Vulnerability is a state of consciousness that expresses feelings of being exposed. It's a feeling of rawness, of being uncovered, everything seemingly visible.
Being vulnerable has many faces. On the one hand, we could imagine an individual or groups of people in positions of vulnerability which exposes them to being taken advantage of and mistreated. We can look at many examples in the world where this happens. Credit card fraud, for instance, is common in the elderly and senior citizen age group. Scammers specifically target this population who may not be as savvy with newer technologies, ready to give over information that is then used against their benefit.
On the other hand, vulnerability opens up a world of possibility for drawing in all kinds of support, care, and love. I think about this in close relationships where vulnerability says yes to being seen. In intimate relationships, whether with friends or life partners, or other meaningful connections, being vulnerable is the willingness to let the other person in, dropping the defense barriers that may no longer be necessary.
Vulnerability also means the willingness to be seen by the rest of the world. And by "world," I mean the groups of people and communities that we are directly and indirectly connected to and how we participate in them, such as the work we do or volunteer activities, and so forth. In other words, putting yourself out there means taking the leap of faith that, in a sometimes unwelcoming world, you'll be embraced and uplifted. And the only way to know that is to take the leap.
Being vulnerable and open in the world does not mean that other people can walk on you like a used doormat. Bruce Lee put it best when he said, "I am not in this world to live up to your expectations of me." There will always be people who project their thoughts, ideas, fears, insecurities, and more onto you. Knowing this, we can work on becoming "immune" to these energies partly by recognizing that it's a projection and not a real reality. There's also a practice of imagining your personal energy field like a mailbox (physical or email) that sends back unwelcome mail to the sender. Only the good stuff gets in!
I felt compelled to write about the idea of vulnerability as I become an author, a very public and vulnerable endeavor, and how this might benefit anyone grappling with being more visible in the world, no matter how small or big that personal world is. Every human being has a deep, innate desire to be seen for the radiant beauty of their true Self. If we can remember that we are all on a journey to have this experience, we as humanity might move one step closer to creating a reality of harmony and peace.
May all beings everywhere experience peace, joy, and kindness.