As with everything in life, strength is in a limited supply. We each possess only a small amount that must be treasured and reserved until its use is necessary. A life lived with extreme hyper-vigilance is exhausting at best. When one uses shame as a means of control, the victim learns to protect themselves in a way that is not common, what one thinks as being strong was merely a façade of protection. Add to it that the fact that weakness would become ammunition, finding fault became the standard, and sharing fears, concerns or hopes never occurred, living guarded in one’s own “sanctuary” is really not a life. Being vulnerable was not acceptable, an imperfection that could not be tolerated.
For almost two decades, I lived without a support structure, with no soft place to land. I learned to manage things on my own, at times with great opposition. Because of my life, I learned to keep my circle of friend very close, privacy offered me a sense of stability. As a result, my friends are close, are genuine and authentic in deed with our relationship being based on respect and support. We have grown through many laughs and tears. I am not sure they are aware of the fact but I have learned a bit about vulnerability from them although I still have moments where I find the need to default to guarding myself.
Now I am faced with a blessing that extends beyond words. Although I still have fleeting moments of fear when faced with vulnerability I continually find myself growing from those moment. Where respect and honor which fosters courage and strength; I no longer feel the susceptibility I once did. Those moments where I would have once retreated into a place of security have been replaced with a resolute openness that is met with a listening ear and an open heart. Where judgment and shame once built a barrier to my world, now there is compassion, empathy, encouragement and trustworthiness which has created beauty. Where my fears, concerns or even hopes would have once been dismissed, devalued, or even disgraced, there is now a source of support and encouragement which feeds my strength to continue. Words cannot express the depth of my gratitude for such grace.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
― Lao Tzu