What is vulnerability and why do you need it?
Vulnerability is the feeling you get during times of uncertainty, risk, or emotional exposure. It is that unstable feeling you get when you step out of your comfort zone or do something that forces you to loosen control.
As our culture has labelled vulnerability as a weakness, you may have bad memories when thinking back to a moment in where you felt vulnerable.
However, this moment was also the moment in where you were very brave and dared to put yourself out there emotionally.
Realizing this, what did this moment actually bring you?
What does vulnerability bring you?
As one of our 6 virtues is ‘Humanity’, we have a natural need to want to connect and to be in warm and genuine relationships with others.
Vulnerability is not about oversharing your feelings and experiences, but about sharing your feelings and your experiences with others who have earned the right to hear them. This in the trust that putting yourself out there will bring you deeper connections and relationships that will add to your worthiness and whole being.
How to practice vulnerability
First, start digging. What do your fear? Ask yourself, where and why do I want to be braver? How am I currently protecting myself from vulnerability? What is my protection mechanism? Is it perfectionism, intellectualizing, cynicism, numbing, control or something else?
Second, put yourself first throughout these actions:
- Give yourself compassion for what you are striving for and be proud.
- Live by your authentic values without pleasing others or worry about their opinions of you.
- Be present and slow down if and when you need to.
- Trade perfectionism for self-improvement.
- Be forthcoming with your needs and vocalize your feelings towards others.
How can courage help you face vulnerability?
As we generally have negative associations with vulnerability, we intend to avoid being vulnerable by:
- Striving for perfection; with a goal to remain unseen as visibility due to error can hurt and shame you.
- Numbing out feelings; to protect yourself from negative emotions.
- Catastrophizing; to prepare yourself for all the things that could go wrong.
When you avoid being vulnerable, you exclude yourself from opportunities. Courage can help you being brave while facing your vulnerability.
Courage means doing something bold, in line with your core values, in the presence of fear.
So, you could say courage will help you deal with your fear and thus your understanding of your vulnerability.
How to practice courage
You can practice courage by embracing fear and failure. When you embrace fear and failure, you can make being brave, and therefore courage, a habit. Acknowledge your fear, confront it and get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Practice self-compassion and self-love throughout this process and, while doing so, stay close to your personal values and strengths.
You can be afraid and brave at the same time. Being uncomfortable is part of being brave. Being brave is feeling scared or awkward, accepting those feelings, and moving forward anyway.
This blog is inspired by the work of Brene Brown.
Preview next edition:
In the next ‘Investing in your values’ I will explain more about what the difference is between empathy and compassion and why these values are not to be missed in your route to freedom in (business)life! So stay tuned!
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