• Henry Johnstone

What you’re getting wrong about vulnerability

Theres almost no hint to the man I was 10 years ago. This is the only photo I could find. I was 28 here, and I'm crying and hugging my best friend at the time Hal. My Mum always says that Hal took a

lot of stories to the grave.


He was my only point of contact, the only soul I would speak to who would see the best in me and not the hideous shit I did in search for a drink.


Alcoholism creates monsters, and a caustic corrosion of the soul.


In this pic I was in pain, so much pain. I never told anyone, no one could know in case they saw what I didn't want them to see. A lost and vulnerable boy, who was scared. So I built a wall a big projection of holding on.


I was 28 and I was in the madness. Stealing, punching, cutting, burning, gouging, lying, hiding, dying, going dark.


If i hadn't gotten into detox when I did I think I would have dead within a week. The last hospital visit I had was when I had given myself 4th degree burns all across my arm. I ran from the hospital before they could detain me.


My point is, the man you know today came from from the man I was. I was falling apart maybe I had already fallen apart.


But I was not broken.


There are things I don't remember. Like my Mum saying I would talk to invisible people in the room, I would say I was being hunted by a giant steel ball that would roll up to my window at night, that the trees were talking to me.


Detox and rehab saved me. D o you know why i talk about vulnerability so much? Because I was so scared to look inside and see the scared little boy. He was such a risk to me. In many ways he governed my actions as an adult.


Imagine letting yourself be controlled by a child who was terrified, angry, in pain.


He was my biggest risk to the life I was building for myself. I had to go back there, I had to heal him. So I did. When I did that work I was vulnerable I was emotionally vulnerable. Over time as I healed he no longer became a risk to me but became an essential part of me being an adult. Where terrified vulnerability existed there was now a deepened connection to myself and a greater love and respect for myself.


My point around being vulnerable is exactly this.


The things we fear seeing inside ourselves are the biggest threats to our own identity.

To our wholeness.


Vulnerability and being prepared to go there is a powerful tool in developing self knowledge and self governance. It is in my beliefs the keys to the kingdom.


Thats why I can express this, my past is not a risk to me, my past thoughts are not a risk to me, I can share all of this with you because its not a risk to me.


Courage and vulnerability. As transformative qualities, one cannot exist without the other.


It doesn't matter if you're a man or woman. Vulnerability doesn't mean staying in a painful state it means understanding that that painful state is leading to something more powerful for you than you could possibly know.


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© HENRY JOHNSTONE

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