It’s been a while since I’ve written specifically about vulnerability. Although I do kinda feel it’s an underlying theme to everything in life.
The words or language around vulnerability first came to me from watching Brene Brown’s TED talk. At the time I had no idea of the power of what I’d stumbled upon. Nor the depth to her knowledge, her work and her presence. It unlocked for me something I had known for a while yet I didn’t really know how to take the steps or express it.
What does vulnerability mean to you?
For so many of us, this is what Brene says, we grow up with a meaning we’ve attached around vulnerability. There’s no right or wrong here, it’s simply knowing that we’ve had a rule around it.
So ask yourself the question:
When I was growing up, vulnerability meant…
For me, I realised that beneath the surface, vulnerability equalled weakness. I had made it mean I would fall apart, there would be conflict, things would not be okay. If I were to open up, express myself more fully, to be vulnerable.
This intense feeling of disconnection I was feeling in my life was showing up around my career and work stress – when really internally it was so much more than that. The only way I knew was to keep going at the time, that was how I felt more valued. I didn’t have the language to express that it was my own vulnerability (or lack of showing it) that was keeping me disconnected.
Answering this question and realising I had told myself I was weak was like releasing a layer, a mask, a role I had adopted over the years. It felt slightly more, well, me. Like the more I could do this the closer I would get to feeling ‘myself’ again. There’s more layers. And I’m certainly not saying ‘being vulnerable’ is easy. I am saying it’s worth it. And it’s also critical to living a full life. If that is of course what you’re seeking, which I believe we all are.
So start small and start gentle. And if you haven’t yet, go watch Brene’s TED talk. It may just give you the language you need right now to start expressing yourself more and delayering some of the masks.
Vulnerability is a necessity on the pathway to living a full, whole-hearted life. Share this with someone in your life who could do with a few extra tools in their belt.