Now and then, an admonishment is ushered to ‘show one’s vulnerable side.’ Thereby never to show oneself as ‘the tough guy’ (or girl).
OK, there is something in this. But I don’t quite agree.
I think that one should never readily show oneself as vulnerable. There is no point in showing oneself as vulnerable, nor in BEING vulnerable.
Am I being ‘Mr. Tough Guy’ now? Well, maybe. Being vulnerable or ‘weak’ is not my dream situation. For a starters, it attracts negative reactions of all sorts.
Being sensitive is not the same as being vulnerable
Although they go together on many occasions, one can be sensitive without being vulnerable and one can be vulnerable without being sensitive. The ability to be sensitive without being vulnerable, is to me a ‘higher level of inner strength’, thus even a higher level of sensitivity. It’s easier to be an impervious stone. A stone is not ‘strong’ but hard. A stone is not sensitive.
Where does vulnerability start? Not at feeling pain, but at reacting in defense to that feeling. Not at feeling distressed, but at avoiding the distress towards a comfortable zone. Not at fear, but at running away just to avoid that fear at any cost.
Vulnerability is not in the feeling, but in the running away from feeling.
Instead of ‘heightening your tolerance for vulnerability,’ to me it seems more appropriate to lower your vulnerability. It is precisely through this that you can keep or even heighten your sensitivity.
The same distinction also exists between a ‘highly sensitive person’ and a ‘highly vulnerable person.’ One is not necessarily the other. The distinction is generally not accurately made. Thus, a highly sensitive person should be supported towards less vulnerability. Principally, he may then stay at the same level of sensitivity. Hopefully, he does.
Is the end goal to be less sensitive? Or less vulnerable?
“Real men don’t cry…” Hm. According to me, there’s something in this that’s right and something that’s wrong. It may be clear what, by now. So if you are a man (or woman), please cry, but don’t let your crying enforce your actions in any negative way. Don’t let your tears make you back away. On the contrary, let them make you stronger in your resolve to right some wrong. Be a real man…
… or woman, because the same is relevant of course for both sexes.
Real men and women can cry and be brave.
I know of no scientific research into this, but it may even be a qualitatively different kind of crying. ‘Brave crying’ may heighten certain hormones for instance, that are lowered by ‘vulnerable crying.’
According to me, a better world ensues from keeping one’s sensitivity while lowering one’s vulnerability. This may be more difficult than just numbing both, but the end result is more durable and in accordance to oneself as a whole. Accordingly, it’s also more ethically correct. It’s a basis for a more integrated person, a better society and even a better humanity.
The world needs sensitivity without vulnerability
At a broad level for instance, people frequently seek revenge out of feeling vulnerable – calling this ‘justice.’ They even wage wars out of feeling vulnerable – calling this ‘self-defense,’ preemptive or not. Sensitivity – even as ability to listen more closely to oneself and each other – may diminish the need for such.
Sensitivity makes stronger.
Being more sensitive, you can be moved by all sorts of things and situations. You continuously adjust towards being able to handle all this. Thus, like a sword that is being battered by a blacksmith, the end result gets stronger. A sword that is not battered, may look the same but breaks more easily. Therefore the bearer may – correctly – avoid direct confrontations out of fear… until it’s too late.
It’s OK to let yourself be battered a bit now and then. You yourself are the judge in this.
Nothing wrong with sensitivity, even while being battered.
Therefore, avoid vulnerability.