“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.”
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.