Invulnerability: the price of being untouchable
Article by Daniel Turner
Apologising for being unfair, asking for help when you know you cannot deal with it alone, or admitting to something stupid that you have done, dealing with your feelings and behave according to them, is what it takes to be vulnerable. Yet, many people choose to stay hidden from their emotions and trying to hush them.
Why is it that some people build a stronghold around themselves and try to avoid every possible emotional risk? What is the price of laying those bricks one by one to maintain that fort? Find out what you give up in order to remain untouchable and what you can receive when you build bridges instead of walls.
People are not born with the defence mechanism of invulnerability. We learn it. We learn it as growing up as a child when we go out and play with other kids and they make fun of us because we fell into the sand or because we were fat or clumsy. We learn it when we go to our parents in excitement showing them our first painting and they show no real interest. We learn it when we fall in love for the first time but when we open up to that person we get a harsh ‘no’.
These negative feedbacks gather in the pocket of our life journey and we learn that it is better to act as others want, hiding our true feelings. The perspective of the self shifts from the things you wish for and want, to the things others want you to be. In the meantime, you start to strongly believe: it is better not to gamble with your feelings and you choose not to take a risk.
Laying your first bricks of your stronghold are induced by the thought: ‘I am not good enough just by being me’. And of course, it includes many things - your feelings, your actions and your desires.
When people defend themselves, in general they are trying to avoid getting hurt. However, they also tend to forget that for experiencing things like love and connection and with it joy, they need to risk the possibility of getting exposed and hurt. By distancing the shame and fear of being hurt, other positive effects are getting further and further away as well.
Being invulnerable means that you are untouchable and while people cannot hurt you, they cannot love you either. You are acting as you want to be seen and not as you truly are and the price for doing this is high. While emotionally isolated people chase the feeling of control of themselves to seem powerful and independent, in reality they are not favoured by others.
It is called the ‘beautiful chaos paradox’ that we tend to recognise and appreciate the vulnerability in others but we despise it in ourselves. In a research, with hundreds of participants, people were asked to rate their and other’s vulnerability in certain situations, for example, admitting making a mistake or showing romantic feelings. It was a consistent result that while other’s weaknesses were hardly recognised, their own ones were harshly criticised. Despite the feeling of weakness, we are perceived by others to be brave and self-true when we dare to be vulnerable.
It is important to realise that everybody has hurtful experiences and hard times in life. The difference lies in our reactions and choices as we grab onto tools that might protect us. However, the good news is, that everything we learn, we can unlearn. So if you feel like letting go of your old tools and search for tools that will help you connect, you need to accept that you are imperfect, too.
Vulnerability comes with many favours. It connects you to other people, it helps you to recognise your mistakes and thus developing yourself. It helps you be emotionally involved and to be present in the moment. It is the very thing that helps others see that you are human as well. Although it comes with effort, responsibility and sometimes disappointment, it makes you feel alive.
True self-esteem lies within those who are brave enough to acknowledge in themselves both the things they like and dislike about themselves.
During our Tantra Teacher Training Course, we will study vulnerabily as the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. You will learn how to use its power to reach pure joy and bliss. Enroll now.