The word itself brings to mind nails on a chalkboard, it’s rife with discomfort. It’s cringeworthy.
I will take my dreams, the love of my life, all that this life has to offer, but hold the vulnerability please.
We’ll just file that ideology under “quickest ways to stay stagnant in life.”
As icky as the notion of being vulnerable is, the act of it contains a mountain of power.
I love this quote by Brené Brown. (if you don’t know who she is, I highly recommend investigating her work.)
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.” -Brené Brown
Yowzers. PoundsignPowerPacked! Everything within that quote hits me so deeply. It’s everything I want, and if vulnerability is the vehicle, I want to be riding shotgun.
Locking vulnerability away in the basement is equivalent to locking yourself in the basement. Growth, freedom and authenticity, simply cannot happen without it.
(Huge bummer, because ask anyone and they will say vulnerability is a real suckfest.)
Why do we want to run for the hills at the mention of vulnerability?
Because, it’s scary as fook, folks.
I talked to a handful of my friends and asked them what vulnerability is to them, these were some of their responses:
- …admitting failure.
- …trying something totally new and foreign to you.
- …initiating sex with your husband.
- …sharing your dreams with loved ones.
- …losing your libido.
- …acknowledging that you aren’t happy with your career.
- …sharing your art.
- …not knowing anyone at a party.
- …putting yourself out there.
- …trying to make friends in your 30’s.
- …being a mom.
- …constantly comparing yourself to other women and never feeling up to snuff.
I’m sure this list can go on and on. Just reading it probably brings you a little discomfort. We all relate with what it feels like to make ourselves vulnerable, but we still go to great lengths in convincing ourselves that we are the only ones living on the Isla de Vulnerable.
There is power and healing in sharing our vulnerabilities
During this conversation with my friends I noticed something; the more we shared our vulnerabilities the less scary they became. I saw a common thread between all of us, which was:
None of us have all our shit together.
Let me repeat that profound truth ladies. None of us have all our shit together.
I was also reaffirmed in how much love there is around us. Within this conversation, there was no judgement, or ridicule and our understanding of each other grew. We are closer now because of that conversation. Am I saying to post your deepest insecurities on Facebook? Absolutely not. In fact, please don’t do that. That is like a handwritten invitation to all those wicked little trolls out there.
I don’t want you to exploit your vulnerabilities but I do want you to start practicing airing them out a little bit. They won’t go away just by saying them out loud, but a little bit of their power will be stripped when you realize you are not alone. We all know what it is like to feel vulnerable. Hiding behind our carefully crafted masks is not the answer.
Pro Tip: Sharing our vulnerabilities requires intentionality and it demands our discretion. There is this weird little balancing act between doing your soul good and doing it harm.
I truly don’t want the censored version of my friends and family. I want to see the real person, otherwise, what am I really looking at? Make believe? And, as scary as it is, I want people to see the real me too, not some suped up rendition, or worse yet, a smaller version of me.
What about you? Do you want the world to see your limited self, or do you want to blow our collective socks off with how unique and utterly badass you are?
Another dose of wisdom, brought you by Brené Brown:
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”
GAH!! I love that. The courage to show up and be seen! You are the only you! Let the world see an honest view of who that is, flaws and all. There is brilliance there.
We live in a society that often equates vulnerability with weakness when nothing can be further from the truth. True vulnerability is an act so courageous one should always feel mighty when deploying it…mighty and humbled. A truly odd couple.
The harm of not allowing vulnerability to squeak past our armor
I’m going to tell it to you straight here; the world deserves to see you. More than that, you deserve to be seen. Hand to god, there is nothing more beautiful than an honest reflection of your humanness. If you are on the path to self-discovery; finding deep happiness, freedom, authenticity, grabbing hold of your dreams, (and I hope you are!) than vulnerability is a necessity. It’s not negotiable. I want you to trust this process. You let go a little, allow yourself to be known, and you will be rewarded. (The people around you will too.) Step out on that limb and be seen!
“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset. Be vulnerable: quake and shake in your boots with it.” -Stephen Russell, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Guide for the Urban Warrior
Let that sink in; vulnerability is your greatest asset. To be vulnerable is the great act of owning who you are. Without it, you are selling yourself short. Acknowledging where you are vulnerable and moving through those vulnerabilities can only take you closer to living your best life.
Without vulnerability your dreams will forever be just out of reach. You may feel like you are protecting yourself, but in reality, you are only doing yourself harm.
Get out there and let us see who you really are.
You are a treasure trove of awesomeness. Believe that. This is your one shot at life, don’t waste it locked up in a prison of your own making.
Please and thank you.