on the importance of vulnerability (even though being vulnerable sucks)

a little hand in an adult hand

 Vul·ner·a·bil·i·ty

the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

When do a lot of people feel vulnerable?

  • when you ask someone out
  • when you have to do some public speaking
  • when you tell someone something honest about yourself
  • when you tell someone something very personal about yourself
  • when you tell someone you love them
  • social situations like parties or bars
  • talking to new people
  • writing honestly
  • intimacy
  • posting something on social media
  • making phone calls
  • job interviews
  • when you need to know your worth and hype yourself up to other people

So basically people feel vulnerable in instances when they have to share a piece of themselves with someone else.

But the thing is when we, ourselves, are vulnerable we tend to think of it as weakness. But when we see someone else being vulnerable – in art, in music, in writing, in public speaking, in just being honest with a friend or significant other – we view them as brave.

Why do we do that? Why do we consider other people to be brave when they are vulnerable but we consider our own selves to be weak?

"Be Brave" written on a chalkboard
Photo by Joyce McCown on Unsplash

When Aly Raisman stood up against Larry Nassar in court, that was brave. 

When Chrissy Teigen opened up about her postpartum depression, that was brave. 

When Gabrielle Union opened up about her struggle with infertility, that was brave. 

But all of those things were also very vulnerable

They are synonymous. Vulnerability and bravery. 

The reason I wanted to write a bit about this topic is because I, personally, really struggle with letting myself be vulnerable. I am perfectly content with keeping up my 30 feet high, 5 feet wide concrete walls every time someone new walks my way. But while that maybe stops potential threats from coming my way, it also blocks any potential opportunities, gifts, blessings, and joys. Because vulnerability is ultimately the birthplace of growth. 

Or as Brené Brown has said, 

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”

It is a very necessary emotion and action to feel and to take part in in order to achieve personal victories.


So how can you let yourself be vulnerable? Especially when you are someone more inclined to keep your walls up? 

Start with small things. Start a small conversation with someone you work with but maybe don’t talk to that often. Or start a conversation with someone in one of your classes if you are a student. Compliment someone walking by or someone standing next to you in the grocery store. 

Start doing small things by yourself. Take a walk somewhere by yourself, or go sit in a coffee shop for a while by yourself. 

Keep in mind: in most circumstances other people are not thinking that anything is weird or bad or uncomfortable when you are talking to them. No one is paying you extra attention when you are sitting in that coffee shop alone. Everything is completely fine and normal. Remind yourself of that. 

When it comes to close friends or a significant other or a sibling: start by telling them something honest or personal about yourself that you have not told them before. It’s okay to start small. 

Get more comfortable with rejection. Apply for that job you’re interested in and give it all you’ve got – but also know that if it doesn’t work out it is okay. There are other opportunities out there. If asking someone out on an actual date is too big of a step, start by asking a newer friend to go to the movies or grab a drink during happy hour. If they’re not available when you ask, don’t take it personally. Because odds are, it’s not.

And honestly, even if it is – brush it off and know that for the right friends and right people you are exactly who you are supposed to be. 

Start with little things and work your way up. Create a vulnerability bucket list and start checking things off. Keep track of your accomplishments and one day you’ll look back and be amazed at the opportunities and moments of growth that being vulnerable has provided for you. 


Long story short: it’s okay to be vulnerable.

“Don’t keep your heart safe, be vulnerable.” — John Mayer

And not only that – it’s important to be vulnerable. It’s necessary. So listen to John Mayer. And also Brené Brown. In fact I’ve attached her ted talk on the power of vulnerability below if you want some extra inspiration. 


 

When do you feel vulnerable?

How do you let yourself be vulnerable?

 

“I understand now that the vulnerability I’ve always felt is the greatest strength a person can have. You can’t experience life without feeling life. What I’ve learned is that being vulnerable to somebody you love is not a weakness, it’s a strength.” — Elisabeth Shue

pinterest graphic

 

— a twenty something

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