In general, being strong means holding back, keeping your feelings in check, avoiding pain, and ignoring or controlling your emotions. I’ve no doubt practiced it in survival mode, I’m sure. It has probably happened to all of us at times. Today, I remember a teacher of mine in Los Angeles repeating this phrase: “Your vulnerability is your greatest strength.” In other words, our vulnerability is our greatest strength. Because? Because life is not about winners or losers, but about having the courage to be and allow ourselves to be seen, even when we are not in control of the outcome, when we have doubts, when there is an opportunity to become better.

What we are, what we feel, turns out to be exactly who we are in that moment. And if we remove the judgment of whether we are right or wrong, and if we remove any comparison from the middle, we are left with an open heart, with a humble heart, ready to receive and maybe say, “I can grow.” Prisoners are no exception. Since I started, a certain group from one of the institutions have expressed their resistance by arriving late or not arriving, causing work to be suspended due to lack of quorum.

My persistence strengthened, I did not give up and little by little they became more disciplined until one day. On the day of the seminar on the topic of ego (The EGO Traps), before it began, the prisoner asked to say a few words. The one who never completed tasks, never read and never spoke, that day decided to chat. She apologized to the group and her servant, saying, “It was me who got the group drunk so they wouldn’t come, it was me, with my ego and my negativity, who didn’t grow and didn’t let anyone grow.” It was me.”

I couldn’t hold back tears of joy as her vulnerability touched mine. I told him that he was the teacher that day. He taught us the grace of vulnerability, that it’s better to be honest, that the present is an opportunity, the ability to rise, and that we can always start over. There was a lot of applause from his teammates and what he taught me will always stay with me, his vulnerability was his greatest strength because he was brave.