Last week I was chosen to be part of collaboration thought of and organized by With Love From P. I, alongside a group of incredible women, was asked about being a woman and being vulnerable. After writing that post, I was inspired. I decided to expand on that topic for this weeks blog post. Hope you all enjoy. What makes us vulnerable makes us strong; it makes us unique, it makes us beautiful.
I fear the feeling of being vulnerable. I loathe it.
When it comes to my feelings, I have always handled everything on my own and never depended on anybody. Not even those the closest to me. I can deal with it alone for months because I am too embarrassed to share that I am vulnerable.
Whether it was a person who used my vulnerability hurt me (we all have that ex, right?) or a stigma in our society that has made me think that I should keep quiet because it would make me a persona non-grata. I was hurt enough times that I equated vulnerability to weakness.
That stopped though when I realized my vulnerability was part of who I am, and I wasn’t going to let anyone’s opinions make me feel ashamed because of it.
The time I have felt the most vulnerable was when I was battling postpartum depression. The day I finally admitted something was wrong I was in deep. It was the scariest thing to admit to my family, but the most freeing once I did.
After months of therapy, medications, and incredible family support I was finally feeling strong enough to speak up about my PPD more publicly. I started with people who I cared about and knew well, or so I thought.
Most people were kind, sympathetic, and understanding. They listened to my story, some had gone through PPD as well and told me their stories, other who hadn’t were more open to learning more about it.
Then there were others who believed the negative stigma that anyone with PPD was a lousy mother, a broken person, and a monster.
There was no sympathy, just judgment with those people. They didn’t want to know what I felt, and it didn’t interest them to learn more about the subject.
I explained to them that I had felt my emotions were not there, and how at my core I wanted to have that perfect postpartum love and happiness, but I couldn’t get there. How I went through all the motions of being a mom without feeling any of the emotions I so desperately wanted to. I even pulled out the statistics of how many people go through this after they have kids and different facts about maternal mental illness.
I told them everything I went through and how thankful I was to be on the other side.
Instantly their expression changed from happiness and smiles to shock and disgust. Then I got questions, “Why you be sad after having a baby? I was never sad after having my kids, it’s incomprehensible? How could you not love being a mother? How selfish of you, some people can’t have babies, and you are sad?”
Once again I was hurt because I was vulnerable with the wrong people.
Hearing all those things from people I cared about made me want to put my wall back up around that time in my life, and never let it come back out.
Then I thought about it and decided…NOPE NOT TODAY! I realized that the support I got from those who were kind, outweighed the judgment of those who weren’t. Yes I was vulnerable, yes some people weren’t pleasant, but it doesn’t make it a bad thing. I could let them hurt me, or I could take their comments and let them go in through one ear and out the other. I decided the latter.
It had finally hit me that it was ok to be vulnerable and those who judged me for it are people I shouldn’t want to be close to anyway.
I finally learned that I could be vulnerable and be strong.
In life, we can’t control other peoples actions, the only thing we can we can only control is our reactions. Sometimes it’s intentional, and sometimes it’s not. Either way, we can’t keep people from using our vulnerability to hurt us, but we can choose to walk away.
We should be comfortable admitting when we are vulnerable. We are human. The more honest we are with ourselves and those around us, the better off we are in the long run.
I know it’s scary to feel someone might use our vulnerabilities to hurt us, but we shouldn’t keep hiding them because we are scared. They are part of what makes us who we are. There are people out there who will listen, and who won’t judge.
Surround yourself with people who have seen you at your most vulnerable and tell you “it’s ok.” Be with the people who appreciate your strength in being able to open up about it. Focus on the support you get from them to help you get through the encounters with the judgmental people.
Always remember that what makes you vulnerable doesn’t define you, but it is part of what makes you the unique and remarkable person you are!