By Cora Enright
"Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they are never weakness." ~ Brene Brown
Anyone else feel super inspired to go out and change the world after listening to a good TED Talk? That's how I felt after first listening to Brene Brown's talk on The Power of Vulnerability. (I have linked the video below. Seriously, watch it later if you have time.) If you struggle with allowing yourself to be completely open, honest and vulnerable with yourself and others, you are most definitely not the only one. Brene's talk allows us to see how much we have to lose when we combat our vulnerabilities with numbness. Here's some pretty motivating ways that we can turn our thinking around to see vulnerability less as a sign of weakness and more as one of incredible strength.
1. We build courage when we take steps to become our most vulnerable self.
Do not let anyone try and trick you into thinking that becoming your most vulnerable self is going to be an easy task. If it was just that easy, wouldn’t everyone do it? Fear is what holds most of us back from being completely open and honest with others. What will this person think of me? What if my ideas sound stupid? With great courage comes the power to be vulnerable. Life has some pretty heavy stuff in it, and I can most certainly relate to the fear of speaking out about real issues that burden us so much we feel sick. It is when we let our pride go and embrace who we are and what we have to offer that we throw fear to the wind. While being courageous is not always comfortable, it comes with practice and is a sure sign of positive growth and change.
2. Feeling alone? Well, now you’re not the only one.
One thing that we all have in common is the presence of our imperfections. It is the way that we were made and no one has escaped the capacity to be imperfect. If that isn’t a relief to us all then I don’t know what is. When we open up about our imperfections, being real and honest with others, we allow for constant reminders that we are all in this together. When we recognize that there are approximately 6 billion people that are in the same boat as us, it gets easier to accept ourselves and feel we are strong without seeing vulnerability or imperfection as a sign of weakness.
3. Vulnerability allows for us to overcome perfectionism and cure shame.
Recognizing the fact that we are always going to be imperfect is hard enough, but what about the shame that comes with the repercussions of our imperfections? There is power in letting go of the burdens of our past decisions or previous mistakes. We have no use holding onto the feelings of shame when they hinder us from progress moving forward. When we release the past and embrace the present moment, we make it easier on ourselves to move forward knowing that we will mess up. And you know what? That's okay. When we have compassion for ourselves and our own inability to achieve perfection, we are then able to empathize with the feelings of others which is a strength that at times has power beyond recognition.
4. Vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity.
What is it about you that makes you special? The person sitting around the conference table might be afraid the speak up about an idea that she has in fear that her coworkers will reject her. This is a perfect example of how our fear of being vulnerable can actually hold us back from expressing our strengths. We all have something very unique that we can bring to the table, and there is no telling what we will be able to contribute if we are not afraid of rejection or humiliation. Creativity will always stem from the courage to give it all that we have no matter the reaction or conclusion.
5. With vulnerability comes deeply rooted connection with others.
The opportunity we have as humans to interact with one another in relationship is one of the most rewarding things this life has to offer. I love that I am able to do life beside other people, especially since this life was never promised to be easy. Times can get rough, and sometimes really hard things are thrown our way, but thank goodness we weren't designed to deal with these things alone. There is nothing more awe-inspiring to me then sharing my life's disappointments, joys, excitement, and fears with the people that I have been so blessed with. Raw connection with others comes when we don’t try and pretend and we don’t try and hide. Being vulnerable also allows us to love and to love without limitations. Letting people know that we love them and care about them is how we grow in relationship. Allowing ourselves to love and be loved takes being open to getting hurt or rejected, but that is what makes relationships so wonderful. There is no joy in these things when we just scratch the surface, and there is most certainly no weakness to be found in loving others wholeheartedly.