Vulnerability what does this word mean to you? How does it make you feel?
The Cambridge English dictionary defines ‘vulnerability’ as ‘the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally’.
Vulnerability is certainly not a comfortable state and most of us feel that showing our vulnerability is a sign of weakness. We soldier on, showing the world a different persona to the way we are feeling inside. I know I’m guilty too often, of trying to take on more than I should, not asking for help when I should, and feeling that I need to show that I can cope and manage on my own. If I don’t, I feel that I’ve failed or shown that I’m not capable. Which is really nonsense – again the Negative voice of the inner critic is at play.
Sometimes, we don’t want to show our vulnerable side in relationships because we fear rejection or think we aren’t good enough. We don’t want to take risks and expose our feelings and emotions to others.
The flip side is that if we want to Thrive in life, we need to show our vulnerable side and discover the positives that can arise.
In her book, ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead”‘, Brene Brown refers to the ‘Citizenship in a Republic’ speech by Theodor Roosevelt and writes that when she read it, she found what vulnerability meant to her.
Vulnerability is not knowing victory or defeat, it’s understanding the necessity of both; it’s engaging. It’s being all in.
The first step is to take a look at our vulnerability and accept that it is normal to feel vulnerable, everyone does, but owning our vulnerability will provide strength and courage to move forward.
4 ways showing Vulnerability will help you to Thrive
1. Increases self-confidence and courage
Showing our vulnerable side takes courage because as we open ourselves up to others, we overcome the fear of feeling that we are not being good enough; fear of failure or not wanting to show that we are human and not perfect after all.
2. Improves Relationships
Opening up with your feelings and emotions will help you engage with family and friends. Relationships can be affected when we try to be a ‘one-person show’, and give the impression we don’t need anyone. If you build barriers, you are shutting out those who love you and want to help.
3. Improves health and well-being
We put the pressure on ourselves by trying to live up to self-imposed unrealistic expectations or standards. Yes we need and like to be independent, but we also need to ask for help when we need it. Trying to do everything is not expected of us and sometimes taking on too much can affect our health and stress levels. Learn to say ‘no’ and also learn to ask for help. No one will think less of you. People are more than willing to be supportive of you – you just have to ask.
4. Presents Opportunities
By being afraid to take risks we can miss out on opportunities to improve our life. We stagnate because we fear failure, rather than taking the opportunity and if we do fail, acknowledging the learning experience. The positive side is that we might actually succeed.
Do you feel Vulnerable? What is one thing you can do today to acknowledge your vulnerable side?
In my next post in the A to Z Guide to Thriving, I’m discussing ‘W’ is for Worthiness – Valuing your own Worth. I do hope you will join me.
You might also like to check out my Over 50 & Thriving series. In this series, published every Thursday, guest writers give insight into what ‘Over 50 & Thriving’ means to them.
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