Sunday, 18 May 2014

Vulnerability : T2 Article dated 19th May, 2014

Rangan, a very articulate, confident- looking young professional with ' I- care- adamn' attitude, admits in a session: " I put up a big facade. I like to think of myself as flamboyant, confident and a huge showman. And I project an image which is larger than life but deep within I am actually ashamed of my ordinariness. I am scared of being rejected. I am lonely and vulnerable and can't take the risk of getting hurt." Rangan was addressing his relationship with his wife, and childhood sweetheart, Ritu. He was finding it extremely difficult to admit his faults and reach out to her. Ritu, on the other hand, could only see the rude, aggressive, and ' not emotional' Rangan. She had distanced herself from him.
We all have a Rangan inside us.
Somewhere deep down, we are really uncomfortable with our own ' weaknesses', our helplessness and vulnerabilities. Maybe our rude, aggressive behaviour is a mask that we wear to hide the feelings of our own perceived inadequacies. The fear of getting hurt might be so great that we wall off our vulnerable or ' weak' aspect. In turn we close ourselves to love, human connections and openness. This prevents us from creating real connections or being fully present in our current and future relationships.

Brené Brown, sociologist and author of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead , says, " Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it's also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, of love". The word courage comes from the old French word ' corage' meaning ' heart's innermost feelings'. In middle English it was used broadly for ' what is in one's mind or thoughts'. If we can simply master the courage to acknowledge our own imperfections, vulnerabilities, our fallibility, our triumphs as well as our losses, if we can embrace our strength and our weaknesses and be all right with them without judgement, we will be in a better place. More peaceful within and more open towards others.

What it means is that we acknowledge and accept ourselves in totality. We need to break down the walls of our internal defences even at the risk of getting hurt. We need to live wholeheartedly, wholesomely and fully. That's what being alive truly means.

Here are three steps to get started on embracing yourself with your warts... 

Allow your emotions to touch your heart :

We cannot selectively numb pain, hurt, sadness, and feelings of misery, while at the same time feel happy and meaningful. Do not judge your emotions ( we only judge the negative ones). If you are suppressing or denying your emotions, you are also disconnecting from yourself.

Acknowledge them without judgement and with kindness.
Only then can you look beyond the emotions and understand the deeper thoughts behind them, thus allowing yourself to gain a new perspective.

Be patient, be truthful to yourself :

Be patient with yourself. At least once a week, take time to introspect. The problem is not that we can fool the world; it is that we fool ourselves the most. Being truthful to yourself can take you to your darkest space. It means facing your worst fears. It can be tough, so hang in there. Becoming more aware of your feelings and thoughts is work in progress.

Be compassionate towards others :

If you find it hard to acknowledge your vulnerable side, then perhaps you can start by becoming more patient, nonjudgemental, compassionate and kind towards others. This is a huge favour that you can do to yourself. The attitude with which you approach others may also become the attitude towards yourself.
Being compassionate towards others and oneself without shirking one's responsibilities makes it easier to find solace.
Inward or outwards, the journey is the same and so is the destination.
The poet Walt Whitman spoke about his so succinctly...

I am not the poet of goodness only,
I do not decline to be the Poet of wickedness also.

Dr Sangbarta Chattopadhyay and Dr Namita Bhuta are medical practitioners, psychotherapists and life coaches. You can mail them at: 

No comments:

Post a Comment