The Beauty of Vulnerability

“What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful.” – Brené Brown

There is one thing that I am definitely not good at — being vulnerable. I’ve always been taught that vulnerability was a sign of weakness; that people will take advantage of you if you show weakness. The fear is that if I reveal my true self that I may be misunderstood or rejected.

What I have learned is, being vulnerable isn’t just about being okay with showing parts of yourself to others, it’s more about being okay with all of yourself. When you love all of yourself, it matters little what others think.

What I am also learning is that vulnerability is a choice. It doesn’t always come easy and I haven’t mastered it yet. There are still many moments when I remain guarded and less willing to be truly open. It takes a conscious effort to look for the opportunities in which to be vulnerable. However, the rewards are much greater than the risks. There is a level of connection that cannot be met if you tend to hold part of yourself back.

Here are a few practicals on being vulnerable:

  1. Be honest. If you are going through a difficult time, tell someone. You may be pleasantly surprised at the response.
  2. Ask for help. Contrary to popular belief, this is also a sign of strength. You don’t need to struggle in silence, there are people willing to help.
  3. Learn to say no. Sometimes being vulnerable is letting others know that you are not a superhero. By saying yes to everyone, you are saying no to yourself. Let people know when you have too much on your plate.
  4. Stop comparing yourself to others. In actuality, their lives aren’t better than yours. You really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors.
  5. Be wise. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean telling everyone everything about you. Be wise in whom you choose to be open with.

8 thoughts on “The Beauty of Vulnerability

  1. Ekpe–you were always very smart, but you have become very wise!! These are things that a lot of us struggle with and your naming them will help us think twice before putting on that mask of strength.

  2. Definitely well put. Please expand on the concept of finding opportunities to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
    * Regarding suggestion 1& 2 – a) Not all are as enlightened and open as you and those who’ve commented so far. Despite the best preparation and ground work I’ve been able to manage, some responses are far less than helpful and have lead to alienation of the person taken into confidence and even poisoned several others who don’t understand the limitations in effect. b) Some spend decades helping others and find it difficult to accept offers of help from those who care about them and recognize areas where that would ease a friend or relative’s burden. Some relationships are sufficiently grounded and flexible for the resistance to be overcome or overridden with reluctant consent to accept it. Others aren’t and a well intentioned offer to help may be perceived as an insult to the person’s ability to manage on their own. Recovering from this can be quite difficult if the relationship is one that we want or need to maintain. Independent friends can be chosen and released as needed. Family, especially immediate, and those in more fixed contact (School, work, Spiritual, etc) aren’t disposable in good concious and a real sense of responsibility may be involved as well, both personally and withing the larger group family or other setting.

    Suggestions on either or both?

    Paul

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