Many of us are culturally conditioned to think of vulnerability as a weakness. We’re afraid to open up to other people and confide in them lest they use that information against us. We’re afraid to divulge personal details about ourselves because we fear being judged, rejected or embarrassed. We close ourselves off to other people, and keep our most important thoughts and feelings to ourselves. We see being vulnerable as a sign of failure, inadequacy or inferiority compared to other people. What happens when we aren’t able to embrace our vulnerability?
When it comes to living with addiction and mental health issues, it is a source of strength to be able to open ourselves to other people, to ask for help and let ourselves to be supported. Our recovery depends on the unconditional support we receive, and we’re only able to accept the support when we allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Very often we’ll harden ourselves and create a facade of invincibility. What is really at play here is our fear. We don’t want our perceived imperfections to be exposed. We’re afraid they’ll be evidence of our unworthiness. We’re afraid they’ll mean we’re not good enough. We’re afraid of what people might think of us if we let down our guard and let them in, allowing them to see us for who we really are. Accepting our imperfections is brave. Having unconditional self-acceptance is courageous. Taking a leap of faith and believing in ourselves allows us to see that opening up and exposing our vulnerability is actually a sign of strength and courage.
When we don’t open ourselves to support, we miss out on the connections for healing we could have shared and benefited from. Rejecting our vulnerability can cause us to lose valuable opportunities in our recovery. People with whom we could have connected and learned from, and resources we could have taken advantage of, can be lost to us because we’re afraid to be vulnerable and admit we need help. The truth is we need other people. We can’t possibly do everything alone, especially when it comes to addiction recovery. Admitting this doesn’t make us weak, it makes us human. Our fear prevents us from having the necessary humility to accept when we might need support. Refusing to allow ourselves to be vulnerable prevents important connections from taking place, and keeps us back, limiting us and preventing us from making progress.
Bayview Recovery provides the safe and supportive environment you need to focus on your recovery. Call 888-570-7154 for more information.