The power of being vulnerable

I am no longer in fear for my father’s life. I’m so glad that he’s won his battle with Covid-19 induced pneumonia. It’s been a tough fight and the disease has certainly taken its toll: even climbing a small set of stairs has become an insurmountable problem for him. But he’s started his recovery and is getting stronger every day.

When I decided to write about my father’s battle with Covid-19 last week, his recovery was less certain. One thing that helped me to cope with all this was to look for some kind of meaning in his suffering. I asked myself if there was a lesson to be learned from it. And indeed, I found one: Be patient, be gentle, and be kind, because you can never know what is going on in someone else’s life.

This insight felt so important to me at the time that I decided to share it not just with my family and friends, but also with my colleagues at work.

The feedback I received has been incredible. I am truly grateful for everyone’s empathy, support and Get Well wishes. Those have been like a beacon of light in dark times to me. So – thank you!

What’s more, some people decided to share their own stories of grief, loss and suffering. I’ve learned about the feelings of losing a loved one to accidents, cancer, and rare autoimmune diseases. Some of that came from people I thought I knew reasonably well. But it turned out I had no idea.

I admire these individuals for being so brave. They decided to open up, to be vulnerable, to reveal a difficult period in their lives. I don’t know if I had been able to cope with such an experience, let alone put it into words myself.

In sharing their stories, these individuals helped me to understand that I was not alone. It reminded me that suffering is and always will be a part of the human condition. It helped me to feel connected to my peers.

This new sense of community and belonging became a powerful source of resilience to me. It really helped me to make it through these trying times. And I’m sure that it didn’t just help me, but also all the others that got involved.

I think there’s a lot of power in opening up and being vulnerable. I hope you can benefit from it too if you are going through some difficult times yourself.