There is nothing shaming in admitting vulnerabilities. They are part of being human. If you cannot admit that you have some, you are in denial. That’s probably not a huge deal, but what are you missing because of your inability to admit something so common? What would you lose? Everyone has vulnerabilities—I hesitate to call them weaknesses because they aren’t always—and we would think no less of someone else for admitting something we already know to be true. You might even wonder at the purpose of trying to act as though you don’t have vulnerabilities. If you’ve had horrendous experiences in your life, you might not want to admit them, but it would make more sense to me if you could understand and receive comfort in learning that everyone has vulnerabilities. They may not be the exact same ones for each and every person, but we can all relate to each other. Of course, we can only relate to each other if we are willing to recognize those vulnerabilities in ourselves, to give ourselves permission to have those vulnerabilities, and then to choose on our own whether or not we should grow and change from them, or whether they should remain as they are.
Imagine trying to have heart-to-heart conversation with a person, or perhaps during an argument, to explain why you feel the way you feel when a person acts a certain way. Imagine that person perceives those actions as vulnerabilities, and therefore says, “I don’t do that.” You know they do, but you’ve just reached as far in the conversation as you will ever go. This means the person who stubbornly refuses to acknowledge a vulnerability (or in some cases a particular behavior) will refuse to change because they are making some assumptions:
1) You don’t know what you’re talking about
2) Anything I do is perfectly explainable, logical, and justifiable
3) How you feel is irrelevant in light of #2
4) I am more important than you, therefore how you feel or what you perceive is meaningless
Call me crazy, but this is pretty much a conversation killer and if the person is literally unable to ever progress to a more open-minded discussion, they have shortchanged themselves and will eventually ruin any relationship. I can’t figure out if people like this are afraid of growth, are scared of admitting they aren’t perfect, or they truly believe they are perfect. Perhaps there are many different kinds. The outcome is the same. No one necessarily likes to be faulted for anything, and we may not approach conversations in the best way, but I have to say…as much as I might not like it, when someone tells me I interrupt, I can at least analyze my behavior and I see that they are right. I have a difficult time breaking the habit, and I know many of the reasons why I became that way. I also realize those reasons are irrelevant because my behavior is causing negative effects to those I care about.
Maybe the caring is the key. I care about and respect other people enough be concerned and attempt to make changes. I’m not very successful yet, it’s a work in progress, but I realize that change needs to occur. Perhaps the people who refuse to admit that they have vulnerabilities or certain areas of fragility are more damaged, or perhaps they truly don’t care about how they affect others. I really don’t know, so more than anything I feel very sorry for those people. They are the types of people who will always be victims—they never brought anything on themselves of course. They will never develop into the people they could be because they will forever be in denial about who they actually are. The funny thing is, admitting vulnerabilities is very freeing. It’s okay to have them, it is even part of what helps define us. Perhaps we are easily offended, but that just means that we have an extremely kind heart, or that we have been hurt deeply in the past. It means we care. Do we still need to address, or at least realize, that particular part of our nature so we don’t run around thinking everyone hates us? Yes. Is it a bad thing? No. If we don’t acknowledge that part of us though, we risk a life of misery believing that everyone is essentially mean and out to hurt our feelings; that no one truly likes us. It also prevents us from being positive, and realizing that no one has perfected communication. It’s also expecting everyone around you to be perfect because, in a way, you’re unwilling to give allowances for the fact that people make mistakes. That’s a pretty dismal picture, and I know that I wouldn’t want a life like that, and I wouldn’t want to make others feel that way. Some people may have an inferiority complex and may just feel that you are a superior person. As long as you aren’t going around bragging and you don’t hear the same complaint from multiple people, it’s probably safe to assume that this particular person has circumstances in their life which caused a problem. It has very little to do with you. They’ll eventually get a different friend if they can’t handle your success or ambition. If you hear the same things from many people, you might want to try being more humble. I’m not the greatest at communicating my intent, but I’m learning that if I at least verbally acknowledge my flaws, apologize, and let them know I’m trying to work on them, that most people will be willing to cut a little slack.
Vulnerable does not equal “loser”. To pretend you don’t have some area in which you are more fragile is like saying you are more than human; like claiming you are a god. It just makes you look like a pompous idiot. Seriously, to say that you’re not perfect while refusing to acknowledge any flaw or fragility is extreme irony.
You might as well just say, “I’m not perfect, but I can’t think of any reason why I’m not perfect.” Very approachable, hm? Then it’s insulting to assume that others are too stupid to pick up on what you’re actually saying, even though that’s probably not how it was intended at all. It’s sounds so ludicrous in fact, that anyone who is making the effort to listen to you will wonder if you seriously believe what you’re saying, or if you just think they are so dumb they won’t realize the direct conflict in your words. How would a person know what you’re meaning when you refuse to acknowledge to yourself how you sound? They have a 50% change of attributing the wrong motivations to you, and it most likely won’t be a pretty picture. It is really in everyone’s best interest to acknowledge our vulnerabilities, even if we don’t do anything about them but realize they are present. This is why I blog, because then I’m not interrupting people, lol. 😉