Vulnerability. A funky word and a hard thing to show. Being vulnerable is defined as one who is capable of being wounded or hurt. One could be hurt by weapons, emotions, or criticism.
Would you say that you are a vulnerable person? Do you like to be open with others about your emotions? Or would you consider yourself not so vulnerable? Maybe you like to keep things in because you think it would soften your “tough” identity if you let those experiences and emotions out. Or maybe you are just nervous of how people would respond…
Truth is, we are all a little nervous in some way or another to be vulnerable. It is hard. It is scary. It is intimidating.
Yet… it is authentic. It is healthy. It can be freeing and it can be life giving. (Do you think I’m wrong? keep reading!)
Margarita Tartakovsky wrote three important myths about vulnerability. Let’s lean into those:
1. Vulnerability is weakness
- Vulnerability is actually the opposite of weakness. When we share emotions with others, we are being strong and courageous. It opens us up to joy, love, creativity and adventure.
- “Sounds like truth and feels like courage”
2. Some of us don’t experience vulnerability
- News flash people, life is vulnerable! We all experience it.
- You don’t make a choice to be vulnerable, you choose how to respond when vulnerablility greets you.
3. Vulnerability means spilling your secrets
- Vulnerability is all about honesty and trust. We share our emotions and experiences with those we feel have earned the right to hear them.
- It is worth it to be yourself. It is worth is to connect with others.
Being vulnerable looks differently in different parts of the world. Let me give you some examples.
Often seen and studied in American teens, it was found that American teens care A LOT about what people view of them, specifically their friends. What social media portrays of them, how their bodies should look, how their grades define them… so it is harder for them to be absolutely honest with one another about what is going on in their lives. They are more scared to be vulnerable with friends than anyone else.
Lets take a trip across the globe and look at China real quick. Chinese parents use “psychological control as a child-rearing tactic.” They use shame as a model for teaching children right from wrong. The parents tend to focus on the “negative behavior of the child.” Because of this, “children are terrified to be open with their parents about life-struggles or decisions they made that they knew were wrong.” They are most scared to be vulnerable with parents and family than anyone else.
Author Brene Brown stated this, “And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of feeling hurt. But as I look back on my own life and what Daring Greatly has meant to me, I can honestly say that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as believing that I’m standing on the outside of my life looking in and wondering what it would be like if I had the courage to show up and let myself be seen.”
What do you believe about vulnerability now? How powerful do you really think that it can be? Be bold and courageous today! I promise you will not regret it.