Vulnerability is a slippery little fellow. Highly dependent on the environment it exists in. Sometimes it exposes its host to pain, grief and hurt. Other times, it strengthens our sense of self, the resolve of our character and the decisions we make and the experiences we have can be most beneficial when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable.
Often, when vulnerability is most needed, it is the hardest mindset to conjure up. To wear our hearts on ours sleeves when they’re most likely to be broken, to be open and honest about our feelings when they’re most likely to be rejected. It’s no easy feat. Many people struggle to allow themselves to be vulnerable. After being hurt in the past, it can get harder and harder to put yourself out there.
For most of my teenage years, I had the opposite problem, and still do to an extent. I find vulnerability to be quite a natural state of being, being honest with my feelings, whether they be good or bad, uplifting or depressing, rational or ridiculous. Acknowledging the way you feel about a situation or a person, whether you’re happy about feeling that way or not, has for the most part, provided me with a contentedness and inner peace with who I am, that maybe I wouldn’t have had otherwise.
The flip side of being honest with yourself and others about how you feel 100% of the time is that it leaves you, to some extent, at the mercy of others, and your feelings can take on more power and sway than they should.
People can sometimes mistake vulnerability for weakness or passivity. And so you can be taken for granted, lead on, and used. For another thing, it becomes exhausting! The heightened self awareness that comes with an open and honest relationship between you and your feelings can lead to an almost daily assessment and evaluation. “What am I feeling right now?” “Why am I feeling like this?” What does the fact that I’m feeling this way mean about me as a person?” “Am I the only one who feels this way?” “Why am I asking myself so. many. questions.?”.
Often it can be hard to see the point of feeling so much, and exposing oneself so often to the potential for pain, grief, and confusion. When another relationship ends because the other party wasn’t honest with themselves, or with you, it’s easy to wonder why you bother. Especially when it can leave you feeling cheated, having laid everything out on the table yourself. This is when guards go up and walls are built. Not just in romantic relationships but friendships, relationships with family members, colleagues etc.
I must confess that 2017 has indeed been a year of guardedness, and caution so far. And whilst my ability to trust easily may be slightly depleted at the moment, I know that in time the batteries will recharge. And in fact, I have had to, and am still teaching myself to be guarded. To be cautious. To let people show you they deserve your trust before giving it to them blindly, on the assumption that because you wouldn’t abuse it, no one else will.
Being guarded, and careful, thinking with your head instead of your heart is a necessary part of life. And one I find tricky. How can I make rational decisions about experiences that are so full of feeling and emotion, this still doesn’t make much sense to me. Pro and Con lists are all well and good, but how do you reconcile that with a gut instinct, with intuition, with lust, with love. I have come to accept that I am someone who trusts easily. Who listens to her heart or that feeling in the pit of her stomach, far more readily than she’ll listen to reason, logic, and even, sometimes, proof. But as long as I’m aware of the inevitable pitfalls of this personality, as long as I, from time to time, put my brain firmly in the driver’s seat, then this is okay.
Trusting easily means a potential (lets face it a pretty high potential) for hurt.
But trusting easily means I trust my own feelings too. I listen to them.
It also means that I’ll miss out on less experiences and relationships because I won’t have my guard up, I won’t push people or opportunities away.
Wearing my heart on my sleeve means it’s going to get a bit battered and bruised. Maybe more often than others.
But it also means the people I love will never be in doubt of the extent of my love for them. They will never have to question whether or not I really care. It will be plain to see. And the right people won’t take advantage of that. They’ll treasure it.
Being open and honest with how I feel means, from time to time, I might scare people off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not running around declaring my love for every human I mildly get on well with. But I have little ability to play games. So boys, if you like the whole ‘hard to get vibe’ then walk on by because I couldn’t be cool and aloof if I tried. And believe me I have..it does not work. So if that means that some silly people with outdated ideas of how women should come across deem that ‘desperate’ or ‘too nice’ then so be it.
Whilst I’m constantly striving to better myself, to be more informed about the person I am and how I deal with what life throws my way, I have no desire of any kind to apologise or shy away from the traits that make me who I am.
There is no right way to be or right way to feel. I often envy you lot who- like my little brother- seem to be able to handle anything that comes their way with a cool assuredness that never fails to amaze me. I should at times take a note out of the books of all of you who take your time, who wait to give our trust until you know it’ll be kept safe. There are times that I wish I was more this or more that. But hey…
I am Eleanor.
I feel ALOT.
I trust easily.
When I feel. I FEEEEL. There’s no half arsing. Including the bad feelings.
I’m constantly self evaluating and self assessing. It’s like 20 questions on a loop in my head.
But when I’m knocked for six. I come back around all the better for it.
So that’s all okay by me.