Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection and the path to the feeling
– Brené Brown
Vulnerability has a bad reputation in today’s world where so much importance is placed on power over others. It is believed that if we push a little harder, lean-in a little further, or work a little smarter, we will get all that we want. Success is measured in having more and climbing the ladder to higher levels of success. The idea of vulnerability – living in uncertainty, taking unknown risk, and allowing
emotional exposure – is an anathema.
Vulnerability is an emotion. As with any emotion, it is neither good nor bad. It
is not always a positive, pleasant experience, nor is it always a dark, painful
one. It is the core of all emotions and feelings. To believe that feeling vulnerable is a weakness is to believe that all feelings are weakness. To be human is to feel; therefore, if we reject vulnerability, we reject being human and the very thing which gives life texture and meaning.
There are five important things to know in order to understand the value
and worth of vulnerability and how it can enrich your life.
1. It takes courage to be vulnerable.
It is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a sign of bravery. Research shows that the best way to measure strength, courage and fearlessness is by one’s ability to be vulnerable.
2. Vulnerability is inescapable.
To be alive is to be vulnerable. Brene Brown states, “You do vulnerability knowingly or vulnerability does you.” She believes it is much easier to cause pain than to feel pain; therefore when you do not acknowledge your vulnerability, you take your pain and act it out on others.
Another way unacknowledged vulnerable gets expressed is through self
punishment. As odd as it may sound, it is easier to maintain old behaviors than to face the pain inside cased by old wounds.
3.Vulnerability brings with it benefits.
To love is to risk, but without love, life is empty. Vulnerability is the birthplace of connection, joy, belonging, courage, empathy, creativity and
love. It is the source of accountability, authenticity and the path to a
deeper and more meaningful life.
4. To be vulnerable is to be powerful.
We spend time hiding our feelings and desires. It takes concentration and
energy to suppress feelings and to put forth a false front. It makes us inattentive, dulls our thinking and clouds our judgment. When our energy is tied up in self protection, we give away our power to hear, think and decide. It makes it hard to negotiate, influence and effect the outcome of interactions. It becomes virtually impossible for us to get what we want.
When we express our vulnerabilities others see us in a different light. It builds trust and openness. It frees all that energy to have caring, powerful and effective
5. Vulnerability creates openness.
When we are vulnerable, we become open to our most authentic selves. It
makes it possible to have a deeper sense of who we are, our abilities and our
strengths. We are more open to those around us, which leads to connection. It opens us to the beauty of the world and all it has to offer. This gives life meaning and leads to a happier more fulfilling life.
Fear, anxiety and criticism is always present in life. Fear is a great restrictive force which will cause you to stop before you become who you are. It prevents you from obtaining your heart’s desire and reaching your goals, Rather than trying to avoid pain, the best course of action is to face the fear and move forward. At times, Nike had the right idea, “Just do it!” Or as I sometimes say, “Don’t feel, don’t think, just do it.”
Once the ground work is done and the plan is made, fear and second guessing will not improve the situation. It will only cause you to stop your forward motion. Being vulnerable, standing up, facing your fears and doing it anyway
builds your courage and resilience.