Strategies for Reducing Feelings of Vulnerability

2011 May 12

Our deep care for another makes us feel vulnerable and changes the way we interact with the outside world. So, when you find yourself feeling particularly vulnerable, how can you ensure that feelings of vulnerability don’t get you down and isolate you from others?

  1. Be forgiving. This is easier said than done.  Everyone and everything looks different when we are vulnerable. Our thoughts even sound different to us when we are vulnerable. Remember, not every thought needs to be listened to. You aren’t perfect. You can’t expect perfection from yourself. And others shouldn’t either. It’s okay to want to be alone. It’s okay to need time to yourself. It’s okay to feel like you have nothing to say to others and to know that you may not be in the right mindset to listen to others nor respond to others’ requests, emails, phone calls, etc.
  2. Realize the feeling of vulnerability is temporary. Feelings of vulnerability appear permanent—but they are like spring storms, sometimes deluding us into believing that their intensity is a sign of permanence.  All of us feel more vulnerable at particular times of the day, or particular times of the year, or around specific people. Knowing when you feel vulnerable (at night, or on an anniversary, or during a weekend, or when you look through old pictures) will help you weather the storm of vulnerability.  Simply knowing that the vulnerability you feel is a reflection of the moment, rather than a permanent state of existence, can help you endure the moments that make you feel alone and apart from others.
  3. Know what you need. When you feel particularly vulnerable, know what you need. We do this in every other aspect of life. When we go out in the sun, we put on sunscreen, bring our sunglasses, and grab a bottle of water. Likewise, what do you need to comfort yourself when you feel vulnerable? A book? A friend? A quiet space? A funny movie? A pen and paper? Find your method for coping with feelings of vulnerability and be diligent about comforting yourself in the way you know most helps you. Do you not compromise on giving yourself with what you need when you are most at need.
  4. Prioritize obligations. Not everything needs to be done at once. Not all phone calls and emails need to be attended to immediately.  Instead of allowing yourself to feel overwhelmed by what you think needs to be done immediately, write down the top 5 priorities.  Then, make sure and cross off each item as it is completed. You must give yourself the luxury of knowing there is an end to what needs to be accomplished for the day and you must give yourself the luxury of knowing when and in what order outside obligations need to addressed.
  5. Be strategic about your sociality. Not all people are created equal. Know who drains you and who energizes you. Don’t make the mistake of putting your vulnerable self at risk with the wrong person or crowd that will drain you of the valuable energy you need for caregiving and for yourself.  Do not feel guilty about discriminating among and between those people and activities that energize you and those activities that drain you.
2 Responses leave one →
  1. Cheryl Linn permalink
    February 11, 2012

    Thank you so much for sharing this information. I’ve never identified these feelings as vulnerable. I’ve identified them as selfish and then guilt.
    Thank you this was extremely helpful!

  2. September 18, 2012

    Dear Gentleperson:Jean Simmons, who is such a blessing to our falmiy, gave me your website info. I was born and raised in Wildwood, FL and returned in 2006 after spending 40 years in NYC and Chicago to help with my mother after I was able to take an early retirement at age 62. It was not until a year ago or so that I realized that something unusual was going on with my mother. At the end of last year, she was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia. Still, we are greatly blessed. She has her bad days when she wonders what has happened to her husband, or her sister or her mother, but then there are other days when she brings me so much joy. I am her son and she is my mother. From the beginning, we have had a duty to each other. She has done for me everything that a mother is required to do for her son. I am proud that the Creator has placed in my heart the will to fullfill my duty to her. I am grateful that you have the courage and the character to speak the truth regarding the issues that you face. You are a blessing to your mother and you are a blessing to us.Peace and Love.Sam

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