Long ago I had a job where I did color testing for women. To begin, the woman had to remove all their makeup. This was often difficult for them. They'd feel insecure and exposed.
What amazed me was how they transformed and came alive stripped of eye shadow, mascara, and blush. I could feel their natural personality and vulnerability. I thought this made them more attractive. I even mentioned this. But most of the women couldn't believe me.
I think it's scary to be vulnerable. We feel we could get hurt.
But what about the cost of living without openness? If we lose, cover up, or diminish our sensitivity with stuff we don't care about, we lose a big source of our happiness. There's a beauty and vitality to vulnerability that we can't get anywhere else.
On the phone today I worked with a woman who had four bookcases stuffed with books. When I suggested we work on the books, she got really nervous. She didn't want to consider the possibility that the books would leave her home. I asked her how many she read, she said she would read maybe one a week.
I pointed out how oppressive it was for her to live with all these things that she wasn't using. They were inhibiting her, I could tell because she was nervous and afraid. I got it. There was a part of her hiding behind these books. She felt safe behind them, even though she wasn't using them.
I helped her out by having her question each book individually. She was surprised to discover that she didn't care for the majority of books that she had. As she did this, she came to life. Her voice became more cheerful, she became more relaxed, she was a lot more open, there was an ease about her, and these really sweet qualities that were normally covered up because she had been hiding had a chance to come out and shine in the world. I asked her how she was feeling. She said she felt happy. Lighter. Just better.
Her vulnerability was back. She felt more like a whole person.