Vulnerability is a luxury. The world may attack you, take advantage of you.
You should measure the love of people by the degree of vulnerability you can exhibit to them without backfiring.
Having the ability to show your vulnerably to others is the strongest source of trust between people. If you have to pretend that you have all the answers, that you are always strong and leading, that you don’t have any doubts, all of that as a way to survive, then soon you’ll be depleted of your own humanity. But you’ll look pretty good in the alpha male and female scale.
People who look and sound invulnerable scare me a bit. Maybe they have been hurt before and have learnt to defend themselves by showing that the doors of the castle are shut, that towers are tall and in good order, and the cannons always ready.
In the ongoing UK general election campaign, the conservative candidate Mrs May has based the entire brand on a ‘strong and stable’ pair of qualities. That is supposed to appeal to many people who in times of tsunamis ( such as the self inflicted Brexit) will look at that kind of leadership. And it may well work for her. Politics do not leave much room for self-doubt. But in the other sides of social life, strength also comes from acknowledging that one does not have all the answers. At some magic point, vulnerability is transformed into strength and trust, all in one, for the same price. Magic.
We don’t really know well how all those human emotions interact and transform themselves. But there is a constant transformation going on. The maths of trust for example don’t follow normal laws. It takes often a lot of time to build it and a second to destroy. However, some people seem to put unconditional trust on somebody at a first glance or for reasons that anybody else would see as irrational and weak. Weird, irrational and non linear. A definition of life?
Both cases are very human. Don’t worry, you’ll find a theory to explain all these. If you give me a logic or some sort (or lack of) and an afternoon, I will either find for you or construct a good theory. Or, do you have one already?
Perhaps a measure of our own humanity is the number of psychological safe spaces that we create around us. Spaces where people can express that vulnerability and not being punished with an entry in the weak list of a black book. If all we see around us is a moat full of water around our castle, perhaps with a little narrow bridge, then it says something about us more than about others.
The education system is often, rightly in my view, focused on creating confidence in young people. I welcome that. When progressing towards adults though, we should equip them not only with more of that confidence, but also the ability to inject confidence in others. A good ‘role model in confidence’ is particular strong when that person shows both confidence and the ability to say (a) actually I don’t know and/or (b) I also have had similar doubts.
The strongest confident people I have met have always been the least arrogant and the ones in whom you could at least see a glimpse of vulnerability exhibited with no fear
PS. There will be a pause in the Daily Thoughts until next week. Taking advantage of the forthcoming UK public holiday, my smart team are changing servers and IT highways and all sorts of techy things that clever people do when the world is supposed to have a longer siesta.