, in owning our own vulnerability, we can also own our own power.
This is because we are being authentic, congruent and speaking with integrity. No amount of show-man-ship can ever usurp the quiet, dignified powerfulness that eminates from being authentic, even if it is to own our vulnerability.
I suspect this is for two reasons: first, because it takes courage to be authentic. And second, because everyone has areas of our lives where we feel vulnerable. When we acknowledge our own vulnerability, we make it acceptable for others to own theirs, to be more authentic, and for transformation to occur.
What I wish for you
My heart-felt wish for you is that you understand the true nature of power. It does not arise from force, fear or flattery; genuine power comes from deep within, when you understand and can acknowledge who you are, with integrity and authenticity, and when you allow others to be who they are, with acceptance and trust.
Vulnerability is not something to be feared or exploited: it is a part of the human condition. It points towards opportunities for growth and exploration, as much as for compassion and understanding.