Through a Jungian Lens

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Vulnerability and Patience as a Path to Peace

with 7 comments

Is one safe in hiding or in taking the courage to be vulnerable to show the truth of who we are as individuals?

Is one safe in hiding or in taking the courage to be vulnerable to show the truth of who we are as individuals?

I have been doing some thinking lately about being vulnerable. Like most people, I used to thing that being vulnerable was mostly about being weak and setting oneself up to be a victim of life. Being vulnerable in the workplace is akin to hanging up a sign in neon lights inviting the workplace bullies, and yes almost every work place has its bullies, to add you to the menagerie of bullied.

The idea of being weak when vulnerable is more about just some aspects of oneself being exposed, usually against our conscious intentions, to others. Without conscious intention, we are caught by surprise, ill prepared to even admit the truth of what is exposed. Now that I am older, retired and somewhat secure in my economic future in an uncertain world, I don’t have the same worries about people finding out stuff about me that would put my livelihood and my family at risk. At my age, it just doesn’t matter anymore. But that said, risking opening up the Pandora’s Box that contains all that uncomfortable and messy stuff that I have consciously and unconsciously denied for so long perhaps is something about which I should be worried. After all, who wants to be shunned and banished from connection to others?

As I continue with my latest writings, I am finding the will to not withhold. Withholding in order to protect myself or someone else seems to have created an inner tempest that gets in the way of my achieving some peace. It wasn’t long ago that I believed that it was important to keep the peace, and if that meant not speaking about something, or casting what needed to be said in a manner that would not cause unnecessary hurt for others. This avoidance of exposing ghosts and setting them free only allowed those phantoms of the mind and memory to dominate the inner spaces of self, ensuring that inner peace would never become a reality.

vulnerabilityAnd so, now, I find myself too tired to play this game. I haven’t done anyone any justice in keeping a smile on my face and keeping the peace for as many others as I felt I needed to protect. It took me a long time to realise that each of these others were self-responsible beings, not dependents who were too weak and fragile to face life without my micro-managing (or trying to micro-manage) the work to keep harmony from causing any of these others any unnecessary discomfort. Every time I would see a tear, or hear sadness, I rushed to the rescue in an attempt to fix it all. I’m not god and I can’t fix it. I haven’t even had the skill to fix myself. So much for containing the shadows anymore.

Now, it’s time for me to stop hiding, stop disguising, stop trying so hard to please by twisting my psyche like a pretzel into shapes that would please others. It is time to risk truly being vulnerable and being patient, about accepting without judgement the fact of who I am and how I am in this world. Now, it is time to open up like a lotus flower opening up as it rises from the muck and dank waters of life to show a piece of perfection.

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Written by Robert G. Longpré

February 20, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Posted in Jungian Psychology

7 Responses

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  1. Hello once again Robert, I too as I grow older find that all the secrets and buried truths within that are being locked behind the bricked wall of my heart are serving me no purpose and to let it all out and free myself from these burdens has and is an awakening within. For years I always felt that my stories and experiences if exposed would harm and injure others, well what of the pain and suffering that we feel by holding these truths inside. What about the harm we are doing to ourselves? Do others stop to think about what we are feeling within? For the most part I would say no. Thanks for sharing your thoughts once again, you are an inspiration for all to do the same. In Friendship Yvonne

    Yvonne

    February 20, 2014 at 1:14 pm

  2. It took me a long time to realise that each of these others were self-responsible beings, not dependents who were too weak and fragile to face life without my micro-managing (or trying to micro-manage) the work to keep harmony from causing any of these others any unnecessary discomfort.

    Robert! I understand this deeply. It’s a process of unraveling that people-pleaser mode, protector of all, and self-sacrificer. It’s rather freeing when you step back and take back your own personal power. Sure, there’s some vulnerability, but there’s quite a bit of freedom there too. I like discovering who I believe myself to be, then going deeper, peeling back those beliefs, to have a deeper view.

    I’ve also found that some people actually appreciate that, getting to know the ‘real’ you, your wants/desires, etc.

    Paul

    February 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm

  3. “No man remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.”
    — Thomas Mann

    Make the journey fun!

    Bill Rathborne

    February 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

  4. Thank you for sharing this. The words you wrote resonate so deeply at this time for me as I find myself struggling with the same issues you describe. The fear of being vulnerable is so deeply settled that even recognizing what the fear is helps. And indeed, I came to the same conclusion that we are not helping anyone by keeping silent but only disrespecting, in some manner, the others’ capacity to grow as well.

    Be Well

    Kelly

    March 3, 2014 at 11:23 am

    • Hi Kelly – always nice to hear from a fellow Canadian from time to time. Welcome to my blog site. It is good to hear that there is some resonance in what I offer here.

      rgl

      March 3, 2014 at 12:08 pm

  5. When we are hiding our vulnerability we “protect” others from their own vulnerability… because if they can believe they are strong, we are strong too, aren’t we…?

    Denise

    March 3, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    • I am not so sure that we do anyone any good be concealing our vulnerability. Doing hard things while vulnerable teaches us all something very powerful about ourselves. Thank you Denise. ?

      rgl

      March 4, 2014 at 7:49 am


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