I regularly hear the words “it is alright to be vulnerable” or “allow yourself to be vulnerable” come out of my mouth as I work with clients.
These words are often met with resistance, it feels scary to be vulnerable, and if not resistance I often see a confused look.
Then I get questions. Questions like:
What is the benefit of being vulnerable?
How do I ‘be’ vulnerable?
Isn’t vulnerability a weakness?
So many of my clients have spent almost their whole lifetime and a lot of energy ensuring they aren’t vulnerable. Doing anything BUT being vulnerable. Being strong. Building walls of protection around themselves. They see vulnerability as a weakness and for many they have experiences of being taken advantage of when they have shown vulnerability, especially as a child.
Through experience they now see vulnerability as weak and potentially dangerous!
So fear stops them.
Pain stops them.
Pride stops them.
Shame stops them.
The unknown stops them.
Why then do we still recommend vulnerability?
What is the possible benefit of being vulnerable?
Doesn’t it just leave you open to disappointment and abuse and mistreatment?
Well no, vulnerability in fact has some very real advantages.
It can help build real connection and intimacy in relationships.
It can help you accept who you truly are therefore building self-worth.
Avoiding it denies part of who you are.
It can strengthen your ability to show compassion to others.
Vulnerability can challenge and even defeat shame.
The benefits will vary for each of us but we can’t be whole without also at times being vulnerable. Sadly many of us have learnt to look at it as a weakness when in fact it is a real strength.
Vulnerability takes courage, real courage and it requires us to take a risk so when we show up in spite of our vulnerability we inevitably grow personally.
So being vulnerable can be advantageous.
It can help us on our journey and even on our healing paths.
I have found that even when people realise there could be a benefit for them in being vulnerable they are still confused as to how. How do I ‘be’ vulnerable?
I have thought on this, turned it around so many times in my mind and experimented with it and what I have found is that vulnerability is simple.
Maybe not always easy but simple.
Being vulnerable just requires us to be honest.
To honestly share how we feel, what we think, what we are scared of and what we have experienced. And we use this honesty not to impress people or create a particular outcome, we display this honesty because it is who we are and what we have experienced, we share it just for that…to share.
It can take vulnerability to be honest about our needs and wants and pains. In being vulnerable we are accepting all of ourselves without the self judgement around which parts of us are worth sharing and which parts aren’t.
We finally own ourselves entirely.
So often true beauty is realised in vulnerability and true connection is created. Connection with others, with ourselves and with the universe.
When we walk through life authentically, honestly being who we are vulnerability will occur. Vulnerability is a by-product of being honest, being you, being authentic.
Exploring vulnerability, even if you just start with those you trust, honours who you are, adds depth to relationships, brings damaging shame out into the light, builds the vital connection with self and helps you finally show up in the world authentically, as you, as you were always meant to be.
Like many things, we seem to complicate vulnerability when it is actually very simple. Being honest, being all of you, being open, is being vulnerable.
Being vulnerable can lead to real freedom …. the freedom to be YOU!