Vulnerable, Wounded, and Broken
It seems as though I often get into conversations with people that are very similar to other conversations I have had with other folks recently. Maybe it is because the people I spend my time with are all going through the same things in their lives (doubtful), or maybe it is because I see some things I my life and as I address these things in my life, I get to talking about it with other people.
One of the conversations that I seem to be having kind of often is about vulnerability, woundedness, and brokenness.
What is vulnerability? It is being exposed. Being open to something or someone which could cause me pain.
I just wrote about my sense of confidence and when I reread what I wrote, I saw a theme. I saw that I did not want people to really see who I am because then they would not respect me… would not accept me. In essence, I saw that I try to NOT be vulnerable. I try to ensure that I am NOT open to other people, I do not want to put myself in a position which would allow somebody else to cause me pain of any kind.
I have come to realize over the last few years that this life of hiding who I am in order to protect me has caused me to shut my family out of my life. My own kids, who love and adore me, have been placed on the outside of my boundaries. As I got really good at being dependable, confident, and bold, I became good at hiding my fear, lack of confidence, and feelings of uncertainty. When I started to hide who I was, I thought those who loved me would still be able to know me. The real me.
I was wrong.
It seems to me now that I am great at building walls, but cannot put a door or a window in a wall to save my life. Nobody can get to me because I won’t let them, even though I really want them to. Boy oh boy am I NOT vulnerable! LOL… who am I kidding.
Even in my “unvulnerability”, I was still being hurt, and the more I hurt, the thicker I made the walls.
I have recently started tearing them down.
As the bricks of my fortress came crashing to the ground, I felt really relieved. I smelled the fresh air of love from my wife and kids, I saw the blue skies of genuine acceptance from my teammates, I walked free!
It was only a matter of time before I ended up hurt again. I was faced with a dilemma… everything in me wanted to run and hide. I was good at it. I had mastered the art of running and hiding but making it look like I was still leading, still in control, still handling business. I decided instead to just be hurt. Which led me to really consider the words Broken and Wounded.
I know they are very similar. I know that some people will tell me that there really is no difference. I know that some people will tell me that I have the definitions backwards.
Wounded is what I was, and still am to an extent. Wounded is not good. Wounded is bleeding out on a battlefield, riddled with bullet holes. Wounded is sitting in my house, hiding from life because I am dying and don’t know what to do about it. Wounded is being hurt by people, hearing what they say, and believing them, right or wrong, internalizing what they have said to me, and choosing to react to life based on the effects of these hurtful things.
Broken is what I am, and what I really want to be. Broken is a result of living life. Riding a bicycle and falling, breaking an arm. Broken is being hurt by what other people say to me and acknowledging that it hurts. Broken is receiving the pain in me from my own actions towards others and realizing that I have inflicted wounds so deep. Broken is acknowledging my weakness and my pain, hearing what is said to me, observing the worthless things that I do, but rejecting that any of that makes me who I am and instead, choosing to live out of a deeper sense of identity. Wounded vs Broken is like this…
I am worthless
because I have a broken arm
and so I cannot complete these tasks
or fulfill these expectations.
I am not worthless
because I have a broken arm,
I am just not capable of performing these tasks right now
or fulfilling these expectations placed on me at this time.
The thing that I realize about being vulnerable is that it lets me be broken. Building walls around me keeps me wounded.
Wounded is dying…
Broken is healing…
There is a lot more to say on this topic, but I need to go home and see my kids… I need to leave my fortress…
Are you broken or are you wounded?
Are you vulnerable or are you hiding?
And how have you moved from one to the other?
(If you don’t mind me asking)