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He who conceals his disease cannot expect to be cured.

— Ethiopian Proverb

Vulnerability. It’s a hairy, thirteen-legged, monstrous beast that bites through bone, eats eyeballs and twisted intestines, and is most happy playing hacky sack with the heart.

A bit too dramatic or disgusting for you?

Vulnerability. It’s a scary thing!

No matter how deep or desperate our desire is to be known, we’ve learned from life that very scary things are bad and to be avoided at all costs. Self-preservation and protection takes priority.

But what if we’re wrong? What if our sensitivities are skewed?

Recently I’ve been reflecting on relationships and some specific circumstances in which I’ve seen relationships thrive or die. And I’ve come away with some (mostly personal) insights.

Do you ever find it easier to advocate on the behalf of others, to negotiate for needs that are not your own? I do. In fact, I feel quite competent in this capacity. But then, when it comes to advocating on my own behalf, all my strengths and sensibilities seem to slip away. It’s a very scary thing to ask for something good for myself, for something I need or want. Why?

Well, for me, expressing a need or desire is a vulnerable thing. It gives power to the other person. The power to reject the request, to disappoint, to deny. The power to control. The power to manipulate. The power to abuse or misuse. Knowing what a person needs, wants, or desires is knowing how and where to hurt them, to cause pain.

I’ve held this view of vulnerability for decades. Only recently did I come to realize the incomplete picture it portrays. Here’s the rest of it…

Expressing a need or a desire gives power to another person. It gives them the power to provide, to grant the request, to satisfy, to comply. The power to serve. The power to guide, shape and nurture. The power to please. The power to equip. Knowing what a person needs, wants, or desires is knowing how and where to help and to heal.

Vulnerability. What if the Very Scary Thing is actually a Great Good Thing? It’s a notion I’m just beginning to embrace.

How about you?

Any other insight to offer? Or experience to share?

Comments are welcome.

© 2013 Kelly Dycavinu, Popcorn with a Spoon. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided there is a link to the original content and credit is given as follows: © 2013 Kelly Dycavinu, Popcorn with a Spoon https://kellydycavinu.wordpress.com/