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Are You Vulnerable?

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Wikipedia defines vulnerability this way:  Vulnerability refers to the inability to withstand the effects of a hostile environment. 

A more spiritual understanding of vulnerability is provided in the Bible in 1 Peter 5:14… Greet one another with a kiss of love. And in Ephesians 4:25… Therefore, each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 

The other day I watched a popular life class about vulnerability. In essence, the guest, Brene Brown, defined vulnerability as “an act of courage”.

 

I know feeling vulnerable has never made me feel courageous. If anything, I imagine it feeling like you’re a lamb walking into a lion’s den. When looking back, I’ve had several family experiences over the last few years that have made me feel extremely vulnerable. Something in me realized in order for me to truly forgive and forget I needed to embrace the feeling of being vulnerable. Being vulnerable can open up the door for rejection. It’s a scary place because who wants to be rejected.  

In one situation I was rejected, just flat out, rejected. It was painful. In the other, I think, I’m not sure yet, but I think I was embraced. Only time will really tell if my attempt to move forward was embraced. Time will also tell the direction of those relationships. 

I apologized in both situations, not because I was wrong or right, but because someone has to start the dialogue and it has to begin with an apology. Someone had to move the dialogue in a positive direction in order to have the opportunity for everyone to grow and move onward. Taking the high road, if you will, has helped me bring closure to situations and even relationships that weren’t to be. I’m interested in forgiveness and healing taking place, not the lingering of hard feelings and heartache.  

Taking the high road in situations of conflict and discord is not easy, however, I feel like I’ve done it my whole life with my family. Maybe, it’s because I’m the oldest sibling; maybe because I was always seeking understanding. I’m not sure.  Sometimes taking the high road required me to step away from family to execute life decisions. Most of the times I’ve had to tweak family relationships in order to keep them and sometimes I’ve had to change those relationships altogether.  

In any case, taking the high road always requires prayer. In those prayers I ask for understanding, a more caring heart, the kind of love necessary to still love and the discipline to carry out the changes.

Being vulnerable has also helped me to be a better forgiver. I’m reading this book by R.T. Kendall called Total Forgiveness; timely, right?  I’ve been reading a little bit of it a few times a week for the last couple of months. Kendall talks about apologizing even when it’s not your fault - again being open to being vulnerable. It helps the wrong-doers save face and helps speed up the healing process for everyone. He says it’s necessary for the one who has been done wrong to help the wrong-doer save face, because they will never admit to you that they were wrong. So, why put yourself through the agony of trying to get them to say they were wrong? Why not just use that energy for healing yourself and them. 

WOW!! That’s really taking the high road and playing the high stakes vulnerability game!

I think be able to forgive and being vulnerable exhibit character strengths. Yes, it’s quite a workout, but not keeping tabs on how many times you’ve said your sorry first and how many times the wrong-doer refused to admit being wrong simply are opportunities for you to become stronger and wiser. It also gives you power and freedom - the power to change how you interact with those persons in the future and the freedom to embrace love and understanding.

Until next time, keep living in faith.

 

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Faithe Colas is an expert in public and community relations. She is a partner in Von Communications, a public relations firm and is co-publisher and marketing director of Brain Brawn & Body. You can contact Faithe at faithe.colas@brainbrawnbody.com.

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Guest Tuesday, 28 March 2017