Why Showing Vulnerability Is A Good Thing
“What shames us, what we most fear to tell, does not set us apart from others; it binds us together if only we can take the risk to speak it.” – Starhawk.
For the sake of having a brilliant day, I will often kick the morning off by choosing a word that speaks to how I want to feel through the day. Often it’s audacious, or kind, or brave, or vibrant; but at the moment I’ve been choosing to feel vulnerable.
Vulnerability gets a bad rap. Why, though?
Fear of vulnerability is what keeps us from showing all parts of ourselves to the world. We are so afraid of being judged that instead we apply a facade, play small, stay in our comfort zones, and withhold dusty gems – gems that when uncovered may have the potential to change the world.
We are led to believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness, but it is actually the opposite. To be vulnerable means to be open, to be exposed, to have all parts of you out on the table for everyone to see – that is total contrast to weak. That shows courage.
It’s only because we personally brand some parts of ourselves as ‘good’ and some parts of ourselves as ‘bad’ that we resist being vulnerable.
We all do it, and I am certainly not excluding myself from hearing the brunt of this rant. In fact, I’m speaking to myself mostly. I’ve been terrified of public speaking for as long as I can remember. I was so relieved when I graduated university because I thought that it would be the end of having to speak in public. Standing solo with the eyes and expectations of a crowd burning through you is the ultimate form of vulnerability. To me, I never feel more naked. It’s ironic that it now looks like public speaking is going to be part of my career.
I had a choice. I could choose to prevent the feeling of vulnerability by either turning down the opportunities to speak or by standing on stage and pretending to be someone I’m not; or I could choose to be exposed. The latter is scary, but the former wouldn’t do anyone any favours.
If I censored parts of my personality, or decided that I – just the way I am – am not good enough, it would be a double disservice. Not only would I be sending a clear message to myself that I am not worthy and there are parts of me that I don’t love, but I would also be withholding something that may be of benefit to someone else. There may just be someone in the audience whose life is altered by something I say or do.
This doesn’t just go for someone speaking from a stage. We have the power to make a difference every day just by showing up, being vulnerable, being exposed, and laying all parts of ourselves on the table – both the brilliant parts and the parts that we consider shutting away from the world. When we see someone’s vulnerability, we instantly feel intimately connected to that person because our soul can recognise theirs.
The most important step when it comes to healing, recovery, thriving, and living out the highest and most inspired expression of yourself is self love. And the first step of self love is vulnerability – exposing all parts of you without judgment, without censorship, and with complete shining acceptance.
This TED talk by Brene Brown is what sparked by love of vulnerability. Your day will be made better by watching:
How do you feel about vulnerability? It is something you embrace or resist at all costs?
Positive affirmation for the day: I am proud to show off every single part of me.
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