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.
3. Be Present
Many of us spend life rushing off from one thing to another and/or zoning out with our electronics whether it’s social media, email or texting.
When conflict arises, we see it as an inconvenience that is wasting our precious time. Is this serving us? Absolutely not. During conversations and disagreements, stay present. Don’t bring up past issues or conflicts. Instead, listen to the other person and express your feelings too, but only those regarding the present issue at-hand.
This is all about giving a relationship the time and attention it deserves. And when you do so, being emotionally vulnerable is easier. You both feel heard and understood, which are the foundations to moving forward from any issue without resentment.
4. Accept Your Emotions
Sometimes, we, logically, might even disagree with our own emotions, which can throw a whole other wrench into the mix and make you shy away from wanting to express yourself. Yet, shame is something that is so toxic, in relationships with others and yourself.
And this is exactly where acceptance comes into play. Fully accepting yourself and your emotions offers direction for you to open up. It makes it okay and safe.
It can be scary to embrace vulnerability! But, some of the scariest things in life that take the greatest amount of courage can lead to the best of circumstances!
In many ways, being emotionally vulnerable is a form of self-care and self-love. It forces you to be honest and open, which are critical pieces of loving yourself and building healthy connections with others. This is part of living your best and authentic version of yourself! Change is hard! What if you had a strategy, personalized to meet your needs and fit your lifestyle, from a trained healthcare expert who's been where you are and who will empower you to become all you want to be? NOW, that would be EASY. Click here to schedule your free consultation.