Vulnerability is Strength

The time of pretense is over. For too long we’ve gone on pretending we’re strong, that we’ll be fine, that we’re impervious. We don’t gain anything from those lies. We only stand to lose. As I said, the time of pretense is over. Where once it was the norm to bottle up our feelings and concerns, showing no weakness, we now must go in the opposite direction. We can’t pretend to be fearless, we can’t posture any more. We must only be fearless in our vulnerability. Our vulnerability and our weaknesses make us human.

I believe our “we got this” façade wore out its welcome long ago. American exceptionalism was the law of the land. How embarrassing to be us. We were raised to believe that being tough, stalwart, and indifferent was the only way to be. But I’m not quite sure that got us where we think it did. It was assumed that to be tough would give the impression that we’re in charge, that we’re on top. And for a while, it did. But now, we, as both a nation and individuals have to reveal at long last that we’re the same weak humans as everyone else. 

It’s a fool who pretends to be affected by nothing. It’s unrealistic and unnecessary. There’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable. There’s nothing wrong with needing assistance. There’s certainly nothing wrong with talking about how you feel. It’s honest, and that’s the direction we must head in and stay the course. 

Lying isn’t a strength. I suppose it may seem like lying is fine with the way things have gone with the current administration, but it isn’t. It is and has always been a fatal flaw. The ability to ignore reality is a flaw, as is the ability to hide who you really are. I rail on about honesty and our true selves a lot, but I do so because I truly believe if we all stopped lying to ourselves and each other, humanity would flourish. We don’t need to keep up appearances for anyone anymore. If a person is having a hard time, they should say so. To do so doesn’t show weakness. It’s actually quite the opposite. To admit vulnerability takes strength and bravery, lying takes cowardice and moral decrepitude. 

I’ve grown so tired of needless displays of strength and fortitude. I’ve grown weary of adherence to antiquated notions of loyalty and strength. America has this horrible history of bro-like behavior: denying struggle, appearing invincible, and prioritizing loyalty. I’ve always found the notion of loyalty exhausting. Demanding loyalty is like demanding compliments – neither are earned. The age of the bro has got to end. What has it gotten us? Only an unrealistic sense of what it means to be a person. Concealing your true self and your emotions isn’t the mark of a strong person, it’s the mark of someone hopelessly misguided into believing that vulnerability is a weakness. 

It isn’t. 

Vulnerability is strength.

Published by Christopher Goodlof

Writer, Visual Artist, Musician

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