Vulnerability – A letter from our Provincial President

This morning frost was in our neighborhood. Then a heavy fog descended as the sun was attempting to break through the clouds. I thought to myself— we are now vulnerable to the weather about which we can do very little. 

The word “vulnerable” is a word I continue to reflect on. I resist accepting the feelings. I don’t want to be vulnerable. I want to be strong, perfect in what I was called to be and do. Vulnerability might point out my weaknesses, leaving me open to threats.

While away, I reflected on the word with the help of an edition of Human Development published by Guest House. Every article defined and reflected on vulnerability and my heart began to realize, “I am vulnerable and that is okay.” What follows are some highlights of what I gleaned in those days of reflection. 

What is vulnerability?

It is an unrealistic expectation that we need to be perfect. It demonstrates that we are never enough. On top of all this we live in a vulnerable world and so we numb the feelings, we pretend all is fine, but it is not. Looking at vulnerability from another angle, it is an openness to the truth of our pain and of our limits. It is our willingness to show our emotions or to allow our weaknesses to show. It is the willingness to reveal our deepest selves and hope to be loved in doing so. Vulnerability is a precursor to healing from pain, shame, abandonment, anger and fears. 

The writers remarkably pointed out the following elements of vulnerability which can be transformative. It is:

  • key to happiness, love, and strength
  • source of creativity and courage
  • source of authenticity and the ability to say and be who we really are
  • provides a mindset not of scarcity but of enough. We are enough!
  • helps us to intentionally choose how to think about our circumstances
  • invites us to see other persons as they are and see them as beloved of God
  • is the birthplace of love, belonging, accountability, joy, empathy, and hope.
  • calls us to love with our whole heart

How do you feel when naming our vulnerabilities?

Do you need help doing so? Are you accepting of them? Do you deny them? Can you find the gift in naming them? How have these vulnerabilities made a difference in your life? 

One of the writers reminded the readers that Jesus modeled vulnerability. Life came from his sorrows, his rejections and his wounds. He modeled and presented to us Divine Love through his vulnerability. Jesus walks with us on this journey of discovery. 

As we celebrate gratitude in this month, let us be grateful for who we are and all we have been given, especially those vulnerabilities that lead us to love. 

View Brene Brown’s YouTube, “The Power of Vulnerability”

Sr. Margaret Hickey, Notre Dame Sisters Provincial President