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April 11, 2006


I prize something that I call vulnerability. I suspect that not everyone is thinking about the same thing as me when they use the word vulnerable. For me vulnerability is not self-deprecation, it's not false-humility, and it's not crying.

For me, being vulnerable is the same as being my authentic self. I'm the most vulnerable when I'm being as real and authentic as I can be. Why do I call this vulnerable? The reason is that to do this I have to remove all my masks of protection; all the false fronts that I use to hide behind. I step out in front of you as me, as truthfully as I can do. And it's a vulnerable position because if you reject me, you are rejecting not some false mask or lie, you are rejecting me, the real me, my truth.

So it takes great courage to be vulnerable like this. It takes courage to take the risk of my true self being rejected. I learned earlier on in my life to hide my true self, to protect it behind layers of false identities. I did this because I had to learn to survive.

The people around me would see my true self and in its reflection they would see their own faults, their own masks. In the eyes of a sweet innocent child, they would see badness, judgment, hatred, and many other things; and then they would attack me. I had to be something other than my self in order to survive.

Sometimes my true self is sad, sometimes happy, sometimes filled with love; at other times it grieves and cries. Sometimes it is confused or lonely; sometimes angry. But most of the time it seems to be calm and happy and it's also often excited and enthusiastic. It is what it is; as true as it is now.

As my true self increasingly shines through, I am finding that rather than reject me, others love me more. I am able to see the love in others. Where I used to be self-judging and self-critical, I now see my thoughts, words, and actions as cute. I'm able to see how cute everyone else is too. When I see others being vulnerable, I am attracted to them; I feel safe with them. When I see others hiding behind masks, I don't feel safe with them; sometimes I feel frightened.

And now, as an adult, I can also choose to place myself in situations where I can be my authentic self in safety. I can choose to opt out of situations in which others see their own faults in me. I can create a safe and loving space in which my true self can express itself and in which I can continue to explore and discover my truth.

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