I watched ‘A Stranger on the Bridge’ recently. Some of you may have seen it – for those who have not it is a powerful channel 4 documentary about a young man (Jonny) who sat on the edge of Waterloo Bridge about to end his life, and his search for the stranger who took the time to talk him out of jumping.
Jonny experienced intense vulnerability as he sat on Waterloo Bridge, and he was met by the kindness of a stranger passing by who offered connection.
As the documentary unfolds, Jonny begins to realise that his search brings together people from all over the world – people are inspired by this random act of kindness. People are moved by Jonny – his vulnerability on the bridge, and also his willingness to share his vulnerability as he searches for this stranger. People begin to connect.
I start to make links as I see the relationship between vulnerability and connection. How often do we hear – to show my vulnerability shows my weakness? How often do we carry around our anxiety, our panic, our fears – and do not share them for fear of judgement? Vulnerable – not me, never me! Yet it seems that when we can bring the whole of ourselves, including our vulnerability into our relationships and our communities, then maybe we can be met and maybe we invite connection. Maybe those who meet us finally know who they are meeting. Maybe, at last there is no performance between us. And as our connections grow, perhaps our vulnerabilities lessen.
It is a echo of counselling – as an expression of vulnerability invites realness, and connection and empathy is therefore possible and grows between two people, change begins.
So maybe our vulnerabilities are worth sharing, and within this sharing maybe Waterloo Bridge once again becomes simply a connection – between one side of the river to the other.
The documentary is worth watching – take a look. If you want to explore further there is also an interesting lecture on Ted Talks at http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability which blends vulnerability and connection with a lovely dose of humour. Enjoy!