Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding under-current of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature; the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability we refuse to ask for the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.
To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances, is a lovely illusory privilege and perhaps the prime, beautifully constructed conceit of being human and most especially of being youthfully human, but it is a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers; powers eventually and most emphatically given up, as we approach our last breath.
The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.
VULNERABILITY’ From Consolations The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words
by David Whyte
Below I’m cutting and pasting a collection on empathy, compassion and vulnerability.
Below is a collection of links that deal with these qualities in many different ways. This collection will be part of the navigation menu up at the top of the page under Healing Arts and will be updated as is appropriate.
The collection of posts:
● Empathy — non-violent communication
● Psychiatrist who heals with love and empathy–not meds — discusses the power of love and consideration towards those with psychosis
● We numb vulnerability — “We numb vulnerability…we are the most in debt, obese, addicted and medicated adult cohort in US history.”
● Shame: a painful emotion caused by a strong sense of guilt, embarrassment, unworthiness, or disgrace — shame can keep us from experiencing the openess of vulnerability
● The Science of Compassion — the idea that self-compassion trumps self-esteem is an excellent point that needs to be considered. Here she goes into depth about this idea.
● The Empathic Civilisation: the human family — We have to start thinking like an extended family! (the human family)