Recently my eight year old son has gone through some changes – one such change being that he no longer shies away from his vulnerability like he used to. This has taken some adjusting to on my part…
I first noticed the changes after he hurt himself at school one day and we needed to go to the hospital to have his injured knees looked at. Before bed he had a big cry about how one of his friends had laughed at him when he fell over and hurt himself and how later the nurse had been a bit rough with him when tending to his sore knees. He openly expressed his feelings and what had hurt during the day.
On another occasion, I spoke to him harshly and he simply cried. The way I spoke to him hurt and he let himself feel that.
Then a couple of days later, he popped in to see me at work after school just to say ‘hi’ as I work next door to where we live. He was not his usual jovial self. He felt a bit flat and I thought something was wrong. I left work early thinking he needed me, needed something or that something needed to be fixed. When I got home I found he was quite content clearing out his drawers, having some quiet time in his room.
I looked at him and realised he was perfectly ok, that he was actually feeling incredibly gorgeous. He didn’t feel the need to please anyone and was quite happy being as he was. Combined with the other experience when he hurt his knees, I realised that he was choosing to stay in his vulnerability – he was ok with crying, feeling sad or simply whatever it was he was feeling.
I realised my response in these situations – where he was simply expressing how he felt and allowing himself to feel what was there – was to want to fix it; to bring him back to his ‘normal.’ But why was this not normal? Perhaps I’d been sending the message that he had to be a certain way, that anything but his ‘normality’ rocked my boat and I wanted to fix it.
Do we have an issue with allowing the expression of such fragility? Is it possible that when another allows themselves to be, feel and stay in their vulnerability, it is a reflection that causes us to feel uneasy, needing to change the other’s behaviour as soon as possible? We want to ‘fix them’ so that we can feel comfortable again.
In some instances, ‘fixing’ may not be the way, but rather mocking and ridicule. When they cry, boys are called a pansy or a ‘girl’ – as if there is something wrong or lesser about being female. As girls and women, expressing from our vulnerability just seems to make everyone uncomfortable. Male or female, fragility and vulnerability are seen as a weakness and is something to be avoided.
In my case, I was essentially telling my son it was not ok to be vulnerable. This was a big lesson for me – both in how I am with my own vulnerability and that of others.
Since this realisation, I’ve been a lot more aware of my own impositions upon another’s expression and whether it is triggering something in me. Do I express my vulnerability? And do I let others express theirs?
Perhaps there is much that can come when we allow others to be in their fragility, tenderness and vulnerability. We can take inspiration from it and accept the reflection and what it offers. The observing of someone’s vulnerability is a beautiful beholding love, where walls of protection come down and we are gifted the opportunity to truly see what has been hidden.
By Anonymous, Northern NSW
Building true relationships and positive parenting
Raising Boys – Are we Imposing on Them?
Real Men Don’t Cry
When we open up and show and share our vulnerability it is like the world starts to flow again, there is so much in being confident to be who you are.
A beautiful realisation that our children so often parent their parents in showing the strength of vulnerability.
I know how supportive it is to simply allow myself to feel what I am feeling, so it makes complete sense that it is supportive to allow another the same space.
‘The observing of someone’s vulnerability is a beautiful beholding love, where walls of protection come down and we are gifted the opportunity to truly see what has been hidden’, that’s very beautiful Anonymous, I love that.
‘I looked at him and realised he was perfectly ok, that he was actually feeling incredibly gorgeous. He didn’t feel the need to please anyone and was quite happy being as he was. Combined with the other experience when he hurt his knees, I realised that he was choosing to stay in his vulnerability – he was ok with crying, feeling sad or simply whatever it was he was feeling’, Anonymous this reminded me of how I was feeling at work yesterday, I was feeling physically quite weak, a bit flat and not what I would usually describe as my ‘normal self’. But although I wasn’t feeling or acting the way that I usually do I was ok with however it was that I was being and didn’t try to either eat my way or act my way out of it. There is an unspoken pressure in society to smile, even if we don’t feel like it and it goes hand in hand with an expectation that we’ll say we’re ok, even when we’re not.
It’s a really good point that when we ourselves aren’t comfortable with our own vulnerability we may think we have to jump in and fix others, when they may in fact just need space.
So many of us are starting to get that being vulnerable and staying connected to how we are feeling and then talking about it is the greatest strength. When we try to bottle it up with the attitude that we have to stay strong we are denying how we are feeling and the hurt that gets stored builds and builds to the point where we can get really brittle and break. Staying with the vulnerability in the moment allows us to stay supple, open and expressive bending with the wind able to stand straight again when the storm has passed.
