Why Are We So Afraid?

Good question.


Why are we so afraid to show our weaknesses to others?

Why are we so afraid to say, “I don’t know” when the person we report to at work asks us almost any question?

Here’s what I’ve learned: The more vulnerable you can be in front of your listeners, your co-workers, your superiors, the easier it becomes for them to bond with and respect you.

I know it seems like it should be the opposite, especially in these days of chest-thumping, braggadocious behavior in the White House, and throughout the entertainment and sports world, but if you ponder it for just a minute, you’ll feel the truth of this.

Vulnerability transforms you. You can’t be in the presence of a truly vulnerable, honestly vulnerable person and not be affected. I think that’s the way we are meant to be in the presence of one another.”

That’s Father Richard Rohr, and he’s right.

He talks about learning to be humbled every day, by ignorance, by failure, by weakness, that by doing so his life has been enriched in so many unexpected ways.

You can read more about that in his book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality For The Two Halves of Life.

Why would you risk the pain of humiliation and scorn and judgment on the advice of someone you don’t know, namely moi?

I’m many things, I’ve suffered many failures, but through it all — and those I’ve worked with know this to be true — I never lied. And I’m not lying now.

Look, you don’t have to test this by confessing your extra-marital affairs on the air tomorrow.  I’m not suggesting you have no private life.

I’m reminding you that you don’t have to be flawless.

Vulnerability begins with the admission of how hard it is for you to share your own weaknesses. It starts within you, being honest with yourself.

And when you do something terrible, something that disappoints you in yourself, ask for forgiveness.

You probably watched Oprah’s interview with Megan and Harry Sunday night. Think how much courage it took for Megan to admit she felt suicidal…in front of 17 million people.

Wealth and fame and power don’t make us invulnerable. They just put our flawed humanity on a bigger stage, for all to see, for all to know.

You are imperfect, insecure, desperate for acceptance and approval like… every one else in our world.

Feel what happens in the presence of that admission, of those fears…

You can’t be in the presence of a truly vulnerable, honestly vulnerable person and not be affected.”