Lay Down Your Arms
Had a great conversation this morning about vulnerability. And one of the things that came up was the cycle that people are caught in… One person attempts to protect themselves by closing up or turning away, thus inadvertently hurting someone else who doesn’t understand and takes it personally. Then that person closes up, and a chain reaction begins. We talked about how this is reflected so clearly in the Middle East, where people are caught in a seemingly endless cycle of violence and vengeance. Nobody wants to be the first one to lay down his arms, out of fear of being annihilated. And yet someone has to do it first; it’s the only way out of the cycle.
It’s easy to see the hopeless waste and madness of this behavior in masses of people on the other side of the world, but the point is to see it in ourselves. How defended we are; how warlike when we feel threatened. More bluntly, we need to see the ways in which we are the enemy, not others. We need to see how our desire to protect ourselves actually does damage to others. This doesn’t mean being a doormat, or open to being attacked. Clearly we need appropriate boundaries. But we don’t need to build a wall around ourselves, because what looks like a fortress can actually be a prison. A confident, self-actualized person doesn’t live in a fortress… she walks openly among other people, and if she’s threatened, she deals effectively with the threat and then moves on.
Vulnerability is essentially being willing to show other people who we really are and how we really feel. To be real. This is not weakness. It’s the ultimate strength, in fact.