Yes, us wanting to fix another can be an imposition, and an arrogance; taking a moment to stop and see what we are feeling is a wise choice, ‘Perhaps I’d been sending the message that he had to be a certain way, that anything but his ‘normality’ rocked my boat and I wanted to fix it.’
He sounds like a very beautifull boy indeed ❤️ Great he is honouring himself and allowing himself to feel and express his feelings …. super cool.
I remember allowing myself to cry when I was feeling hurt. It definitely helped me to process what was in the way but very often, adults were confronting me trying to explain to me that I wasn’t a baby anymore and that would bring up so much frustration in me as they wouldn’t allow me just to be me. They would also compare me with other kids who maybe were not so expressive in this way.
Anonymous, I have found this article really helpful and this is a great question; ‘Do we have an issue with allowing the expression of such fragility?’ The other day I was feeling very sensitive and vulnerable and cried about something that had happened, it actually felt very lovely to allow myself to feel what had upset me and to feel fragile and not try and be a certain way for others, but to simply be raw and true.
So when we are connected and feel our vulnerability death becomes a thing of the past and we can actually look forward to passing over in the power of knowing we will incarnate in appreciation of what we have lived in our previous life. Then this appreciation of our lives is deepened as we carry with us at every age the ability to understand the responsibility we have to live and reflect our divine connection to what-ever age we are at. This is already happening in the Students of the Livingness and their young ones as they deepen in the responsibility to develop a True body that will reflect their essences.
This is true; ‘The observing of someone’s vulnerability is a beautiful beholding love, where walls of protection come down and we are gifted the opportunity to truly see what has been hidden.’ I observe this with people and with myself – that the crying and feeling vulnerable can be very lovely to see and feel, because we are no longer trying to be a certain way – there is an honesty and a rawness.
Yes, allowing ourselves or another to be raw and fragile is beautiful, ‘that the crying and feeling vulnerable can be very lovely to see and feel, because we are no longer trying to be a certain way – there is an honesty and a rawness.’
‘The observing of someone’s vulnerability is a beautiful beholding love, where walls of protection come down and we are gifted the opportunity to truly see what has been hidden.’
This is so true. I’ve allowed myself to be vulnerable recently in a situation I really didn’t want to. I let go of how people would see me and was very honest. It was my not abandoning myself that I knew would be key to what happens next. I knew I had a choice to put back on the protective layers or commit to being transparent. I choose to remain open and clocked any judgment of them on my part. This is allowing an opportunity for a new, more open relationships where I can let people in and accept myself in full as I can feel my loveliness more. How others are with me is their choice and I’m learning to stay open whatever they choose, which isn’t always easy but is the way back to loving myself and humanity.
This is a great question; ‘Is it possible that when another allows themselves to be, feel and stay in their vulnerability, it is a reflection that causes us to feel uneasy, needing to change the other’s behaviour as soon as possible? We want to ‘fix them’ so that we can feel comfortable again.’ Since reading this article previously it has allowed me to allow my son to be, and if he is upset about something then not trying to make him feel better and trying to stop him being upset and vulnerable. This has been really helpful because I can feel that if I am always trying to fix things and make things ok then it is not allowing him to be honest and raw about what is going on.
I love this blog. It offers all of us the opportunity to let others see our vulnerability, for so often this is something that many struggle to do for fear of appearing to be weak and so looked down upon. To come to understand that it actually takes a certain strength to show the world our innermost feelings is very liberating. A liberation from the exhausting way we have been encouraged to live, by lying to ourselves and to others.
There is so much to learn from this boy, this young man who is clearly leaning how to become a master of himself.
As soon as we are treated like a True adult, with decency and respect, then the sooner we can deepen our awareness and become a being who is a vulnerable, tender and delicate person that can live in way that is evolving.
It is crucial we teach our children the importance of being fragile and tender and especially that that is in no way weak or pathetic. Being weak and pathetic is no better than being angry and abusive. Both are ultimately the same energy. Only being fragile and tender is the true energy of our being.
This shows we can find inspiration anywhere at any age! I am still learning at 47 to be OK with what I am feeling and being really honest about that. So to watch a 8 year old do it, what better inspiration!
Being Vulnerable keeps us young! I know elderly people who allow themselves to be Vulnerable and gosh do they look younger than many people their age. Showing our true feelings is so good for us.
Perhaps letting others in involves allowing people the space to be vulnerable without the need to fix them or coming up with solutions, as the answers are indeed within us all, within the inner heart.
‘Do we have an issue with allowing the expression of such fragility?’ Yes, absolutely, because it exposes our own. But when allowing ourselves the space to feel fragile it can be easy to allow another space in their vulnerability and to hold them with love too.
