How many times recently were you brave enough to do something where you might look stupid or unsure about what you were doing? That action I would define as courage.
The opposite of courage is vulnerability. Merriam-Webster defines vulnerability as: 1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. 2. Open to attack or damage.
Brené Brown, the researcher who studies vulnerability, defines it as living with uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. In her research on the subject she explains why, as a society, we run away from vulnerability at almost every chance we get.
I could relate, for most of my life I’ve been uncomfortable with uncertainty, risk and feeling emotional pain. I’ve operated on the belief that I should show my strengths and hide my weaknesses.
I’ve hidden behind this wall in an effort to hide my vulnerability. The idea of allowing people to see me fully felt uncomfortable and scary. What if they didn’t like me? What if they judged me? What if they thought badly of me as a result?
It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve been able to look vulnerability in the face and smile. It’s taken a lot of self-love for me to understand that allowing my vulnerability to show through creates a much stronger relationship with myself because it forces me to understand my thoughts and emotions on a deeper level.
As I dig deeper into my own fear of vulnerability, I’m beginning to understand that so much of it stemmed from fears found in childhood. The vulnerability is the part of me that was covered up after an embarrassing or negative experience. It’s the part of me that I believed to be unworthy, weak and even shameful.
And as I uncover these emotions, they feel raw, uncomfortable and overwhelming. They are not easy to sit with, leaving me with a queasy feeling inside my body.
However, the good news is, the more love and presence I bring to these feelings of vulnerability, the more I see the false beliefs associated with them. These uncomfortable feelings are exactly what keeps me from allowing myself to be vulnerable. These feelings keep me small. When I release the fear, vulnerability automatically rebrands itself as courage, and that feels so much better.
3 Unexpected Values Professionals Find When Expressing Vulnerability
- Step into Courage.
Allow yourself to feel the feelings of vulnerability and recognize the fears and false beliefs that have kept you from these feelings. Allow yourself to release the fear and step into your authentic self courageously. Ask yourself what beliefs keep you in fear and prevent you from being vulnerable?
- Build Authentic Connection with Others.
When you allow yourselves to be vulnerable, you are being authentic. And sharing yourself authentically to others is to connect with others in the truest sense. It’s been proven that people trust and accept those who are vulnerable and are not afraid to fail. When you allow yourselves and others to see your imperfections, you build authentic connections. Ask yourself why are you afraid of failing, or being less than perfect.
- Release Your Self-Judgement. When your inner critic is fearful of others seeing your weakness, missteps, and embarrassment, it holds you back and keeps you stuck and unable to be your very best version of yourself. Releasing your self-judgement allows you to quiet your inner critic. It allows you to let go of non-truths and establish a level playing field when stepping into your vulnerability. Ask yourself what non-truth your inner critic continues to tell you?
When I began to see vulnerability as a best friend instead of a deadly foe, I was able to move out of my negative self-talk, regret, and sabotaging behaviors. I began to be honest with myself about my limiting beliefs and I become more courageous in allowing myself to be seen for who I truly am. As I allowed my truth to be seen, my relationships with others deepened. As I allow venerability into my life, I transcend my limits and stretch into the life I truly desire.
If your interested in digging deeper into vulnerability, I highly recommend visiting YouTube and listening to one or more of Brené Brown’s inspiring talks.