Vulnerability is not just a good thing. It’s a beautiful thing in my experience.. In my mind the true meaning of vulnerability is not that depicted by the media. Their definition is often twisted, as it is formed out the exposed child or person who was taken advantage of because they were “vulnerable” in the first place.
Before I explain my definition of vulnerability, I am reminded of a talk that I gave a couple of years ago to an audience about self acceptance. In this talk, I spoke highly of the power of vulnerability. And I was explaining its pros when a lady nearly took my head off at such an opinion. So I understand for many, this word can trigger a sense of being exposed but bear with me, as I try to convey my argument.
So here is my definition of vulnerability. It is your willingness to be open and share who you truly are and how you really feel in any given moment or encounter with another human being. It is the opposite of trying to appear like you’ve got it all together. It’s putting aside ones self image and the idea of who they should be, to allow their inner collage to be seen. If truth be told, this collage is always a patch work of varying emotions, desires, pains & triumphs. It isn’t a shop bought perfect design. It allows your humanity to be seen. This is my majestic definition of vulnerability.
We are increasingly moving towards a world, where people want to see YOU. Not the you that you think that the world should see but the YOU that is the same as them in terms of your raw humanity. The ups and downs. The trails and tribulations. People are yearning to connect to you authentically, so please let them in by putting down your guard.
In my experience having coached umpteen clients, I have seen that those that are willing to be vulnerable allow life to show it’s full majesty, as such people are open to life. They are willing to ensure the inevitable bumps and scratches of life, in the hope that, in exchange will be the magical experiences of life. As opposed to those that dare not take a chance on life. Dare not be open and in the unwillingness to be open, life passes them by, leaving them with regret.
Vulnerability will set us free, contrary to exposing us. Yes children and some at risk people may well require protection depending on the context but I witness that we humans have less regret when we show who we really are, rather then hiding who we are. After all we are social animals. We are brothers and sisters inhabiting this beautiful blue ball. We yearn to love and be loved but how can we do this if we aren’t willing to show our cards?
Let me give you a recent example of when I allowed myself to be vulnerable and what the net outcome was. My last blog, I couldn’t stop crying was probably my most vulnerable piece of writing ever. More than any talk I have ever given.
Why? One because the topic was a very sensitive one to me that I wouldn’t usually share with most people. Especially since I had a big hangup about crying until recently. Second, the viral nature of the internet and social media meant that I could potentially be exposed all over the world. But what was the outcome? It was profoundly moving. Firstly, it felt like I had removed a big boulder off my chest by sharing something that had made my heart heavy for a long time. And second, I had lots of personal messages, shares and comments where people gave feedback that it was a beautiful and liberating article. Most importantly, I sensed on some level, I had given people the permission to also open up and allow themselves to be vulnerable. I had set an example if you will.
Have you heard of Brene Brown? She has done some astounding work on vulnerability. Check out her great Ted talk, The Power of Vulnerability I seriously recommend you give it the 20mins it deserves. It has changed the lives of many people. It did mine 🙂
Do I have your permission to share a “funny” reason why public speaking gives me a thrill? I’m gona tell you anyway 😉 It is because the stage allows me to be vulnerable. It freezes a moment of time, when I can show the real me. Not perfect me, just the imperfect me. If I or at least some of my audience members go home without a dry eye, I feel I have connected to my audience. The stage is the place where I can just let go of trying to live up to something or someone and just stop trying. For many public speaking may not bring up this sentiment but it does for me.
Finally the paradox, your vulnerability is where your true power lies. What areas of your life could you allow yourself to be more vulnerable that would allow a fuller expression of life to enter? Please do comment. I’d love to hear from you.
p.s If this article has touched you in any way, please do share with others. You never know whose life you might impact.