In a world where we are brought up with the importance of looking cool and keeping it all together as indications of success, it can be difficult for us to acknowledge and allow our vulnerability. When we have been deeply hurt in the past, we may have made a decision not to let that happen again and hardened against the soft and vulnerable places inside. And yet, vulnerability is an essential part of intimacy, and allowing ourselves to touch and be touched by another. Otherwise, it can feel like two images meeting each other, while the unmet needs to connect and share more deeply go unrecognised.
In my own experience, I find it takes a lot of kindness and compassion towards the defensive structures in myself to allow them to soften and open. Any sense of forcing or demanding actually reinforces the defences as they feel threatened. We put these defences in place for good reason as part of our survival structure in life, and we need to approach them with gentleness and respect. Our sense of self can be defined by these structures, and it can feel disorienting to let them dissolve. At the same time, this dissolving can bring much more openness and receptivity to ourselves, others and the whole experience of being alive in a human body.
After experiencing a deeper vulnerability in myself this morning and allowing that to be seen by a friend, I noticed such a freshness and aliveness in all my senses when we went out for a walk together. It was as though the trees, the grasses, the river were all singing to me in their vibrancy of colour and shape. This feels like returning to a natural connectedness and welcoming of the life in me and all around me.