Accepting our Vulnerability Makes us Stronger

Vulnerability is inherent in human beings and cannot be defined as a sign of weakness, quite the opposite. Accepting one’s own vulnerability is a sign of strength. When we do, what we want is to find more functional ways of living and this, inexorably, results in a better society for all.

We are all vulnerable, even the superheroes who, despite their powers, dragged their childhood trauma and tried to overcome it. However, the imposition of exitist conditions that society determines causes people to shield themselves and put on armor to be immune to situations that may show their weak flanks.

Thus, an unbridled career is established to establish objectives and obtain achievements. Triumph and victory are conditions that enable success and that constitute the aspiration of human beings in the process of growth and social insertion. However, this process is not wrong, as long as it is at the service of a life organization.

The problem is that, sometimes, the career that is established to reach fame and achieve notoriety is not adequate. Being motivated to transform a project into a concrete fact does not imply despair for success , but to move forward gradually and patiently, while realizing personal dreams.

Vulnerability and complexity

Although the concept of vulnerability is an understandable term, it contains a remarkable complexity due to its numerous meanings, which can be understood in the light of different contexts. From a marriage crisis, the loss of an object we wanted to a tsunami come into its definition.

Vulnerability is a characteristic of human beings that seems evident from an anthropological perspective, but is bastardized by the exitist culture and the need for notoriety.

The notion of strength at all levels as a sine qua non condition , the approval of vulnerability with weakness, the defense of individualism and autonomy are conditions that have relegated it to a lower level. That is, today, it is often thought that it is degrading to be vulnerable. 

On the other hand, vulnerability is not only associated with the particular characteristics of a person who may be more susceptible to damage, but also has to do with the characteristics of the context. The socio-environmental, political, economic conditions, etc. They can expose people to vulnerable conditions.

The vulnerability associated with weakness describes a poor individual in capacity with few personal resources and few tools for social notoriety. This association exposes the fallacy: we have all gone through situations that profoundly affect our defenses to adapt.

Vulnerability and bioethics

The idea of ​​vulnerability has begun to be part of bioethical discourses, introducing the concept of vulnerable populations.

It should be noted that if the goal of bioethics has been the human being, it has always dealt with vulnerability because the human being is a vulnerable being : let us think that a baby from birth must be assisted by his parents both to feed and to protect himself, otherwise man would not survive. In fact, if we compare the human race with other mammals, there is a big difference in early autonomy.

There are entire populations whose members are more vulnerable than others. This follows the need for health planning and assistance to improve environmental conditions and reduce the risk margin.

Vulnerability can then be defined as the diminished ability of a person or a group of people to anticipate, cope with and resist the effects of a danger caused by nature or caused by human activity and to recover from them.

Situations of natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, forest fires; Human-induced situations such as murders, criminal acts, sexual abuse, sexual rapes, violence of all kinds, dictatorships, economic catastrophes, political crises, etc. They are part of the list of events that may disturb the stability of people.

Therefore, there are two types of human vulnerability :

  • The anthropological vulnerability , understood as a condition intrinsic fragility to humans as a biological.
  • The social and political vulnerability , understood by membership in the social group involving economic, cultural, environmental and political factors vulnerabilizan to humans.

The fact is not the fact

However, the fact that it makes vulnerable is not a traumatic event in itself, but will depend on the attribution of meaning granted by the person.

All the facts of our life go through the sieve of our cognitive structure ( belief system , scale of values, history, experiences, family and social rules, functions, etc.) that permeates what we perceive as meaning.

Think of an earthquake in San Francisco: is it the same earthquake for everyone? For someone who lives in that city it will have a possibly traumatic meaning, while for those who live on another end of the planet it will not have the same emotional impact. There are as many versions of the earthquake as people learned of the fact.

This distinction implies that a psycho boss can cause different reactions in his employees. One explodes, another stresses, another falls asleep and someone has a headache, while others do not happen, nor do they change. Some were symptomatically vulnerable, while others continued with their normal lives.