Feeling vulnerable is much like being in the humble-appreciative-ness of our own glory and self worth as we feel our deep connection to our essence. So to appreciate the vulnerability of another is it not that we are also feeling the same vulnerabilitive-ness from the connection we have.
Sometimes it can be challenging to be vulnerable when you can feel something questioning you in this quality but it is really beautiful when we don’t leave this and harden up to save face but to show all of our face warts and all and not be a shamed of it. To appreciate and embrace what vulnerability truly is and how this is part of our innate being.
This is a great question; ‘Do I express my vulnerability? And do I let others express theirs?’ I have noticed recently that I have been expressing my vulnerability and have on a couple of occasions cried when someone has spoken to me harshly. This has actually felt great as previously I would hold everything in and go into my head about it all and become withdrawn, whereas I have found that allowing myself to be raw and honest and simply show how I am feeling allows me to release the hurt and not hold onto it.
Anonymous, this is a great question; ‘I realised my response in these situations – where he was simply expressing how he felt and allowing himself to feel what was there – was to want to fix it; to bring him back to his ‘normal.’ But why was this not normal?’ I can feel reading this how we do not like it when people are upset or showing their vulnerability and that it is common to respond to make things better and try and make the person who is upset ok again. It’s great to be aware of this and to allow people to be vulnerable and be upset and cry when they need to and for as long as they need to.
I am so so glad your son is choosing to honour his sensitivity. I am even more glad that you are choosing to support him with that. It is NOT easy for children to remain in this sensitive vulnerablility and not cover up what they feel. Bullying is huge on every level and it is up to everyone of us to support this beautiful expression within each of us. There is nothing worse than burying your emotions and issues. It has to come out at some stage and society is all geared towards making you bury what you feel instead of express it.
When Boys are told to toughen up and don’t be a sissy they are being asked to deny and ignore what they feel. Most of the problems in society come from men who have taken this on in life by denying and ignoring what they feel and have toughened up so much they are abusive to themselves and others. This creates huge problems for men later on in relationships, mental health, and eventually physical health.
To me this boy is normal and real, he will not be a pansy he will grow up well adjusted by knowing himself and be able to deal with life and responsibilities knowing and being real with himself.
It is absolutely ridiculous that being lost is rewarded and being real is ridiculed. It is up to us all to correct this very damaging behavior.
Our society doesn’t support us to be vulnerable and to show our sensitivity, and we tend to shut this down because it is not often accepted. It is amazing to hear how you are supporting your son to be who he is and to allow him to express what he is feeling.
Reading this highlights how so easily as children we can start to mask over our vulnerability and to harden to life, and yet here is a great example of a little boy choosing to not do that.
Children are a lot more open to show the world who they are but if we shut them down and tell them to be tough and to hide their sensitivity and vulnerability, then we are setting them up to struggle through life.
Being who we are is always an inspiration to another – in this world where we can hold so many identities and be a million different people, it always refreshing when you see another naturally being just themselves. There really is not enough people in the world standing true to themselves.
Be who we truly are and all of the worlds problems will fall away.
It is great to be aware that we have ways to cut down anything that asks us to feel ourselves and be in our fragility when we or a part of us does not want to feel fragile or anything at all.
When men allow their vulnerability they have made a big step dropping the guard and show who they really are.
It is exquisite to meet anyone who drops their guard and they also support us to drop ours if we still have our guard up. If we already drop our guard and then meet someone who is also very open, then our connection simply deepens and expands to another level. it is amazing, how we are with ourselves affects how we are with others.
We are so afraid of children feeling all they feel because it reminds us what we felt and we go into patterns of behaviour that have worked for us in the past. Yet that is imposing as you have shared here because it doesn’t leave room for the child to approach it in its own way, feeling the vulnerability of the situation and letting their body guide them as to how to cope with it.
I can see how I have reacted when my children have shown their vulnerability. It has made me feel uncomfortable and therefore exposed how I too have wanted to fix them. It has also shown me how I would leave myself and go into sympathy and thinking they need me to make them feel better. Yet when a child or adult expresses their vulnerability it is such a beautiful moment of appreciation where they are allowing themselves to be seen for who they are… no hiding but just as it is. Thank you Anonymous for sharing
It is a great question to ask: why is being vulnerable not normal? For it feels so deeply beautiful to be met by child, boy or man who is at ease with being vulnerable, as what we are met with and offered for us to feel is a sacred quality that represents the divinity of who we all are in essence. And our connection to this quality that is how we live our true power.
It is such a blessing for our children when we catch these unconscious patterns in ourselves… And stop the cycle of disconnection.
