Vulnerability, noun: “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”
Also Vulnerability: the increase of your self-worth, the aid of your innovation and motivation, the provoking of your inner compassion and the ability to hold accountability for your emotions.
It’s the power of vulnerability that heals us, grows us, connects us and makes room for more meaningful relationships in our lives. It permits others to see a part of themselves in you, creating deeper connections, greater humility and ultimately, reflecting our humanness.
So, what is vulnerability?
“I am struggling.”
“You have upset me.”
“I love you.”
To become okay with your vulnerability, you need to accept that you’re worthy of love. You also need to accept that it’s okay when things don’t work out the way that you hoped.
An exchange in vulnerability is this: ‘this is me, here I am, my fears, my affection, my secrets, be careful with them.’ In return, this invites ‘I see you, I witness you, your thoughts are safe here and this is me.’
Vulnerability is the core of our emotions. It is consciously choosing to not hide your emotions or desires from other people. Vulnerability is trust, closeness and a true sense of belonging. Relationships will only thrive with openness.
It’s no surprise that many people are afraid of accessing their vulnerability, but what so many of us don’t realise; it is the key to happiness, security and love.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
– Brene Brown
There is a deep need for a wider understanding of the conditions that people (especially men) have experienced to stay silent, and to not share their emotions.
If men were more supported to be in touch with their vulnerability (and remembering most world leaders are men), the world might be a nicer place.
If the major leaders and decision makers of this world were to get in touch with their vulnerability and understand their drivers for the decisions they make, I believe we would see a very different world.
Weakness or strength?
Vulnerability isn’t a weakness, we frame it as one. We’ve trained ourselves to be ‘strong’, to ‘protect’ ourselves from being hurt. But we’ve also shielded ourselves from pure love, intimacy and connection.
They all come to us through the same door. When it’s closed to one, it’s closed to all.
Many people do not feel comfortable with being vulnerable through fear of others misinterpreting it as weakness. Vulnerability looks different for everyone, but some examples are:
- Telling others when they’ve done something to upset you.
- Sharing something personal with someone about yourself.
- Setting boundaries with compassion versus from a place of blame.
- Having the willingness to feel pride or shame.
- Reaching out to someone you would like to reconnect with.
- Putting yourself out there and risking rejection.
So really, it’s the ultimate bravery. Bravery is the driving force of connection. It’s impossible to connect to your fellow humans without it.
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
What does accessing your vulnerability give you?
- It connects you with other people.
- It increases your self-worth.
- It aids your innovation and motivation.
- It provokes your compassion.
- It enables you to hold accountability for your emotions.
True Connection — To share your pain, your difficult experiences, your burdens, your insecurities, your failures, mistakes or imperfections with another supports you in feeling freer, lighter and brings clarity while forming a connection with another.
It allows us to feel less alone and isolated.
Permission Giving — Sharing your vulnerabilities makes room for others to share their own, therefore supporting other people to feel lighter with greater connection and understanding.
Neuroscience — Our nervous systems will not allow us to connect unless we feel safe. When you feel psychologically safe enough to share your vulnerability, you enter a place where you feel you’re not going to be shamed, blamed, humiliated or rejected.
This sense of safety reduces stress chemicals and releases endorphins. If created on a regular basis, strengthens patterns of activity, building long-term sign transmissions.
It allows you to develop in order to be able to emotionally regulate yourself better. We are wired to connect with each other as human beings and it supports us remaining more chill and balanced.
Growth and Development — It takes vulnerability to develop ourselves. We need to own the difficult parts of ourselves, take responsibility to change our unhealthy behaviours, attitudes or perceptions. We have to acknowledge them within ourselves and that means being vulnerable with ourselves.
Accessing your vulnerability is the starting point – the seed to make the changes we need to grow into conscious and aware people.
How To Manifest Your Vulnerability
Trust those close to your heart — Allow your tender side to be seen by those you trust. This will encourage them to open up to you. It forms natural trust.
Bravery is a quality of strength and you must be able to stand strong when you ask for your needs to be met by another and when they are unable or unwilling to do so.
Practicing vulnerability reinforces your inner strength because you will be strong enough to A) show your weakness and B) be strong enough to pick yourself up when not supported.
Understand your weaknesses — Consider a weakness you feel you have. Contemplate how this weakness might actually be a strength in another situation or if used differently.
On the other hand, you can appreciate your sensitivity and the empathy it gives you access to, how it makes you able to feel, hear and see things that others might miss.
When you have strengthened yourself with personal boundaries, you can use your empathetic awareness to understand or help others.
Create balance with non-attachment — by being willing to walk towards a challenge with courage and self-belief, but without any attachment to the final results.
Courage is the willingness to be afraid and act anyway — Letting go of the need to self-protect is the first step toward living in a balance of bravery and vulnerability. Ultimately, this balance is what creates an inner security.
Lean into discomfort and understand where your weak points are and dive into the reality of those fears. Are they real? Do they exist? Or have you built them up in your mind?
“There was only one variable that separated the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging and the people who really struggle for it. And that was, the people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they’re worthy of love and belonging. That’s it. They believe they’re worthy.” Love and appreciate yourself first, and the rest will follow.”
– Brené Brown