Yesterday, I admit to my dear friend that I'm not good at being vulnerable. I'm better at listening and giving advice and pretending I have it all together. I'm better at being cheery and funny than admitting when I'm not feeling well. Maybe, deep down, I think that folks won't love me as much if I admit my struggles and my weaknesses.

I spent five years studying the emotion of shame. One would think I could see through my tactics! We hide away and protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. We preempt the mere possibility of feeling inferior, exposed, or judged by tucking ourselves away in protective spaces of various forms. But my research regarding shame proves this: when we make ourselves vulnerable, we create pathways for intimacy. Our capacity for intimacy directly correlates to how vulnerable we are.

My cats perform dramatic displays of vulnerability. When they roll flat on their backs and expose their tummies, they welcome affection. Dogs enact even more impressive acts. With incredible submission, a dog will lay down, roll over, and endanger himself by revealing an unprotected belly and throat.

In the animal world, showing the belly and offering submissive gestures signals love and trust. What submissive gestures might I enact to signal to my friends that same love and trust? A willingness to expose my underbelly--those weak and unpleasant things about me--might seem dangerous and shameful. But these impressive acts of vulnerability are what make friendship happen.

Who wants a friend who can't be vulnerable? Who wants a life shackled by the fear of shame? Roll over, show your belly, and just see what love you find.

More flair at www.livewithflair.blogspot.com

Views: 13

Tags: friendship, love, shame, trust, vulnerability

Comment

You need to be a member of She Writes to add comments!

Join She Writes

Latest Activity

Renate Stendhal commented on the blog post 'From the First Self-Publishing Summit to a First Self-Published Book, Part 2'
"Hi Patricia, yes, so true - it was great to get inspired this way and that it worked out! This kind of teamwork really is the best part of the self-pub experience. As for the virtual book party, that was tongue-in-cheek, but I wonder, too: can it be…"
1 hour ago
Profile IconTotsymae and Glo Gray joined a group
Thumbnail

CHARACTERS

No matter what genre your fiction falls into, we all have one thing in common, we have to populate our work with people.  This group is for discussing those characters who add life to our novels.
4 hours ago
Cindy Zelman replied to the discussion 'At Six Months, She Stops Brushing Her Teeth. What Now?' in the group Funny Women
"This essay is now included in a collection available from Winged City Chapbook Press. What's in a Butch's Purse and Other Humorous Essays. Yes, that's my book. please order if you are interested. www.wingcitychapbooks.com "
4 hours ago
Kathleen Kaska liked Kelly Hayes-Raitt's profile
4 hours ago

Members

Badge

Loading…

© 2014   Created by Kamy Wicoff.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service