The word vulnerability is defined as being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. The definition alone makes us want to run and hide, to seek shelter, to protect ourselves, but what if embracing our vulnerability allowed us to step into who we really are? To expose our true selves, confidently owning our authenticity, perhaps in turn granting others the courage to do the same. Life’s experiences provide us with an inner wisdom that pushes us beyond the external world of judgement. As we gather these life lessons we are able to release negative thoughts. We are able to move into a place of acceptance which permits us to be fearless.
I have learned to embrace vulnerability in my own life as I have dealt with the physical challenges of alopecia, an autoimmune disorder that caused my hair to fall out. While some people lose only a few spots, I lost all of my hair and I experienced this hair loss more than once. The cycle seemed to repeat itself every seven years beginning at age thirty.
While I waited for my hair to grow in, I had fun wearing a stylish, low maintenance wig. It was always cut and styled perfectly. I was quite vain about the entire situation for many years, mainly through my career years which is understandable. I had many people compliment me on my hair and ask me for the name of my hairdresser. When I had my gorgeous wig on everyone loved how I looked. I looked ‘normal,' which felt safe. The down side to wearing the wig was that it could be hot and scratchy, yet I wore the wig for approximately two years, during each bout of alopecia. During the last two stints I have chosen comfort. When I wear a scarf however, it reveals the vulnerable me, the true me.
As I allowed myself to feel vulnerable I noticed I receive genuine kindness and compassion; positive energy from the people I meet. I never felt as if they were judging or ridiculing me. I have even had, on occasion, people openly admire me for ‘being out there’ and having the courage to be myself. I recently had a dear, sweet friend say to me “Whenever I’m having a really bad day I just need to think of you and what you have gone through. It makes me see my problems as very small.”
Learning to embrace feeling vulnerable has enhanced my ability to feel empathy for others. When I see a challenged individual I choose to send them a blessing. I ask God/Goddess to watch over them and shine white light on them from above. I imagine when I’m out socially wearing a scarf to hide my baldness, with no eyebrows nor eyelashes and my skin is swollen, dry and wrinkled, that many blessings are being sent my way as well. Science has proven that whatever you send out, gets returned to you.
I think we fear our own vulnerability and yet, ironically, it is where we are able to experience our greatest growth. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable encourages change. As we gather these lessons they become ingrained. Our negative thoughts, regrets, and ego are replaced with more positive feelings.
It is through our daily experiences, perhaps those times when we are feeling attacked and judged, we learn about ourselves. We expand our circle of wisdom, rising above our inhibitions and obligations. We allow our name to move to the top of the list, enabling us to be co-creators with the universe. We learn vulnerability is power, that there is freedom in being authentic, uninhibited by the opinions of others.
The respect derived from vulnerability is a significant quality with which to enrich all our relationships. Men especially could benefit most from surrendering themselves to vulnerability. They have been taught to be strong and therefore pride gets in the way of expanding their own growth. The fear of embarrassment can impact experiential growth causing energy blockages in our body, therefore, hindering our life path.
I have learned to embrace vulnerability wholeheartedly. It is the act of being seen and accepted as a whole person. Forgiving myself and others opened me up to receive peace and calm. It gives me so much freedom to know whatever people might think or say about me is never taken personally. Whatever your appearance; it is you after all. The lack of hair, eyebrows, nose, eyes, breasts, appendages does not change who you are inside, unless you allow it.
I wish I had discovered this beautiful gift of vulnerability when I was younger but I think the wisdom earned through all my life experiences has directed me to where I am at this particular time and place. For this I am extremely grateful.
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. EE Cummings
Having designed clothing, successfully ran an interior design business, and shared her artistic talents, Ella eventually flourished under what many may consider insurmountable odds. After redesigning not only herself but her entire life, Ella now shares these vulnerable moments with the intent to help others thrive!