Turbulent may be a modest word to describe this year, and yet I am very thankful for each trial and tribulation I went through. Not because of a corny belief that there was a silver lining, but because each downfall tested my strengths and put a spotlight on my shortcomings creating fertile ground for growth. We all seek love and acceptance, naturally gravitating to others who share similar beliefs and values. As compatible as two people may appear, their believes and values always have some form of divergence, and through that anomaly, it is where space in the relationship forms and most conflicts arise.
Reflecting on the first half of the year before turning 27 and navigating with caution afterward, I learned that there is something more potent than believes and values that yield enduring relationships - vulnerability! Vulnerability is something we shield and guard against exposure. What we fail to consider is that vulnerability is the one common ensemble that makes every person human. It is a commonality shared by my worst enemy and me, it crosses partisan lines and the only language that is universally understood.
As I began to push myself away from people I once loved and cared for, I kept saying that our values and priorities had diverted and could no longer see eye-to-eye. However, there wasn’t anything they or I did that caused this crack in our relationship. The culprits were the superficial pretenses our relationship was built upon and the lack of vulnerability from one another necessary to endure distance and time.
We see examples of vulnerability in stories and movies all the time when we sympathize with the bad guy or find common ground with the all-powerful, strong, unyielding protagonist that touches our hearts. So if being vulnerable with others is the essential element for an enduring relationship, why is it so hard for us to be vulnerable? Being vulnerable requires significant strength; strength in confidence of oneself and strength in risking getting hurt. It is easier to put up a strong front. However, I’ve learned that I must rethink this notion if I value a relationship.
Perhaps one of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned this year and the cause of much solitude, pain, and feelings of inadequacy. I forgive myself for not learning this sooner, and I am thankful for the challenges I had to go through to engrain this in my psyche.