I wrote a post awhile back where I wrote about the importance of vulnerability in romantic relationships.
Since then I have come to the understanding that the willingness to be vulnerable surpasses just romantic relationships. In fact, I think that vulnerability is the key to happiness, contentment, and a full life.
Author and researcher Brene Brown calls it a “whole hearted life” in her book “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead”. In this book, she discusses the importance of vulnerability in all aspects of life, from romantic relationships to parenting. Her book (which is a MUST READ by the way) expanded my view of vulnerability when it comes to interacting with the world.
So what does it mean to be vulnerable?
To be vulnerable is be honest with yourself.
It is hard to admit when something bothers you. It also hard to admit that you have certain feelings or opinions that you may not want to face. To deal with this we self-medicate, pretend and put up barriers that keep people from getting to know the “real” us. Self-reflection is the best form of vulnerability. If you can’t be vulnerable with yourself, how can you be vulnerable with others?
To be vulnerable is to embrace your imperfections.There is a sense of shame associated with being imperfect that so many of us deal with on a day-to-day basis. I think sometimes we honestly forget that we are fallible human beings who are going to make mistakes. Instead, we walk through life trying to make everything run perfectly, thinking that “perfect” = good. If everything is going well and we are doing everything right, then we can be happy. When the truth is, there is joy in falling short, because we have the ability to pick up the next day, learn, and grow from our mistakes.
To be vulnerable is to give yourself permission to be uncool.
If I want to watch episodes of Full House on syndication on the weekend while I knit in my Hello Kitty pajamas, I CAN. You know why? Because I am not afraid to be uncool. Okay..I know it’s not high school anymore and we say that all of this “cool/uncool” popular kids stuff doesn’t exist once you leave high school. Unfortunately, that’s a little lie we tell ourselves to convince us of our maturity. We still alienate people who are different or don’t fit certain standards. We still have ridiculous ideas of what is cool or not and are always the first to judge others. Why not spend a little more time enjoying what you love instead of judging what everyone else is doing?
To be vulnerable is to try the things you are afraid of.
The smartest thing anyone has told me this year is, “If you are a little bit afraid of something, that’s when you know you should do it,” Whatever you are nervous about, DO. If you feel completely comfortable about a certain job or task or whatever it is, maybe it’s something that will be enjoyable for you, but won’t necessarily help you grow. When you try something that’s out of your comfort zone, you give yourself the bandwidth to grow. You will be surprised how much your capacity for new experiences will grow once you keep doing this!
To be vulnerable is to be able to know and ask for what you need.Know what you personally need to make you happy and content. Know what type of communication you prefer in a relationship. Know what makes you feel happy, sad, jealous, frustrated, unsupported. Then surround yourself with people who support your positive feelings and do not bring out negative habits in you. In addition, know what you need to make yourself a better you. Is it more sleep? Certain exercises? Doing crafts on the weekend with your cat? Whatever it is, do it and don’t apologize for it!
Vulnerability is not a weakness, it is a strength.
To be vulnerable is to be courageous.
Thanks for reading!
Check out Brene's awesome Ted Talk on vulnerability here: