Make Vulnerability Your Superpower
Many people associate the idea of “being vulnerable” with weakness, hurt, fear, and even betrayal. Unfortunately, this often means we turn away from vulnerability to protect ourselves and our hearts from future hurts. Yet, being emotionally vulnerable can bring your relationships closer, foster greater understanding of yourself and others, and create an even deeper level of love and intimacy with those around you. In understanding yourself a little deeper allow you to push away shame and allow empathy and strength to shine through.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it's having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it's our greatest measure of courage.” — Brene Brown
What does all that mean? Embracing vulnerability means letting down your guard and allowing your emotional barriers to fall. Saying “I love you” or apologizing are examples of emotional vulnerability. But they aren’t the only ones. Telling someone you’re hurt is also embracing vulnerability. It’s opening up and discussing your emotions, rather than suppressing them or letting them fester. We often get anxious to do some of these things, especially if you’ve grown up in an environment where emotions weren’t discussed or maybe you were told to “not care so much” or “suck it up.”
The truth is, vulnerability actually puts you in a position where you could be hurt. This is courage takes place empowering you to let those you care for into your life. It takes great strength to let down your guard and let someone else know how you feel, whether that’s positive or negative. In turn, you end up with better emotional regulation, improved emotional health and connection, and enhanced mental health.
It’s simply an expression, a way to communicate and a way to improve communication so individuals can understand each other better. In many ways, vulnerability is the basic foundation of successful, healthy, and long-term relationships. But this isn’t the only way vulnerability benefits you or others. Vulnerability can also shine-through in leadership, allowing us to trust someone to guide us and navigate the good and bad.
Other benefits of opening up your world and embracing vulnerability include:
Enhanced mental and emotional health
Building of trust in relationships
Improved empathy and understanding
Being better able to work together
Increased personal awareness and accountability
Enhanced personal growth
How to Be More Vulnerable
While scary, it’s undeniable that vulnerability has various benefits for our relationships and overall wellness. So, how can you begin embracing vulnerability?
1. Express What You’re Thinking or Feeling
This doesn’t mean lashing out when angry or hurt. It simply means using clear communication to express your needs and wants. The truth is that others can’t read our minds, no matter how much we wish they could!
It’s up to us to open up, avoid being defensive and insensitive, and express what we are thinking and feeling to the other person. This gives way to an authentic relationship, where each person can show up as their true and real self.
2. Ask for What You Need
We are so programmed to avoid asking for help or asking for another to lean on because it’s often seen as a sign of weakness. Yet, relationships of all kinds are built on this and sometimes, we all need a little help! And as previously mentioned, someone might not know what you need at any given moment.