Opinion: I am valuable even though I’m vulnerable

Althia Barnett, Coproduction Group Member, reflects on our ‘Valuable AND Vulnerable’ project and questions the language of  ‘vulnerability’.

When it comes to Covid-19 I find I am vulnerable because the Government classifies me as such, even though I don’t feel in any way like a vulnerable person.

Us humans are naturally social species. While we crave closeness, we sometimes resist vulnerability, the very trait that makes this connection possible. I know from experience that shielding and being vulnerable doesn’t mean you have to be lonely and it doesn’t mean you don’t have value.

When I feel valued I know my self-worth increases and I am much more likely to get involved with experiences that are of value to my community. I choose to be valuable in so many ways – offering my services to someone who is less able to do things for themselves. For example, last week I helped a friend who is unwell by making her some soup and dropping it to her door. I know I could start a group that could help in my community, that would also benefit myself. The group could meet up following social distance rules and go for walks at a permitted distance.

Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you should be shut into your home without seeing anyone, relying on someone else to do everything for you. People who are classed as vulnerable still have a lot of value to offer society as a whole.