As with everything in life, there is an inner and an outer component. Whilst normally people focus on the external aspects of life, it is important to also remember their internal parts. Again, the aim of this project being to find a balance between the inner and outer aspects of ourselves and life.

Strength today is seen as physical/external: lifting weights in the gym, building muscle, endurance sports and so forth. Physical strength and health are important, of course, but without a correct balance of their inner counterpart, are not useful. Although there are numerous references to internal emotional strength amongst people (‘being strong’, ‘get over something’), these are most often misunderstood.

Vulnerability is what internal strength really is. This needs to be matched with external physical strength for a person to be truly ‘strong’. What does this mean?

Let’s examine these two quotes:

“In the end, we return to the question, just how much do you love truth? Do you really love truth or are you just curious? Do you love it enough to rebuild your understanding to conform with a reality that doesn’t fit your current beliefs, and doesn’t feel 120% happy? Do you love truth enough to continue seeking even when it hurts, when it reveals aspects of yourself (or human society, or the universe) that are shocking, complex and disturbing, or humbling, glorious and amazing – or even, when truth is far beyond human mind itself?” – Scott Mandelker

“If you enter into healing, be prepared to lose everything. Healing is a ravaging force to which nothing seems sacred or inviolate. As my original pain releases itself in healing, it rips to shreds the structure and foundations I built in weakness and ignorance.” -Ely Fuller, The Courage to Heal.

What do these have to do with being vulnerable? They both indicate being able to let go, being able to shed pieces of ourselves and our beliefs that we realise are no longer true. Vulnerability, in regards to self development, is the strength required to let go and rebuild. Let go of what is false and rebuild in truth, along with the objectivity to distinguish between both. The word vulnerable itself comes from latin ‘vulnerare’ – to hurt, to wound, to injure. Being vulnerable, in a more spiritual sense, is to injure/wound them aspects that we come to realise are not true. To do this requires a massive amount of strength and courage; hence why internal strength is vulnerability (this process of of wounding).

As we may have formed close attachments to our lies, to our false beliefs, it can be incredibly painful or difficult to suddenly stop believing in these. This includes our own ego, our own ‘personality’, our interpretation of the world around us. It does take incredible strength to continue after this inner demolition, as well as to let the demolition take place.

This needs to be paired with external physical strength: having a strong body (in good health/fit). These are the internal and external parts of “being strong”.

Can we fight our minds as persistently as we fight our bodies? If our muscles get stronger and more resistant with training, can our inner strength not also be built in the same way?

Maybe it is only when we lose our expectations, drop our masks, that we are open to see the truth. And perhaps it is also seeking us, but cannot find us as we hide behind our masks of social conditioning and behind our false selves. They say that the truth hides in plain sight, but maybe we are the ones that are hiding from it. I wonder if, on some level, what we seek is also seeking us.