The Hidden Fear of Vulnerability
Shame is not something that is comfortable to discuss or inquire into. It is the hidden undercurrent or feeling something is wrong with your life, but you can't quite put a finger on what that something might be. Often this lives in the idea that you are worthless, unlovable, or horribly flawed in some way. This feeling of worthlessness is rooted in the terror you experienced when you were born into the world as a limited vulnerable naked human being. From the perspective of the baby the birth process does feel like something has gone horribly wrong, which evolves over time into a feeling there is something wrong with you. We often pretend everything is fine when deep down, if you muster the courage to tell the truth, there is the deep gnawing feeling this simply isn’t true.
This feeling of worthlessness is the essence of your secret shame or a deep sense of self-hatred. Shame is the root of your false persona—the facade you create to hide this sense of worthlessness. This attempt to camouflage the feeling of worthlessness lives in the powerful genetic movement of your mind to avoid the pain of vulnerability. This generates an intense aversion to or even a fear of vulnerability. The avoidance of vulnerability leads to secrecy, judgment, and striving for perfection—the three things that only serve to intensify the deep feeling of self-hatred—a powerful and vicious cycle of suffering.
The intense fear of vulnerability often leads to numbing this feeling with food, drugs, sex, things, or the pursuit of pleasure—the endless strategies of your mind to avoid the pain associated with the deep sense or feeling you are worthless and unlovable. But this attempt to numb the pain of self-hatred also numbs your joy and happiness, which only serves to intensify the feeling of worthlessness. This leads to the idea that happiness comes from the people, places, and things in your life—the hope that you will find some sense of safety, well being, and lovability if you can simply find the one thing you long for the most—love.
Vulnerability is generally synonymous with weakness. If you are vulnerable you will die is the limited perspective of your egoic identification with your body that is deeply rooted in the reptilian nature of your brain—the primitive genetic impulse to survive. This primitive aspect of your mind leads to secrecy, judgment, pretending, and striving for perfection to avoid being vulnerable, which only serves to intensify this vicious cycle of suffering rooted in a deep feeling of worthlessness or self-hatred. This avoidance lives in in the deep feeling you are simply not worthy of love.
The truth is vulnerability is not weakness—it is the courage to be totally authentically be yourself and tell the truth. If you are authentically you with all your perceived, warts, wrinkles, and flaws and stop hiding behind a false persona you will immediately begin to feel a deep sense of love, happiness, and well being. If you dive into the belly of the beast—the deep fear of vulnerability—you can directly, intimately, see for yourself that all of your imagined flaws are actually a gateway to your greatest strength; the most sublime beauty of total vulnerable authenticity.
The impulse to protect yourself with a false persona lives in the deep fear of being seen, being wrong, being vulnerable, and not in control. This attempt to hide the feeling of worthlessness, and the shame often hidden underneath, drives all of your attempts to control every aspect of your life. This egoic impulse to hide behind a false persona also leads to rage, fear, and the fight to be right, which naturally leads to the secrecy, judgment, and striving for perfection that keeps this cycle of suffering in place. The fear of vulnerability simply gets worse and worse the more you hide, judge, and fight to control everything in your life. This leads to the tremendous pain of pretending everything is okay when you really feel something is simply horribly wrong.
This false persona drives all of your strategies to hold it all together in a vain attempt to maintain the feeling that you are in control. The tendency to try control everything works for a while until you reach the breaking point and the false persona begins to unravel, which exposes the one thing you fear the most—vulnerability. To break this cycle of suffering you must see through the false persona you created to protect yourself from the shame of self-hatred and the intense fear that this dark secret might be exposed leaving you out of control and vulnerable. The antidote to this insidious form of suffering lives in fully embracing vulnerability and loving yourself exactly as you are without attempting to fix or change anything about you.
It takes courage to let the false persona fall down, embrace vulnerability, and simply be authentically real. It is the willingness to authentically be yourself that pulls out the deep root of shame and self-hatred, which is simply a mirage generated by your own mind. Seeing through this mirage lives in the willingness to let go of everything you think you should be to the freedom of simply being yourself. It is this raw vulnerability that leads to the discovery of the indescribable happiness deep inside your heart—the living and eternal presence of the vast love and happiness that you are.
The courage to be totally vulnerable, the courage to let go of trying to control your life, the courage to look in the mirror and unflinchingly face your hidden secret of shame and worthlessness; this is the courage necessary to simply be open, honest, and free—the direct, intimate, discovery of your eternal beauty—LOVE.
Authentic vulnerability is simply the courage to let go of the lie of you to discover the living truth of you.