Conversations on Being Vulnerable



“I’m trying to get tougher. I NEED to get tougher.”


“Why?” he asked, opening his eyes and looking at me with genuine curiosity.


“Well,” I stammered, “because I’m too horribly sensitive. I overthink and overreact and get hurt so very easily.”


He nodded.


I took that as confirmation, “So I need to get over it. I need to just stop caring so darn much about what everything means and how everyone feels and why careless remarks just sting so very much.”


“Mmmm…” he said.


Mmmm? What did “mmmm” mean?


He leaned forward.


“Maybe you need to stop seeing your vulnerability as being the same as weakness. Maybe you need to realize that, as hard as it is sometimes, your very real vulnerability is who you are, authentically. And, while it means that you might get hurt easily and might spend a lot of time analyzing things, it also gives you this amazing empathy and capacity to love…


Maybe your vulnerability isn’t a sign that you’re broken, but a sign that you were perfectly designed.


Just keep loving your neighbor. Love your neighbor, as yourself, Jessica. As your uniquely, perfectly vulnerable self.”



. . .




What if he’s right? What if I’m not actually flawed and broken and a hot mess because I’m sensitive? What if I’m just wired this way and — gasp! — that’s okay?


The thought is both freeing and terrifying.


What a blessing to not feel like I have to change myself. What a burden to carry these intense, emotional responses around all the time.


But I’m working on it. And I’m thinking about it. And I’m being very, very challenged by the idea that maybe I don’t have to get tougher… maybe I just need to find a way to make my vulnerability a gift and not a curse.



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5 comments to Conversations on Being Vulnerable

  • When I read The Highly Sensitive Child in respects to Libbie, I found that GEE WHIZ I am highly sensitive. It explains a lot for me, down to some quirks I thought were really strange (very sensitive to smells, being perfectionist only when I feel I excel, get physically ill in stressful seasons). Feeling deeply can mean that you are open to be deeply hurt. But not being yourself can be even more hurtful.

    • Amen. That is so, so true. I think that’s what I’m going to have to come to terms with– being sensitive and, in turn, vulnerable is part of who I am. I can’t be true to myself and ignore that. (I still need to read that book, I think…)

  • Laraba

    I am the same way, I think. I get very hurt if I’m attacked. I don’t like it about myself. I think it does help me be more empathetic, so that is good. I feel like I’m a coward sometimes, though. I posted something on a blog last month and mentioned I was pregnant with our 9th, and was attacked by a couple of people for “overpopulating the planet”. I responded graciously with our reasoning but haven’t been able to back to that blog because it bothered me. I’m always worse when I’m pregnant too — more sensitive, I mean. One thing I remember is God really did make me this way so there must be a purpose. There has to be a happy medium between being empathetic and getting totally wrapped around the axle about random people’s comments…though.

  • Kelley

    This is me to a tee. Honest to goodness.
    I make myself exhausted by thinking about others reactions and my huge over reactions to things that I tell myself ALL.THE.TIME that I need to toughen up and “stop caring”. I am soooo over getting hurt!!!!!

    This is a very interesting perspective you put forth. Challenging for sure. I would love to see more posts on this topic!!

  • Katie

    I have thought about this post quite a bit over that last week. In some ways I feel like there is pressure to change things about ourselves but I like how you made the point that maybe we are like that for a reason and it is actually a good thing. Thanks for posting something that has been so interesting to contemplate :)

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