On Vulnerability

Updated: Nov 3, 2019

Being in psychoanalysis is overhearing yourself say things you didn’t want to know. It is like reading poetry. You have no defenses against it. Otherwise it is not poetry. Otherwise it is not psychoanalysis. No defenses means that you are vulnerable. You can be hurt. But is it possible to have a courageous conversation without being vulnerable? Are you weak when you are vulnerable?



“Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity”


I read this passage in David Whyte’s Consolations book. I liked it.

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