The Scary Truth About Vulnerability

Posted November 29, 2012 by Rebecca Niziol in Life After Five

Take a look at these three current definitions of vulnerability:

  1. Susceptible to physical and emotional injury.
  2. Open to damage and attack.
  3. Capable of being wounded or hurt.

That doesn’t make feeling vulnerable sound very appealing. In fact, based on those viewpoints it is no surprise that most of society will do almost anything to avoid feeling it.

How often do you hold back saying or doing something because you want to belong or fit in? When do you find yourself covering up an aspect of your personality, rather than embracing and sharing it? How many times have you held your tongue when you wanted to express love, for the fear of being hurt?

These are all instances that you are avoiding being vulnerable. And rightfully so! It is one of the scariest feelings, but also one that leads to you experiencing the real you. Yes, there’s a chance you’ll be hurt, maybe your boyfriend won’t say “I love you” back, or your boss won’t give you the promotion you asked for, and you’ll be disappointed. But there is an equal chance that you will feel peace and happiness like never before.

Here’s the scary truth: being authentically who you are means being vulnerable.

Brene Brown, in her profound talk on The Power of Vulnerability, describes vulnerability as “the core of shame and fear, but also the birthplace of joy, creativity, and love.” And who doesn’t want to feel loved? But by avoiding opening up and feeling, we are denying ourselves of that very experience, and allowing fear to guide us.

Brown goes on to explain that people comfortable with vulnerability are those “who have a strong sense of love and belonging, because they believe they are worthy of love and belonging.” So what do you believe you are worthy of? And where in your life can you allow yourself to experience more vulnerability by being more yourself?

It feels counter-intuitive, because your ego is probably screaming at you, “No! Don’t do this. You most certainly will be hurt.” That’s the ego’s job – to protect you. But as soon as you embrace vulnerability you will realize that you don’t need to play it safe anymore. You are capable of handling every emotion and experience that comes up. In fact, it is imperative to personal transformation and growth.

Open yourself up to feeling, rather than numbing. Choose to embrace all of who you are, rather than shy away. And admit that you are worthy of the love and success you dream about.

You are already enough. So stop pretending you’re not.

I firmly believe that we create our own reality. Because we can choose our thoughts, we have the power to reshape our worlds. I’d like to leave you with three new definitions of vulnerability:

  1. The opportunity to feel and experience all the joys of life.
  2. The excitement of sharing something you never have before.
  3. Being exactly who you are in every moment.

Give vulnerability a chance. You might get hurt, but you also might experience love and happiness beyond what you’ve ever imagined.

About the Author

Rebecca Niziol

Rebecca Niziol, ELI-MP, is many things: a life coach, yoga teacher, dancer, event planner, connection catalyst, and your new best friend. Her mission is to empower others to live the authentic life of their dreams. After years of traveling North America and Europe, she is happy to have found a home and community in Chicago.