Being Vulnerable with Your Wounds
Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat; it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in. ~ Brené Brown
Our pain is transformed the moment we become intimate with it, for our vulnerability lies in befriending the darkest places within us. Whilst the pain may seem foreign, it is because we are at a distance from it and must understand the cause of our primary wounds. You cannot be frightened of something when you are up close to it. For in becoming intimate with our repressed parts, we bring it to the surface and transform it into the wholeness of our true nature.
Consider this idea: when we face our wounds and shadows, we are no longer bound to them and discover the freedom of our true self. We do not set out to find our true self, as much as remember, the true self is confined beneath the rubble of the egoic self. Which is why it minimises our true worth. Here’s the thing: our defences, the very thing we put in place to protect us from trauma or emotional wounds, serve a purpose. They protect us from the pain but also create a barrier to experiencing our true nature.
Therefore, facing our wounds, is choosing to move forward with our healing despite the pain of the past. It’s clear we cannot change the past, but we can change our memories of what happened. We can look for meaning within the context of our suffering to transform our pain. Otherwise, our true nature will remain concealed through our traumas and wounds. It requires ripping off the Bandaid and undertaking the process of healing and integration.
Consider this in your own life. If you experienced pain or trauma, you will keep them alive by creating a narrative around the pain. For example, people talk about becoming a ‘survivor’ after their tragedy or suffering. I’m not suggesting this is wrong, for the mind will do what is necessary to preserve life when suffering occurs. I’m proposing we stop identifying with these labels at some point because they are reinforced beliefs when we speak about them.
So, to become intimate with our true nature requires being vulnerable with our wounds and pain; to the degree that we are ready. For some people, that might involve talking with a trusted friend about their pain. For others, it might be a greater commitment through therapy. We cannot force our healing any more than rushing an infant to walk when it is still crawling. This is why vulnerability is not a weakness; it is a strength. It is our guiding light of salvation for true freedom. In other words, we become intimate with our true nature through self-discovery and venturing into the sea of vulnerability.
You are Not Broken, Wounded or Damaged
Instead of saying “I’m damaged, I’m broken, I have trust issues”, say “I’m healing, I’m rediscovering myself, I’m starting over. ~ Unknown
To take this idea a little further: Vulnerability is the gateway to true healing, when we are no longer chained to our pain and suffering. Yes, vulnerability is frightening because of the uncertainty. It might scare us to venture into the unknown, but if we don’t take the step, we remain trapped in our pain, recycling it into the present moment. We are not transforming our life but re-traumatising ourselves through our memories. Something has to give. We must give way to an aspect of ourselves to transform our suffering.
Are you getting the sense that your pain and suffering is not something to run away from but to move closer to? Could you allow yourself to venture into the darkest places of your unconscious? Yes, it will be terrifying, but liberating not to be chained to a belief or emotion whose time has passed. We cannot live in the present moment and drag along the past like a worn-out childhood blanket. We must put on our grown-up pants and turn towards our pain, so we become intimate with the darkest places within us. This is when healing occurs and the happiness we seek flows from being free of negativity.
To look at it another way: intimacy requires befriending our darkness where we discover our true being. Intimacy is getting to know our disowned parts instead of running away from it. Our task is to peel away the layers of hurt and acknowledge what lies beneath it. That is the key message here: We are not broken, wounded or damaged. We have merely disassociated with our true nature because of our core wounds and built defences to keep us safe. But the defences we build can only protect us so much. When the time has passed, it is not useful to keep holding onto painful memories and we ought to begin the healing process.
Stop Running From Your Pain
What hurts us is what heals us. ~ Paulo Coelho
When I talk about deepening our understanding of our pain, I am referring to no longer being triggered by the memories that led to our wounds. It bears repeating once more: You cannot fear something you are intimate with. By moving closer to our pain, we befriend our wounds because we have listened to the messages they have to convey. We create a compassionate understanding of our emotions and peel away the layers of judgement underlying our wounds. We are no longer judging our feelings, but allowing them to pass through us freely.
For example, in Tara Brach’s latest book titled: Trusting The Gold, she outlines a simple affirmation when we experience a negative emotion or judgement: “This too belongs.” Instead of castigating ourselves or pushing down the emotions of anger, resentment, criticism or judgement, we silently affirm to ourselves: “This too belongs.” In doing so, we allow the emotion to communicate to us because there may be an important message we need to receive. But like many people, we ignore it, anaesthetise it or push it down, hoping it will go away; it never does. It is when we enter therapy and face our pain that we finally confront what we’ve been running away from our whole life.
Knowing this, I invite you to journal what vulnerability and intimacy mean to you. How do you show vulnerability in your relationship with others? How do you become intimate with your negative emotions and beliefs? Do you make time to listen to them and journal what they have to say? After all, when we are ready to face our vulnerability, we become intimate with our core nature, which is vested in love.
To learn more about becoming more comfortable with uncertainty, facing our pain and sufferings, see: How to Overcome Your Challenges