We have been exploring the depths of compassion this past year with 1000 voices of compassion speak. We have looked at so many factors. What remains in my mind is that we have to have connection; in order to have compassion. Connection to the people and places and things around us. We spent a month looking at connection and how it interconnects to compassion. This month we are looking at compassion and vulnerability.
Webster dictionary states vulnerability is being capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. Vulnerability is being open to attack or damage. It is not something that when put that way anyone would choose. However, we also know that often the reason we don’t like something is it makes us uncomfortable. We do all we can to remain in our comfort zone. It is a big deal when we feel we are stepping outside of that zone. Really though what does that all stem from? The first thing that comes to my mind is fear. We fear the unknown. Will they still like me when they see who I really am? Will I still like me when I see who I really am? It is at it’s base the fear of being disconnected from everyone and everything around you. Hmm, there is that connection word again. Eventually, we realize that in order to truly connect with people we have to let them see the real us. The raw us, the part of us that we sometimes hide even from ourselves. We have to be vulnerable to have a true connection. Connection, on some level, is what we all strive for. Lizzi talked about it in We ALL need The Village.
When someone says they have compassion, often we don’t think of them as vulnerable. Sometimes we are amazed they can have compassion for that person or situation. Sometimes we admire them. Sometimes we think they are being stupid. If they get hurt at the end of that situation we often think they deserved it. They opened themselves up to it. They were vulnerable.
I think all too often society imparts this fear of being vulnerable. If you are vulnerable you are weak. It is shameful to be vulnerable. We don’t talk about any of the good parts of being vulnerable. We treat it as if it is the worst thing in the world to be. When in reality when we are open and vulnerable to others we often form lasting, important, life-sustaining friendships.
However, I think in order for us to have true genuine compassion we have to be vulnerable. We have to wear our heart on our sleeve so to speak.If we are saying we are compassionate but are not vulnerable we are not being truly authentic. I realize full well this is hard. It is hard to continually put yourself out there and chance being hurt. It does happen. There have been times I have done so and then berated myself for being so freaking stupid. Oh, but there are times that my heart has been on my sleeve and it was worth every second of putting myself out there. The good always outweighs the bad. I am not sugar coating it, sometimes the bad is really, really, evil bad. It is. I know that.
We need to break these walls down we have built. We need to sit with our discomforts and really embrace them. We need to be okay with being open and honest individuals. That is the only way I can see us going forward towards anything worthwhile. We need enough people to tell society that they are wrong. They can not have true compassion without being vulnerable and that being vulnerable is not a bad thing. Letting ourselves be vulnerable and having authentic compassion is what is going to make the village good again. It is what the village needs.
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