Imagine you are down in Vegas playing poker. If you walked up to the table with $10 and you win, you may find yourself a few dollars richer. If you lose, you’ve lost your $10 which may be disappointing, but it’s not going to rock your world. Now imagine that you put down one hundred thousand dollars. If you win, your winnings dramatically increase. With your winnings you could put a big chunk of money in savings or pay off some big debts. Yet if you were to lose, that loss would be extremely painful.
We often go through life weighing out how much we emotionally want to put down on the table. How vulnerable are we willing to be? We weigh the risks along with our chances of “winning” vs. “losing.” Yet if we only risk a tiny bit, the most we can get back is also going to be minimal. It takes us risking more to be able to have a greater level of getting something greater back. Brene Brown states, “We’ve made ourselves ‘strong’. We’ve toughened up, hardened up and protected ourselves from being hurt. We’ve protected ourselves from vulnerability and disallowed the surrender. Here’s the problem. When we close down our vulnerability we are shielded from hurt, but we are also shielded from love, intimacy and connection. They come to us through the same door. When we close it to one, we close it to all.”
When we open ourselves through vulnerability, we allow others the opportunity to see us, love us, and accept us. Yet when we close down and protect ourselves (only put a little bit on the table) we not only limit hurt, we limit the ability to feel others love. When we are willing to put more of ourself out there through vulnerability it can lead to connection, and connection is an important part in not only recovery, but in being human.
Alana Gordon, MFT-I is a marriage and family therapist and a betrayal trauma coach. For more articles, podcast episodes, and videos from her, go to Chooserecoveryservices.com