What Does it Mean to Be Vulnerable?

“Vulnerable” is defined as being “able to be easily physically, emotionally, or mentally hurt, influenced, or attacked.” In fact, the belief that vulnerability is related to weakness is one of the most common myths. This is why you might see it as something bad. The words “hurt” and “attacked” have an unfavourable connotation and people see them as unwanted feelings. You would rather be happy than sad, strong rather than weak and very much be right over being wrong. I know I would.

I also know that being vulnerable has made me feel more fulfilled and able to connect with people on a different level. There are many benefits to tapping into a vulnerability mindset. Becoming more vulnerable is nothing that happens over a day but something that needs consistent awareness and practice. Just like anything new you want to learn, repetition helps you get better at it.

Let me share with you what I get about being vulnerable and how it can benefit you in your life.

Where Does Vulnerability Come From?

As humans we have certain traits that we learned from a young age, like making sure not to step on anyone’s toes, to only raise your hand if you know the answer and to not talk to strangers on the streets. We are so used to what we know that we choose avoidance in situations that may cause us to feel embarrassed.

Seeing this is what you grew up to know, there’s no wonder that you are scared of failure and prefer to play it safe.

What Does it mean to be Vulnerable?

To me, being vulnerable is about letting go of my ego. I sometimes get stuck on what I think is right and not open to the other person’s view. I know that if I let the other person be right, my ego will get hurt and it won’t be a good feeling. The reason I don’t want to be wrong is because it makes me feel like I have failed.

My ego is my best friend and my worst enemy. It protects me from losing and saves me from humiliation. What it really stops me from is discovering new things about myself that I didn’t know existed. In a way, it hinders me from having breakthroughs in my personal development.

If I want to know what it feels like to be vulnerable, I have to step outside of my comfort zone. When I come across situations that have the potential to make me feel uncomfortable, vulnerability is present.

How to Become more Vulnerable

If I want to change my mindset, the first step is to become aware of what is not working and why. Think about all those times you have walked away from a situation wishing you had said things differently. You were probably scared of looking bad which would have made you feel vulnerable.

When I am faced with a situation where I am put at “risk”, the need to “escape” will be my most reasonable choice. This is when I have to become aware of the way I feel. Feelings that signal stress, emotions and fear are most likely related to unwanted outcomes and I have to be present to these. It will take some practice to change this ingrained habit of many years. The practice is part of the process of having me be more vulnerable. If I become better at distinguishing these feelings, I am on the right track.

Asking yourself the right questions can help you start seeing patterns in your behaviour. Why do you avoid certain conversations? What type of situations make you uncomfortable? How can you be more open in your relationships?

The Benefit of Becoming more Vulnerable

When you become more vulnerable, you connect with yourself on a deeper level that you haven’t experienced before. It can be scary at first since it is unknown. You become aware of feelings that previously would bring up the fear that you now look at differently. You learn to embrace new aspects of yourself instead of feeling awkward about them.

Becoming more vulnerable opens up the possibility to connect with others. People love to relate to one another and when we do, we strengthen our relationships.

If you look at your personal and professional life, I am sure there are many situations where there is a conflict with what you feel and how you want to feel. That’s where you’d want to look deeper and reflect on what is actually happening within you.

As Brene Brown puts it – “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”

Your turn. What does it bring up for you when you hear the word vulnerability?

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