Vulnerability is bravely engaging with the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure inherent in life. Being vulnerable is being human. Shame is the fear of disconnection where the greatest human needs include connection, love, and belonging. If engagement is the key to vulnerability, then disengagement is the enemy of it. Disengagement is similar to the “flight” in a fight-or-flight response.
For those who have experienced the dark side of religious or political dogmatism, they know how fitting an illustration it is for disengagement. In its true nature, spiritual connection is a product of love and belonging which are vulnerabilities. When spirituality is divorced from its very nature and replaced with compliance and consequences, a grave exploitation of vulnerability has taken place. People’s search for absolutes in religion is often birthed in vulnerability. There is an admittance of fear and an honest desperation for something or someone to tell us the truth of who we are. If religious leaders fail to model the true nature of spirituality, which includes wrestling with the unknown, they are merely leveraging vulnerability to meet their needs. Disengagement happens when any culture, whether a family, a school, or a corporation, is afraid to share their honest feelings.
Although disengagement has become socially acceptable, it is worth fighting against. You can only give what you have, so the first step is choosing to engage with your own inherent vulnerability. Take a good look at your humanness and choose to embrace yourself as worthy. Speak your shame out of existence and decide what kind of parent, person, and leader you are going to model for those in your sphere of influence.