We’ve all heard the phrase, “Be yourself,” and for many, that’s easier said than done. It’s not easy to show all sides of yourself—the good and the bad—without feeling vulnerable and fearful of rejection. Letting go of that fear can be life-changing, which is why it’s so important to do just that. Our contributor Joana is here to explain four things that happened when she stopped being so afraid of vulnerability and how it has improved her life in many ways.
I used to associate vulnerability with weakness. More often than not, I would rather pretend everything’s OK than showing my ugly crying face unable to deal with uncomfortable emotions. What will she think about me? Will I fall short of his expectations? But when you think about it, vulnerability is actually an act of bravery. It’s about being stronger than the fear of judgment, rejection and shame and sharing how we are truly feeling. It’s committing to awkward conversations when we’d rather change the subject. It is raw, messy and hard. But vulnerability is often filled with “me, too!” moments, the most powerful way of making a connection with another human. When we let our walls down and speak our truth, vulnerability becomes this brave, magical and beautiful thing.
4 Things That Happened When I Stopped Being So Afraid Of Vulnerability
1. I created deeper connections.
There is an inspiring TED talk by Brené Brown called The Power of Vulnerability where she talks about how important vulnerability is to establish connections between people. As she said, it is when we share that we can connect.
While I was listening to her speak, I was reminded of my time in college where I struggled with homesickness. It was by admitting how I was feeling that I bonded with two of my best friends from school. And guess what? I was actually not the only one feeling homesick. Everyone has a struggle of their own. You are not alone. But when you don’t open up about what’s going on, you don’t make room for deep connections.
Another thing to keep in mind is that being vulnerable is not just opening up to other people, but mainly to yourself. It’s about being aware and accepting your emotions and flaws.
2. I realized it’s OK to be imperfect.
When we share our imperfections with others, we open up the door for other people to be vulnerable as well. With social media, we tend to think that others have the perfect life they portray in their feeds. The thing is, we forget that we don’t know the whole story. That is why it is so refreshing to see someone you follow talk about their imperfections and flaws. The truth is, no one has it all together. There is always someone out there who can relate to your struggles.
3. I found the courage to ask help from others.
One of the hardest things for me is to admit that I need help. But what vulnerability taught me is that it is only when you are willing to admit you need help that you make room for growth and are able to move forward. It can be easy to trick yourself into believing “I will figure it out on my own,” but sometimes you just can’t do it alone.
4. By being vulnerable, I encouraged people to grow.
Letting your guard down and being vulnerable will most likely encourage the person in front of you to embrace vulnerability, as well. As humans, we long for connection and you will only achieve true connection by being vulnerable. You will be challenged and thus grow, inspiring others to do the same.
I will leave you with a Brené Brown quote:
“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.”