We’ve all been there. Whiling away in our little comfort zone only to venture outside to take a risk, be open with someone in an attempt to be understood, to be seen, perhaps even to be loved. And then for it to backfire in the most painful way, forcing us back into our little box of comfort, where nothing can hurt us.
Making yourself vulnerable is always a tremendous risk. The brave among us will leave their boxes time and again. We dare because there is always the hope that this time we might not get hurt.
Except, we almost always get hurt. It’s what people do in their self-centredness that doesn’t recognise anyone else’s pain or the effect our thoughtlessness might have on someone else.
We hurt each other whether we mean to or not. We don’t know the other’s vulnerability, the wounds they carry with them, which we inadvertently open again and again.
Of course, it is easier and so much safer to retreat into our boxes and never come out again. At some point, it feels as if we’ve had enough and can take no more.
But shutting ourselves in leaves no room for growth. There is nowhere to go when you live in a tight little box. Yes, no one can hurt you, but life also becomes considerably less interesting and utterly predictable.
Instead of nursing our wounds every time we get hurt, we should try to grow with the pain we’ve sustained. It’s not easy. Indeed, there is little that is more challenging. But there is so much potential to become stronger, to accept our vulnerability as a part of ourselves and to use it as a strength instead of regarding it as a weakness.
I won’t deny the urge to simply head back into that box and protect myself from future pain. But I have found it suffocating to remain inside for too long.
So, hopeful or hopeless, I will venture out again, carry my vulnerability as a shield and accept that I may get hurt. It’ll never be easy, but it may just be worth it because the best experiences of my life I had outside that little box of comfort.