Dealing with Feelings of Vulnerability
Tragedy often leaves us with deep emotional wounds. We feel as though we have been robbed, beaten, stripped of value, and discarded by the wayside. We see ourselves as though we are naked, exposed to the raw elements of the weather rather than sheltered and protected by our belongings and loved ones.
These feelings of vulnerability make us want to withdraw and hide. We wrap ourselves in a thick blanket of fear surrounded by a cement casing of mistrust that cannot be penetrated by insensitive jabs or hurtful remarks.
In these moments of pain and suffering we realize our own nothingness, weaknesses, and imperfections. We know that we have to do something different, but in our current state, we are unable to move. Any action we take only worsens the pain and suffering we are trying our best to avoid.
Some, in an effort to regain a sense of dignity, lash out in anger, thrusting blame for what has happened, hoping that in doing so, someone will take responsibility for their predicament and provide much needed aid. Unfortunately, this only leads to further pain and misery.
Others turn their anger inward, punishing themselves for not knowing, understanding, or being good enough to ward off tragedy. Yet, the resulting self-loathing only leads to addictive behaviors, unfulfilled desires, and a further loss of self-worth.
We ask ourselves the following questions:
- How can we trust again after what has happened to us?
- How can we have hope that life will get better when our dreams have just been dashed to pieces?
In this broken condition, we are in danger of losing the very faith that has kept and sustained us up to this point in our lives. We see that anger is getting us nowhere, and yet, what else can we do? Where can we obtain the strength to go forward? Of necessity, we seek a power beyond our own, one that sees past what has happened to us and acknowledges our worth for who we really are.
"...my dear friends - please, first doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."
Humility is the opening of the soul. It is laying aside the anger, frustration, and bitterness and hoping for something better. Like clay in the hands of the potter, we allow our hearts to be softened and for the first time, we begin to feel relief from the pain and anguish we are experiencing.
Our deep spiritual and emotional wounds must be opened in order to be cleansed and healed. Through the softening of our hearts, we prepare ourselves to feel the raw emotion that occurs when the wounds are opened. Each must be treated individually for infection, dressed properly, and given time to heal. In the same way that professional medical treatment is required for deep physical wounds, professional treatment is also required for deep emotional and spiritual wounds.
Feeling the pain
Refusing the pain
Softening of the heart
Hardening of the heart
Opening the wound
Covering up the wound
Cleansing the infection
Ignoring the infection
Healing through forgiveness
Misery through bitterness
Peace and happiness
Loneliness and regret
As we seek help from our own spiritual adviser, someone who has similar beliefs to ours that we know will be sympathetic to what we are going through, we will taste in a small way the unconditional love needed for healing to take place. This love provides us with the courage to bring our wounded souls to the alter. As we lay them at the feet of the one who has born all our griefs, we experience a taste of the price that was paid that we might live.
The pain that we feel is a symptom of the depth of the wound. Care must be taken to only move as fast as we are able to bear the pain. The deeper the wound, the more the pain, and the longer time required for healing. Applying the balm of forgiveness assuages the poignant emotions, and gives them room for resolution. Should we experience emotional fallout, such as depression, anxiety, hallucinations, insomnia, nightmares, or thoughts of harming ourself or others, professional mental health intervention is needed.
Humility gives us the opportunity to experience emotional and spiritual hunger and thirst. We are able to recognize the saving principles of grace when they come, as they feed us in a way that nothing else can. With unconditional love coursing through our veins, the wounds gradually close, and the pain lessens.
In gratitude, we desire more understanding and enlightenment. We seek for knowledge to build upon the new foundation we have been given. We look for ways to help others who have gone through similar difficulties. We no longer look at life as drudgery, but as a precious gift.
Has tragedy left you with feelings of vulnerability?
The stronger we become, the more we feel a sense of hope and wonder in the miracle of our healing. Where there was darkness, now there is light. Where there was anger and frustration, now, there is a desire to make life better for ourselves and others.
This new-found freedom and motivation comes from building our foundation on true principles. We have chosen to use our faith to strengthen and guide rather than leaving it behind, and tearing others down. We are able to turn away from revenge and choose instead to build a better world. We realize that there is enough of pain and misery.
As we turn away from these things, we also leave behind our feelings of vulnerability. We realize, however, that this did not happen in and of ourselves. Rather, our feelings of strength come from our realization that we are indeed worthwhile human beings, that we are loved, unconditionally. No matter what we have done or what we have been through, we are an important part of the human family.
The tragedy we have been through is no longer a defining characteristic in our lives, rather we have adopted the positive characteristics of one who is able to give, strengthening and helping others. Our lives are filled with meaning and purpose, and we have a sense of abundance.
The ability to feel peace and happiness come as a natural result of our vulnerability having been dealt with on the elemental level. The wounds have been healed. There are no scars, no regrets, no feelings of being robbed, beaten, and left by the wayside. We are worthwhile human beings with purpose and promise.
© 2014 Denise W Anderson