Since embarking on my creative journey, I’ve been very interested in fear and courage. I had never really given vulnerability much thought, until I stumbled across the work of Brené Brown and her talk The Power of Vulnerability.
Our culture places a high value on having it all together, being strong and not being seen as weak. But I’ve found that allowing myself to be vulnerable, and sharing that vulnerability with others, has changed the way I approach my life.
Instead of feeling fearful and letting that stop me from doing things, I can acknowledge the fear and accept that it’s ok to feel that way. Instead of trying to make things perfect and get everything right, I accept making mistakes and feeling a bit uncomfortable about that.
Because with vulnerability comes growth. Vulnerability comes when we take a risk, dare to do something, and push ourselves out of our comfort zone.
And, vulnerability leads to real connections with people. It is the act of opening ourselves up to be seen, as we really are, that allows others to connect with and love us as we really are.
It is not a sign of weakness in any sense – how can taking a risk and daring to make a mistake be a sign of weakness?
As Brené Brown says:
Vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.
One thing about our imperfections is that we often try to hide them from others – we feel vulnerable when they are exposed. I have found it incredibly empowering to share my imperfections with others – especially on my blog and through my art. It allows me to take control of who I am, and embrace all parts of me. And, it helps others to see their imperfections are perfectly ok, and when they reach out to tell me that seeing me be vulnerable has helped them, well that makes it all worthwhile.
Obviously, there is a time and a place to be vulnerable. Pouring your heart out to your boss or the guy who makes your coffee simply because you want to be vulnerable is probably not the best idea. You need to consider who you can be vulnerable with, especially to begin with. Think carefully about who you trust to support you as you share a little more of yourself.
How can you practice vulnerability?
- Try saying no to something when that’s what you really want
- Tell someone how you really feel
- Let another person see a talent or skill you have
- Share an embarrassing story of yours
- Tell someone what you are afraid of
- Share your biggest dreams and hopes with someone
What does the word ‘vulnerability’ mean to you? What does vulnerability feel like or look like to you? Does it have any negative associations? Write about this.
Write about a time that you have felt vulnerable.
How could you see vulnerability being a strength? Why might you want to include more of it in your life? Explore this idea. (If you’re stuck on this one, I really recommend Brené Brown’s work.)
In what ways would you like to (safely) allow yourself to be more vulnerable? Who could support you in this?
Note: this post was originally part of a series of 30 life lessons and journal prompts for my 30th birthday. You can access the rest of the lessons and prompts here.