The Power of Vulnerability

The Power of Vulnerability

Friends drinking coffee and having a serious chat at home on the couch

Today, I want to discuss the power of vulnerability. Just talking about vulnerability makes me feel vulnerable and I don’t know anyone who enjoys feeling vulnerable. So why focus on vulnerability today then? The short answer is becoming vulnerable will help you become happy.

As usual, I’m basing this blog on an outside source. This time it is a Ted Talk by Brene Brown called The power of vulnerability. You can click on the link to watch. This video is about 20 minutes long, but it is definitely worth watching.

So what is vulnerability? The dictionary defines vulnerability as “capable of or susceptible to being wounded or hurt”. So how does being vulnerable help you become happy if you are open to getting hurt?

First off, you have to think of what makes you feel vulnerable. It can be entering a new relationship, waiting for a call from the doctor, asking someone on a date, firing someone, telling someone how you really feel, or anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Human connection is vital to our lives, it gives us meaning and purpose. Brene Brown talks about her research with human connection in her video, but I will try to sum it up as best I can here. Brene Brown says that during her research, she ran into something that unraveled human connection. It was shame. Shame is easily understood as the fear of disconnection. For example,”Is there something about me that if people see will make me unworthy of connection?”. What underlines this shame is excruciating vulnerability. In order for us to have connection,however, we have to be able to be truly seen. This means that in order to fully connect with people you have to show all of yourself, even the parts of yourself that you don’t particularly like.

Brene Brown noticed something else in her research: people with a sense of worthiness and love and belonging believe that they are worthy of love and belonging. These people, whom Brene Brown refers to as whole hearted people, had the courage to be imperfect, compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, and they had connection as a result of authenticity. They let go of who they thought they should be and showed people what they were, flaws and all. They fully embraced vulnerability. They believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful. They believed that vulnerability was fundamental.

So what happens when we don’t embrace vulnerability? Many of us try to numb vulnerability. Whether it’s with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, binge shopping, or whatever you do to help yourself stop feeling pain, it’s all to numb the vulnerability we feel. However, you cannot selectively numb emotion. You can’t numb negative emotions best stethoscope for emt without numbing positive emotions. So when you numb pain, anger, sorrow, guilt, and disappointment you are also numbing happiness, joy, and gratitude. Then you feel miserable and search for purpose and meaning and then you feel vulnerable again and the cycle restarts. So you need to start realizing how and why you numb so that you can stop the cycle.

There are other things we do to avoid vulnerability:

  1. We make the uncertain, certain. Uncertainty makes us uncomfortable and vulnerable. So we try to make uncertain things certain.
  2. We perfect. We want things to be perfect because if they are not, we feel open to attack and criticism (from others or ourselves). However, life imperfect and messy. There is saying that I love, “the only thing that human beings are perfect at is being imperfect.” Nobody is perfect.
  3. We pretend that what we do does not have an impact others lives. Why? Because if it only affects us it doesn’t matter. If what we do affects others, however, this can cause us to become anxious and uncomfortable. However, we need to be aware that all of our actions affect those around us.

So how can we accept vulnerability?

1. We can let ourselves be seen. Show everyone who are, flaws and all. Embrace your flaws. Everyone struggles with something, no one is perfect. To fix your flaws, you must accept them first.

2. Love with our whole hearts, even if there is no guarantee. Just typing out this sentence made me cringe. This is very difficult, and there is a lot of potential for pain. However, imagine the potential for happiness and strength if you were to incorporate this into all of your relationships.

3.Practice gratitude and joy. Be grateful that you feel the negative emotions, because that means that you know what positive emotions feel like. Feeling pain means you are alive.

4. Believe that you are enough. When you start to believe that you are worthy of connection and that you are enough you will become kinder and more gentle to others and yourself. If you want to be happy you must believe that you are worthy of happiness.

Stay Strong! Stay Positive! Please post comments or questions and share this blog!

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