July 7, 2016: Vulnerability

Random picture taken from the Downtown Hilton.
For no particular reason other than 'life is good'
I had a friend once tell me to never trust a person who is afraid to show their vulnerability. The comment resonated with me. I had never thought of this before.

We were brainstorming on how to help another friend who was recently displaced from their work. Both of us wanted to help this mutual friend, helping him get back on his feet. I questioned his alliances. I was leery of their intentions.

My friend stated it best.

"I don't fully trust some of his friends. One I have known for over 20 years, but I really don't don't know him. Through all of his own trials and tribulations, he has never shared or shown his vulnerability. Never trust someone who is afraid to show their vulnerability."

Point made.

I spun over this one in my mind. This friend in question had shown the same stoic face to me as well. When things went bad, he clammed up. All was good. Never to be seen in a negative light.

How unrealistic. Human existence is the replica of imperfection.

Trying to prove otherwise is a falsehood. An impossible existence.

I have often professed to the importance of owning  your own story. That doesn't mean that you have to share your story with everyone. Personally, I choose this level of transparency, but this is not requirement for everyone.

The key is not to try to hide, lie, or conceal what has happened in your past. Not everyone is entitled to know these personal details, but the flip side is that the story that defines you, whether your fault or by some aberration of nature, should not be retold into a fable.

I worked once with someone who obsessed over his past. Not only did he not own his own story, he constantly wanted to rewrite it into something that was a lie. Not what really happened. He was terrified of others finding out about his past.

The ironic part was that most didn't even care. Other than him. He spent years worrying about people Goggling his name. Finding out about his past life. Rather than owning it or telling people it was none of their business, he instead cowered and hid. He lived in lies and falsehoods, created for no reason other than feeding his ego.

A miserable existence.

But he couldn't see it. The fear of being exposed for his failures was paralyzing to him. So paralyzing that it jeopardized the people around him. Those he was afraid to show his vulnerability. He wanted to paint a picture of a life different from the one he lived. He did not own his story. He ran from it.

He spent a colossal amount of time trying to recreate his past rather than living in the present. A huge waste of time over his great fear of vulnerability.

In the end, it was all a house of cards. It's only a matter of time when it will all collapse. An unfortunate end to a journey that could have taken a different road.

Authenticity. Transparency. Integrity. Honesty.

Words we all live by, but unfortunately anomalies in today's society. We are who we associate with, as my parents have continuously told me. And whether we are 16 or 50, this golden rule holds true. Regardless of age, ethicacy and righteousness should never go out of style. With age, we should even more so practice what we preach. No excuses.

Maybe I do err on the side of over-sharing my story and showing my vulnerability. But I'm okay with that. My best friends and role models show me the same. We are the most imperfect group of humans trying our best to improve and learn from our stories, good and bad. If I can share my journey and connect in a way that helps one other person get through theirs in a positive, less painful, manner, I have succeeded.

Vulnerability. Not a bad thing. Painful at times, but a part of real life. Failure is a fact of life. Owning it should not be seen as a disgrace, but an honorable attempt to lead by example and make right in the second chances given to us.


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