When Vulnerability Becomes Toxic

“Speaking vulnerably” has been a useful practice because it is a way of becoming honest with ourselves. Getting really real.
It is not common that individuals are able to speak vulnerably to themselves – people usually depend on a reflection to be able to go deeper.
However, when overused, too much of any medicine becomes poison.
It is often missed by well-meaning practitioners that “being vulnerable” is our way of addressing and dealing with our vulnerabilities – not staying vulnerable indefinitely.
Attempting to have every conversation become a vulnerable one is self-sabotage.
There is of course a natural gentleness emanating from an integrated person, but idealizing vulnerable sharing is not taking into account how the world actually works. Trying to make it that is going to leave us severely disappointed.
Speaking vulnerably gives us a chance to trust others, to potentially repair relational conditioning and expectations, but deeper than this it will ideally reveal where we are convinced that we NEED others to be vulnerable.
We collectively have a block around non-vulnerable relationships.
Why? Because we are addicted to feeling good. We are addicted to being in control. We are addicted to the transparency and behaviors of others. This is what the human illusion and mainstream spirituality perpetuates.
All strategies to attain comfort.
What if it simply did not matter how others felt, and acted? And one step further, what if it did not matter how WE felt and acted?
I can already hear red flag alarm bells going off when I say that. But caring how I feel is self-love!
Is it? Then, what would it be called to be so powerful that how we feel is irrelevant? Of course, if I need to cry I’ll cry. It just doesn’t need to have a deeper personal meaning.
Feeling is not what it appears to be. It is a step upon the path toward Seeing. Feeling is deeply Seeing, but because people have a tendency to take their feelings personally they don’t allow the Sight which it is actually meant to be.
Many years ago before I explored the sorceric path myself, I experienced a sorcerer’s vulnerability with me. This person told me all of the naughty fantasies they had about me.
But interestingly, as they spoke I noticed they did not look over at me for my approval or my reaction. It was all about their experience of coming clean. And then they were right with themselves, and that was that – it was over in about 90 seconds. And it had absolutely nothing to do with me.
That’s how vulnerability is meant to be utilized. Process what needs to be processed, come back to full awareness, and then it’s over.
When vulnerability becomes a lifestyle, this is just silly. Especially as men, it causes us to become obsessed with “doing it right” and then ultimately we become feminized in our way of being. That is not what we need. We need to be solid. If we’re not using vulnerability to become more solid, we are misusing the tool and taking it on as an identity.
Trading a “fear of vulnerability” identity for “vulnerability is the right way” identity is just a new box to place ourselves inside of.
Same with a habitual interpretation of empathy and compassion. If it is understood as a correct behavior, it is just another way of memorizing the “right” behavioral pattern. It is still not freedom.
True authentic compassion is a not-doing. It is not something that needs to be on our agenda. True authentic vulnerability is not something we need to try to accomplish. It arises out of our knowing.
“Forced” vulnerability can certainly be a healthy stepping stone, as long as we see it for what it really is: A challenge to overcome so that we can get out of our own way so that power may embody our form.
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Joshua Edjida
Lead Storyweaver
Joshua Edjida is a multidimensional artist, experience designer, author, public speaker/comedian, and transformational leadership facilitator. Originally from California, he currently lives in Colorado, and also enjoys traveling in Thailand, Bali, or in Europe.

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