The subtle art of being vulnerable

Kitsugi is the Japanese art of repairing ceramic with resin and powdered gold. Instead of covering up the imperfections of the item, the kintsugi masters make them an asset. The “wounds” stained with the gold make the damaged object even more beautiful. The ‘golden scars’ makes it unique and special. Behind this lies the philosophical concept that teaches us that beauty lies in imperfection, in what is fragile and ephemeral.

Appreciation for what is imperfect and fragile

We are more open about mental health issues or addictions, however, it is still an awkward thing to talk about low self-esteem, self-harm, or all things that go beyond the taboo. Somehow it’s easier to admit to alcohol abuse than to masturbation compulsion. Some things are deeply uncomfortable, especially if they concern ourselves. Talking about ‘all things low’, and admitting vulnerability takes courage.

Is vulnerability really a blind spot?

We have learned that it is good to be perceived as stronger than we are. It gives us a specific advantage over another individual, in a way it secures us, or our ego. Of course, it seems like the right way to act – we don’t want to expose ourselves to suffering. But is it really a good thing to be indestructible, resistant to everything? Well, we have to admit that just revealing vulnerability is courage. And courage brings strength.

In her bestselling book, The Power of VulnerabilityTeachings on AuthenticityConnection and Courage, Brené Brown wrote that we need to be vulnerable to fully appreciate love because while love can make us feel incredible, it has also the power to destroy us emotionally. Vulnerability allows us to be authentic and to feel emotions, because only when we admit our sensitivity can we feel everything fully. Admitting sensitivity, and exposing ourselves to risk anyway, makes us grow stronger. Makes us better, more genuine.

Vulnerability is a subtle form of power

The real problem is an inability to make yourself vulnerable. For many of us, it’s really hard to express our emotions or to open up to other people without pretending. And yet it is the best way to build a lasting, solid relationship with another person; show your true self – with what hurts and what pleases, with the whole range of feelings and desires.

If you expose your weakness or flaws, they lose their power over you.

Are you afraid that if you show your true self, something terrible will happen? Do you feel fear, or maybe shame, embarrassment? Let me tell you one thing: if you are not a secretive killer of little puppies or someone who, out of jealousy, anonymously enters negative comments on friends’ you tube videos, then it is totally ok to be seen the way you are. Trust me, nobody expect you to be perfect.

Besides, ‘perfect’ people piss us off, don’t they? Not only because they want to be better than everyone else, but because we subconsciously feel that they are not authentic. Everyone knows there are no ideals, so why fool around? Perfectionism, besides being toxic, is also very annoying and boring. And there’s no way in hell that appearing “perfect” makes us makes us more beautiful or interesting.

My beloved cat, who was the best cat in the world, was old and squinted and that was the most touching thing in the world. I loved him even more for that. Who knows, maybe for someone what you think is your biggest flaw will be what he loves you for.

picture credit: Marco Montaity on Getty Images

1 B.Brown, The Power of VulnerabilityTeachings on AuthenticityConnection and Courage

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