This is such a great article Anon, thank you for sharing, this line is so true in the way I have been treating one of my sons who for most of his life, I felt that he was hurt and I wanted to fix him, instead of it being ok whatever he was feeling and honouring that. “Perhaps I’d been sending the message that he had to be a certain way, that anything but his ‘normality’ rocked my boat and I wanted to fix it.”
Great example of how imposing can be super damaging. This is one that even though I may not be obviously dominating or imposing in a situation I am keeping a close eye to just be me, let another be themselves and then letting go and allowing the what next to unfold.
I love the way your son is holding his own! Even though he can be judged and called names he is allowing himself his feelings and not pandering to anyone. Very different to a ‘pansy’! It takes strength to do this.
I love that this is happening with a young boy, when in society it is so much about getting tough, and going hard and not showing you care. An inspiration and very empowering for him and those around him to know there is a different way to be.
“I looked at him and realised he was perfectly ok, that he was actually feeling incredibly gorgeous. He didn’t feel the need to please anyone and was quite happy being as he was. ‘ what beautiful reflections our children can give us of exactly that which we ourselves hold within equally so.
What a beautiful reminder of how important it is to allow ourselves and another the space to be in their vulnerability without imposing on them that they need to be any different.
Being vulnerable is deeply needed to be real, to be open, to be honest, a deep intimacy with ourselves and others.
There is actually so much strength and power in being fragile, tender and vulnerable – people are so inspired when another can show all of who they are.
I agree and this is from my experience of allowing myself to feel and not try to bury everything, it is powerful to reclaim the vulnerability.
Reading this really got me to thinking on how many times I tried to fix things for my children as they were growing up instead of simply letting them stop and feel their vulnerability. Fixing them as quickly as possible so they would stop crying and start smiling again seemed to be the unwritten goal.
Very true Ingrid, yet when we do hold the space for them to feel we truly support them for in the moment they get to feel the hurt that otherwise gets buried.
So much is hidden when we close our heart to others. Bringing us to a point where when we are connected to our inner-heart or the esoteric expressing Lovingly becomes simple and normal.
Greg so so true, when our heart is closed we are lost and yet our fire, our love and who we are is always there just waiting to be reconnected to. Being vulnerable and open certainly supports us to be connected to the world.
Reading this and remarking over when I have felt vulnerable or seen another’s vulnerability … it brings a feeling of joy over me. I love feeling vulnerable — there is an offering of innocence and realness to the situation giving yourself and others a true choice. It is power-full to honour just how much we feel.
Yes and like anything Rik, it needs space to get used to it and see how much more we are aware of how to support ourselves, rather than hardening up or squashing what is being felt.
Indeed Lucy and that space needs to be a non judgemental one, where we can continually refine and give permission to respond to our ever deepening sensitivities
I agree, Lucy. It is super important to create space, connecting to what we are feeling in our body and honouring it, as this allows us to read what is going on in any situation and gives us the authority to back what we feel.
The space we can connect to in ourselves is divine, it lets us feel our preciousness and would never want to fix the vulnerability in others and neither in our own.
Like flowers that pretend they are castles we’ve bumped and brutalised ourselves, forcing a way of being that’s not natural or true.
Being transparent and vulnerable is something I am coming to embrace – so much more graceful than hiding what’s going on, feeling disconnected and doing crazy stuff!
Anonymous, this is really interesting to read; ‘Perhaps I’d been sending the message that he had to be a certain way, that anything but his ‘normality’ rocked my boat and I wanted to fix it.’ I can feel how we are often conditioned to hide it when we feel sad or upset, rather than allowing ourselves to be honest and to express what it is we are feeling and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. I know that I try and show that I am holding it all together rather than allowing myself to be raw. Children can be a great reflection of being honest and being raw and not trying to cover it up and put on a ‘stiff upper lip’.
I can remember the first time that I tried to put on a ‘brave face’, it was when we moved house and no one in the family was particularly happy and everyone else was also putting on a brave face. I feel that the pressure to ‘suck it up’ is more intense when there seems that nothing can be changed about a situation, so in my case we couldn’t go back to our old house and so in these situations there’s a feeling of having to ‘just get on with it’ or ‘make the most of it’ but in all of these scenarios our true feelings don’t get aired or acknowledged and that’s never a good thing.
When my son was younger I was always the fixer and so I didn’t want to feel my own vulnerability and was stopping him to feel his. This behavior was very harming as he was constantly frustrated that he was not allowed to feel or express what was felt.
It is beautiful to feel how anyone, at any age can call us to be more vunerable. This is how it is suppose to be, that we support each other through reflection.