“How does one be vulnerable?” I constantly ask myself this question every day.
According to Dictionary.com, vulnerable means to be “susceptible to physical or emotional attack of harm. It could also mean a person “in need of special care, support, or protection because of a abuse or neglect” (Dictionary.com).
Based simply off of the definitions associated with the word, one could take away that being vulnerable means being weak, helpless, and an emotional burden.
This is not the case, however.
Being vulnerable allows those around you to truly understand you, get to know you better, and most importantly, allows more love into your life. Similarly, the more vulnerable you are with yourself and with others, the more you get to know and understand yourself.
The saying “wear your heart on your sleeve” can be directly associated with vulnerability, as those who wear their heart on their sleeve do not put up the emotional walls. These emotional walls and barriers do not allow you to be vulnerable or experience vulnerability.
Expressing yourself vulnerably allows truth and honesty to enter into your life. Truth and honesty is what our soul craves. To live a good, truthful, meaningful life, one must allow their vulnerable side to show.
It truly does not matter how many people you express your vulnerability to, as this does not dictate anything. Similarly, your intentions behind sharing your vulnerable side should always be taken accounted for. Some people only show their vulnerable side, when they need something or are in the works of manipulating someone emotionally. Sharing a part of yourself may make you susceptible to harm or attack, as people may use the information you disclosed privately as ammunition against you. Do not let that discourage you from showing what is beneath your skin.
How you choose to show it is up to yourself, but being vulnerable allows you to connect with people on a much deeper level. Levels of compassion and empathy will also increase with a more vulnerable take on life.
It is not all comfortable, however, as you may let pests into your vulnerable heart and end up getting hurt for being so honest and raw. In fact, being vulnerable at times can make you feel naked and afraid, but embracing the idea that humans as a whole need to let down their guards to find meaningfulness in their life.
When you are in touch with your vulnerable side, you feel inclined to share parts of the ugly, the raw, the happy, and the sad sides of your own life. Being vulnerable allows you to share with others things that allows others to understand why you are the person that you are today, and how you became this way. In fact, vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection with yourself and others.
There are intelligent ways of being vulnerable, as we are most vulnerable during times that we feel low, lost, and afraid. Especially when something monumental happens that changes the very circumstances of your life situation, or something or someone is taken from you, people often find themselves feeling vulnerable. Intelligent ways of being vulnerable include, disclosing information to others, crying, seeking and asking for assistance, filling your day with productive things, etc.
Actions, such as crying, yelling, screaming, or anything malicious and malignant, can be as a result of one who is going through a vulnerable time. They may feel stripped of everything, including their pride, joy, and feel as though they have nothing left.
Even when nothing bad has happened, individuals can still exude vulnerability. Vulnerability is not only shown when things are going south. Sometimes when things are going too well, we also feel vulnerable and uncomfortable.
Dr. Brené Brown says, “vulnerability is the core of shame, and fear, and our struggle for worthiness. But, it appears it’s also the birthplace of joy, of creativity, of belonging, and of love.” Of course, there are always upsides and downsides of being vulnerable, as it can be extremely uncomfortable.
It is very important for your own emotional well-being to become connected with the side of you that is not weak, but courageous. Being vulnerable shows that an individual is not only courageous, but it shows that one is aware of their current reality.
Small things, such as changing schools, graduating school, starting a new job, having a new school schedule with different classmates, moving to a new town, can force the vulnerable out of you, as these situations are morbidly uncomfortable. Things more extreme, such as death, abuse, etc. will also force the vulnerability out of you.
Allowing your vulnerable side to show may seem more frightening than the actual act of being in denial. In order to make connections, and raw, and real friendships, vulnerability is vital. At some point, after spending so many hours with a person, you show sides of yourself naturally being vulnerable, without even taking it into account.
Most often, we are completely unaware when we are being vulnerable, unless we are bawling uncontrollably. Unknowingly showing sides of yourself to others allows for an intermediate connection, as a person may disclose more vulnerable information as a result of you sharing vulnerable information. This is always a good feeling! In order to feel comfortable, both parties will feel the need to disclose more and more about their life once a sense of trust is built.
Living life vulnerably allows for more hurt, but tear down your emotional barriers and let yourself feel life, just as it is supposed to be felt. Do not be embarrassed, as there truly is nothing to be embarrassed about. Secrets do not make friends, and friends make secrets. It is very healthy to express vulnerability to those around you, as you will often feel a weight lifted off your shoulders.
Audre Lorde says, “…and that visibility that makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.” You are no longer considered weak for being vulnerable, showing pain, etc., in fact, being vulnerable is the most empowering thing you can do for yourself.
Empower the courageous!