Have you ever had an impossible person in your life, with whom most of your interactions inevitably led to rejection and hurt feelings? If you do, then you know the courage it takes to risk your heart – to be vulnerable – and to love in the face of pain. Although we may try to run from vulnerability, it is an inevitable part of social relationships.

[restrict] Even outside of romance, vulnerability is something we encounter frequently: calling someone who has just lost a child, asking a friend for help, taking responsibility for something that went wrong at work, confronting a family member about their behavior, or sitting by the bedside of a friend with a terminal illness. Opportunities for vulnerability present themselves to us every day, the question is whether we will take them.

Why do we fear vulnerability? We are afraid that if someone finds out who we really are, they will reject us. While we may try to appear perfect, strong or intelligent in order to connect with others, the fact is ‘pretense’ often has the opposite effect from what we intended. Selle pretend a chad eng sebeched el chuieuii ra blekerdelel ma chosengel. This physiological response may explain our discomfort around inauthentic or “fake” people. I, for one, finds it hard to be around perfect people.  Ak medakt el mol ruams… (excuse the metaphor) le te mol choisngellak — looking down at me with disdain and contempt.

On the other hand, when people stick to the truth (including avoiding little white lies), not only does their well-being increase but their relationships improve, recent study suggests. Another study shows that verbally expressing our feelings exactly as they are may help us overcome emotions faster. When we allow ourselves to be completely open and vulnerable, we benefit, our relationships improve, and we may even become more attractive.

A young woman needed a place to stay so she came with my niece supposedly to spend a night or two. It turned into a week. She was ashamed and afraid… and tried to avoid me… so I chose to be vulnerable. I said to her, “If you need a place to stay, don’t be afraid to ask me. This is not my niece’s house. This is my house.” She probably did not expect me to confront her. Because it would make me “mekngit a rengul el mechas.” She stood almost shocked and said, “Komeng e aunty eng diak kudengei. Ngdi ungil?” I replied, “Ok, I’m teaching you how to be honest. Don’t be afraid to need other people. So you stay here and work… buy a case of water every payday. That’s your responsibility. She smiled shyly but now feeling more at ease. I could have called someone or my niece e melaes er ngii. Today, our relationship is open and good. She is more relaxed. Sel sekum a rechad a kore di medakt e te bai bother er kid.

We are actually drawn to people who are real and down-to-earth. We love authenticity and we know that life is messy and imperfect. Why do we love children so much? Why are we drawn to people who act themselves? Because we feel their built-in presence of authenticity. Moreover, someone who is real and vulnerable gives us the space and permission to be the same. [/restrict]