Tuesday, June 3, 2008

It's Ok to be Vulnerable

I have many, many faults. Sometimes I feel like hiding my faults from others, but the older I get the more comfortable I am with others seeing them. In the past I only felt safe with my closest family members knowing that I was not perfect. Being imperfect was not a safe place, ever, when I was younger. I know I am not the only person ever to feel this way. It's also a sad way of living your life. I spent far too much time hoping people around me would not dislike anything I said or did and I counted a day as a good one if I went through the day without a disapproving look from someone. So I did a lot of hiding.

But everyone has to grow up. I'm still in that process, but have come a long way from that fearful little girl I once was. I'm not boasting about myself, so please don't take it that way. I just have some thoughts that I'd like written down.

I think that one reason I have such a great relationship with my Mom is that she sees my faults. I can tell her things about myself that would make others judge me harshly and forever embarrass me because of the judgement I see in their eyes and actions toward me. But not my Mom, she sees my faults and will tell me what they are. That is one of the hardest things to do--be honest with someone enough to see their faults and then be able to tell them what you see and still have respect and love for that person.

I'm not implying that I love it when someone tells me that I was wrong in some way or that I've sinned. I'm normal, it hurts and makes me angry at first. I still find myself going back in time to my childhood where I felt that if I did something wrong and was found out I'd lose that person's love. So my knee jerk reaction is to be angry and reject their point of view.

What I am saying is that if you try and see only the good in someone, by putting 'blinders' on you can only ever see part of who they are. People are a whole, not just good, happy, rosy people. Everyone has thought, done, said things that are less than what we know is appropriate or good. People who put on these blinders are very sad to me. They are people who cannot ever know another person because they are unwilling to see the entirety and depth of the person. It is very sad indeed. I also have to ask these questions: Why is it so important to only see the good things about people? Why can't we be more accepting of other's faults? Is it because it they have a need for everyone around them to be perfect because they are afraid of their own faults and therefore vulnerability?

Back to my Mom. She knows my many faults. I have found it rather cathartic to be vulnerable with her by telling her and accepting her telling me my faults. It was a weight off my shoulders to be so open with someone and learn that she did still love me. And the same applies to her faults, I love that I know that she is and will never be a perfect person. Sometimes I've complained about that, but in retrospect if she were perfect I don't think I could love her as I do because I would not feel ok to be vulnerable with her over my own shortcomings. It is give and take.

My husband tells me all the time that I 'share' too much with people, I over explain things. I think part of that is me trying to take others guards down and show them I'm not perfect because I wish that I could have a vulnerability with most everyone I care about. I laughingly will tell people embarrassing things about my past, or tell them about a lie I told so that I can be open to them in that way. I just wish more people were open to that as well. If we are not willing to be vulnerable to other meaningful people in our lives then when are we going to be comfortable being vulnerable with God?

The really sad thing is that God is the ultimate when it comes to matters of the heart like I'm talking about. He will not reject you in a vulnerable time, he already knows everything any how. So how silly is it to hide from him in the same way we hide ourselves from each other? So maybe it's easiest to start admitting our faults to God before we can practice this type of honesty with other human beings? I don't pretend to know the answer, I would think it would be different for everyone.

In being a parent I hope that Eric and I can maintain a level of honesty and vulnerability towards our children because I never want our kids to think that they have to hide from us. I hate dishonesty, and so I hope to show my children that they are loved and accepted for who they really are and not just for the person I want to see. I want to have my children grow up never having to be afraid of losing love from others like I did. I want to be a vulnerable person for the sake of others.

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