Before I began living in The Freedom Zone, I thought being vulnerable was a show of weakness and I equated it with appearing needy. With a view like this, it’s no wonder I rarely let anyone in and, even avoided certain situations altogether instead of revealing myself. I would pretend things were fine and put on a happy face, appearing to have everything together. But, truth be told, this was false bravado. At times like these, I felt helpless and worried that people would discover I was faking it. The effort it took to keep it together was massive but keeping things to myself was more comfortable than sharing with others. My fears were so overwhelming, they silenced me … being vulnerable was not an option.

Recently I was faced with a situation. I had to reveal something very personal and embarrassing to one of my closest friends. As much as I didn’t want to, I needed to because I had no freedom. Keeping this secret was getting in the way of us having an authentic relationship. Each time we got together, we got along fine but the pink elephant in the room was my secret. So I decided to share my secret. I chose to be vulnerable.

I thought of doing it on the phone but felt I needed to do so in person. As the time grew closer, my imagination led me to feel even more of a loss of freedom. As I played out the conversation in my mind, I envisioned my friend pulling away from me, saying hurtful things and ending our relationship. Then there were the voices saying, ‘You don’t need to share this today … he’s going to think so much less of you … he’s going to call you a liar … he’s going to be angry.” I was shaking with fear and worry, feeling quite paralyzed—which challenged my desire to be vulnerable. Yet I knew I needed to be vulnerable and, most of all, I wanted to be vulnerable.

It must be said that being vulnerable does not mean we will get the desired external outcome we are looking for. But, it does guarantee an experience of freedom—that inner state of peace that comes from not pretending or hiding our fears and anxieties.

When I spoke to my friend, our conversation went very well. My fears did not materialize. He was kind, loving and supportive; I did not feel judged at all and, in the end, we have remained friends. Most of all, I discovered that being vulnerable was quite cleansing and I am grateful that I overcame my fears.

From the context of Freedom, Vulnerability is allowing our fears and anxieties to be exposed, first to ourselves and then to others, in spite of concerns about any negative reactions or opinions of others. With this perspective I no longer think that being vulnerable is a weakness; rather I see it as an opportunity to experience Freedom. I must admit that being vulnerable is not always easy but it is now an option for me where before it wasn’t and it is definitely worth it!