One of the first TEDTalks I ever watched was “The Power of Vulnerability” by Brené Brown. It’s an interesting watch, and if you have some spare time I encourage you to take a look. It really struck home with me when she described vulnerability as two-fold. Yes at the core, you will find fear, but with this is the opportunity to find joy, creativity, feelings of belonging and love.
Brené Brown puts it perfectly, by describing vulnerability as something that “sounds like truth and feels like courage.” I’ve always thought of vulnerability as exposing yourself to potential hurt, allowing yourself to be unprotected, being susceptible to pain. So to allow yourself to be vulnerable, it makes complete sense that you have to be courageous.
Why is it so hard to be vulnerable? Why do we choose to numb the feelings of vulnerability, when in actual fact we’re eliminating the possibility for us to feel love and joy as well. After watching this video, I wanted to find my own reasons for why I should embrace vulnerability, as I continue to balance my work and family life. I’d love to hear what you think about embracing vulnerability. Here are my thoughts:
1. It shows that you care
Often we numb the feeling of vulnerability with addiction, medication, food, sending us into a downward spiral. It hurts too much, so we mould ourselves into what we think others will accept us as, or we hide our feelings with distraction. We pretend what we do doesn’t affect other people, in order to bypass that uncomfortable feeling. But when we do this, we stop connecting with others. We stop allowing ourselves to care about being and showing the world the real us.
I care about my family and friends, and by doing so, I allow them to see all of me. They see my fears and my hopes. My worries and my dreams.
2. We’re all imperfect and that’s OK
You may not have realised, but we all have imperfections. Each and every one of us. Celebrities may wear makeup and magazines may use photoshop, but even they are like the rest of us. Embracing vulnerability is learning to embrace imperfection as well. This is a hard one for me to practice at times, because I’ve always thought I need perfection. But I’ve come to realise it is just impossible to have. We all make mistakes and situations arise beyond our control, it’s our ability to learn from them that counts.
3. To grow we need to let down our barriers
We put up barriers to protect us from hurt, to avoid pain, to hide from fear. But in order to grow and change, we need to allow ourselves to be open. It takes courage to be able lower this protection and allow ourselves to be exposed. Especially if we’ve lowered these barriers in the past and we’ve been hurt as a result. But imagine if we never did, how would we build relationships and friendships? How would we find love? I think about moments during my relationship with my husband where we’ve been particularly vulnerable. The day I asked him to be my boyfriend (that’s right – I asked!) at 14, the day he asked me to marry him, our wedding day, the day we found out we were going to be parents. We’ve been together for 14 years now, and I’ve loved our journey together so far. Imagine if I had let fear overcome me, and not lowered that barrier enough to ask him out – where would my life be now?
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.” (C.S Lewis)
Allow yourself to care. To be uncomfortable and nervous and awkward. Because it’s important to care, it gives you hope, and leads you to love and happiness.