What makes you different? This was one of the questions that we asked ourselves during Seed Waikato’s Vulnerability event. Although I believe that each one of us has unique experiences, mindsets, and values, in my case, I have always felt different from the rest. If you remember my first blog “How I Found Purpose in my Playground,” I talked about how difficult it was for me to fit in; therefore, I was a people-pleaser trying to make everyone else happy except myself.
Growing up as a Latin American child, I was supposed to like playing football. I remember that my family encouraged me to pursue that sport by enrolling me in private classes after school. Not only was I not motivated to play football every afternoon, but also I felt useless by not doing something that I was passionate about (not to mention that I really sucked as a football player!) In addition, I was uncomfortable with showing my weaknesses in front of people. However, after finishing the course, I devoted myself to one of my true passions: swimming. Being in the water made me experience the freedom of authenticity. As a result, every time I jumped in the pool I had the time of my life!
What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful! - Brene Brown
Then, as a teenager, many of my friends enjoyed going to parties and drinking alcohol. Even though I didn’t like it, I still accepted the drinks that my friends offered me because it was considered impolite not to drink at social events. Consequently, I felt guilty about doing something that I really didn’t embrace. Nevertheless, now that I have grown up, I realise that my differences make me unique and I don’t have the need to hide them anymore.
Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it. the new goodness that is coming to you, in the form of people, situations, and things can only come to you when you are vulnerable, i.e. open.
- Stephen Russell
Nowadays, If I have to play football, I’m open about saying that I’m not good at it and that I don’t enjoy playing it at all. People also know that I don’t like drinking and I’m glad to say that many of my friends are accepting and don’t force me to drink if I don’t want to. In the past, I have felt vulnerable to people’s criticisms for being odd and different. However, vulnerability should not be hidden since it’s a demonstration of opening up and showing our authentic selves to others. It may be hard sometimes to show our differences and even our weaknesses, but we should all feel happy and pursue the things that matter to us. After all, it is through vulnerability that deep connections are created in relationships, which generate empathy, trust, and understanding among our loved ones.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.
- C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves