We’ve all been there. You’re drawn into a group discussion at a social gathering and you realize that what is being discussed is not your area of expertise. Then it happens… Your opinion on this uncharted subject is requested! At that moment, you have a choice to make. Do I expose my true self by revealing my lack of knowledge on this subject? Or, do I play along and look good?” Where do you fare?
Webster defines vulnerability as: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. This is an area that we all deal with. The fear of being wounded can hinder us from truly living. To an extent we are all cautiously vulnerable which, I believe, is healthy. However, when it begins to affect our relationships and life itself, that is the time to reflect.
In my own personal life, I kept an illness hidden from people for most of my childhood. I kept it to myself because exposing it would force me to be vulnerable which was something I wasn’t willing or ready to do. For me, withholding was an area of vulnerability that was difficult for me to overcome. It wasn’t until my adult life that I realized what I was missing in my relationships and in life by withholding.
It was daunting, at the time, to imagine myself open and exposed. It took time and courage to now be where I am: happy and connected. Have I arrived? Certainly not. However, I know now what steps to take in order to get there.
- Be Aware – In each moment, are you open or closed? A good way to gauge this is to ask those you trust. Encourage them to be honest with you. Also, ask yourself, “What am I missing”. In my own life, I was missing the ability to connect and feel. I didn’t feel like I was truly living life without them. This motivated me to open up.
- Be Strong – We have to make the choice to be vulnerable. Dare to step out into areas that are uncomfortable. Not only will it begin a path of authenticity but it can also reveal areas in our emotions that need healing. Ultimately, this allows us to become stronger, more genuine beings.
- Be Honest – Exposing our true self is an element of vulnerability. Sharing our insecurities doesn’t mean sitting down and exposing ourselves emotionally to anyone and everyone. In each situation, we can ask ourselves how we can be more open and to what extent. NOTE: Be careful not to “dump”. Some people may not be at a place to receive an honest assessment.
- Be Deep – We can all have surface relationships which protects us from revealing our true selves. I want to challenge you to find someone you trust and begin opening up and exposing the deeper more personal areas of your life. This brings true connection.
- Be Balanced – Find a balance between being too open and too shut off. Like in everything I share, there are degrees to everything. We are all unique with different backgrounds and personalities. One persons level of openness will be different than another.
Ultimately, being vulnerable begins by being happy with yourself and accepting the things that are less than perfect in your life. Many times, the reason we want to “hide” is because we aren’t happy with what we see. Remember, we are ALL a work-in-progress! Accepting ourselves…faults and weaknesses included…will begin a path to true connection with others.
Love yourself and allow other people to love you. We have to give people the opportunity to do so. It takes risk but there are huge rewards in it. I believe we can miss opportunities in life by isolating ourselves emotionally. One of the biggest opportunities we miss is the chance to feel love…the highest and strongest emotion.
Part 2 of this series of vulnerability will address the affects of living a vulnerable life. It has been a great mission in my adult life to be vulnerable. Next month, I’d like to share with you my personal journey through this and the incredible things that have come out of it.
Until then, I encourage you to take this risk. Vulnerability will allow incredible opportunities for healing to take place within us which ultimately brings true life!