When we go about our day to day lives we tend to be comfortable sharing a limited part of ourselves, lacking the bravery to talk openly about where we fall short. When it comes to our shortcomings, insecurities, or our failures, the walls go up and enter our survival reflexes the fight, flight or freeze response. Let’s take a minute to talk about something uncomfortable; vulnerability. After talking to a number of friends, it’s safe to say that each person will have a different take.
Here is my definition:
Vulnerability, to me, is the place where you are naked, in your’ mind, body and soul. Where your inner truth and what you express to the world meet in a perfect union.
Many people perceive vulnerability to be a weakness and I would like to challenge that notion and flip it on its head. A vulnerability is essential for growth and connection in every facet of the human experience.
Ladies, how many of us are guilty of spreading ourselves too thin, of not being open and honest about what we want with our partner or friends, or find ourselves building walls up for fear of betrayal. Many a time we believe that in closing the door to vulnerability, we are protecting ourselves. When in actual fact we are closing ourselves from deeper connections, and increasing the risk of self-sabotage. When we refuse to acknowledge our true emotions, when we suppress them or ignore them we stunt our emotional and spiritual growth.
Brene Brown, Author of The Gifts of Imperfection, I Thought It Was Just Me, and Connections, has studied vulnerability for over a decade said “Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.”. Without being courageous enough to be vulnerable, we can put a roadblock on our happiness.
So how do we begin to practice vulnerability if we have never tried it before? Start small and build from the ground up.
Be conscious and mindful of the feelings and needs that you have a habit of internalizing every day. Practice expressing yourself openly and without judgment. If this is new to you, try it first with the people that you love and trust.
If you are someone who likes to appear tough and intimidating or untouchable. Try admitting where you fall short and seek support, no one is made of steel. At times where you feel scared, anxious or overwhelmed take the wall down for a moment and ask for support.
Practice saying no more often. If you’re like me, you tend to want to do anything and everything for a friend, family member, colleague or partner. Often feeling guilty in saying no. Saying no can often times mean honoring yourself, your needs, wants and alone time. Saying nowhere a ‘no’ due more often can be a very empowering experience.
And finally, go out of your way to strike up a conversation. Vulnerability is largely about getting out of your comfort zone. We’ve all been in a situation where there has been a prolonged silence between us and a stranger, in which it would be fitting to have a conversation but neither person has the courage or confidence to initiate it.
If you would like to know more about incorporating vulnerability into your everyday life and learning about how embracing vulnerability has empowered and inspired others I encourage you to look at the works of Brene Brown who has studied this area for over 10 years and has written a series of books on the topic.
This was a challenging piece to write, a big thanks to the many friends who offered their advice and perspectives which inspired me very much in the topic of vulnerability.