Here is a 3 AM editorial about a topic that got under my skin. This topic hits everyone close to home, and I say that with the most dogmatic tone possible, for reason. The purpose of The Thorn will forever be evolving, but I’ll offer long-winded editorials here and there, research topics sprinkled in...no set theme. The theme is being loose, outside any box.
My thought for the day: Everyone has a weakness— what's yours?
Vulnerability— over the past couple of weeks, I've noticed this trait more and more. When I see someone dealing with uncertainty, risk or emotional exposure, I see someone who is very brave. When I am dealing with uncertainty, risk or emotional exposure, I feel weak and want to run away. Vulnerability is about showing up and being visible, but it's hard to do when we're afraid of what people might think or say about us.
Another thing I've observed is that when I avoid or hide from vulnerability, I can lose an opportunity forever. I know that being an entrepreneur is all about vulnerability. They don't resist opportunities that take them out of their comfort zone. They embrace the opportunities because they expect to be the better for it, even if they have to fail and try again.
I know I'm vulnerable. I acknowledge my weaknesses, but I don't necessarily try to fix them--maybe out of fear, maybe out of hope or maybe out of ignorance. People seem intrinsically intoxicated by their own belief systems. We cling to our ideals and are sometimes blinded by attaching our self-worth to what we produce or earn. We fear weakness. We are terrified by vulnerabilities.
In Composition class, we were discussing methods of appealing to the audience. In one assessment, we acknowledged that some writers manipulate the audience through emotional stimulation (i.e. pathos) — mind you, the most effective way to appeal to someone, but the weakest way to argue a point. Pretty basic, for those of you who have studied manipulation and argumentation. With basic tactics, like emotional appeals, we acknowledged that drilling into weaknesses in the human psyche can lead to a more persuasive pose.
But these general points ultimately coincide with vulnerabilities like loneliness, rejection, being the “odd one out”, etc. They can lead to obvious insecurities, masked egos or the refusal to acknowledge weakness. Generalized and convoluted arguments can lead to hypersensitive areas that can become our biggest downfall. We are too blind to move on, too motivated to stay the same, or too ignorant to acknowledge our own flaws. We ultimately conclude that everyone has an ailment of some form.
I found myself acting as confidant to a few friends over the past few weeks. I'm rather blunt about my opinions and try to give candid advice when asked. With that in mind, several of my friends came to me with issues related to the same general theme - fear/being vulnerable. One is a cheater. One is being cheated on. One hoping for change. One is running away from potential happiness. All were struggling with some form of insecurity.
I guess most insecurities lead to mistakes and/or regrets, but damn. I just never sat down and thought to myself that this is a problem. Not only for my own internal conflicts, but also for other people who just mindlessly go about their day making mistakes and living in blissful ignorance. Most of these problems are not created by deliberate acts. The acts take place due to conflicting notions that create a bad situation. We all seem to be engaged in some sort of internal power struggle that ends up affecting people around us and the people we love— this, of course, being a generalization based on my observations.
So what is my long drawn out the point about weakness? There are vulnerabilities all around us. From the soul inside us, the person we sit beside, to countries with power, to countries without. People are struggling to overcome or are succumbing to some part of their own selves.
One good example is from high school. I knew a girl who had exceptional opportunities for success, but never did anything with her life. She decided to become a statistic, rather than excel. She hurt people around her and herself, but we will never hear her admit it. Her fear was of failing.
Another good example is my dearest friend, who is too scared to progress emotionally. He is stagnant; neither happy, nor sad. He just chooses to run from conflicts on the emotional level and chooses to fill up his time with distractions. His fear is of feeling.
I could rattle out hundreds of examples of simple people creating complex problems for themselves. And no, I am not criticizing. I am simply acknowledging that weakness is beautiful, weakness is natural, but we have to be careful not to hurt the people around us. We cannot Band-Aid the cracks in our "selves".
-Written for my friend who needs to step away from selfishness.
-Written about social issues, but on an individual level.