‘Vulnerability’ was a topic that was never discussed much until the TED Talk of Brené Brown went viral. It is something I used to run away from as it made me feel exposed and raw. I always wanted to appear put together and graceful as if life never hurled me into any storms. The work of Brené Brown has been very important in the self-care and self-acceptance journey of many people including myself.
Who is Brené Brown?
She is a research professor at the University of Houston and also the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy.
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”-Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
My personal experience with vulnerability
Speaking to a new mom about the struggles I had with breastfeeding and postpartum depression enabled us as women to connect deeply and made her feel like she is not alone in this journey. She felt seen, heard, and most importantly was aware of the fact that most of us women feel lost as new mothers. In the end, we both walked towards our respective homes feeling centered, healed, and understood.
Openly speaking up about depression and how I deal with it on my day to day life felt like a deep cleansing breath and helped me connect with some of you on a more meaningful level.
There is so much more from asking for forgiveness to asking someone out on a coffee date to joining a work out class to the very first date after a divorce where we are vulnerable. The key point is after our every vulnerable situation we transform and evolve.
Who can you be vulnerable to?
According to Brené, vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process. So when we are vulnerable we are not looking for pity or un-comfortableness from the other party. This is exactly why we should understand who gets to hear our story.
Brené Brown emphasizes that vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. She says vulnerability takes courage and truly transforms us as individuals. It helps us to establish better habits, enjoy real and transformative relationships, and even helps us to succeed in our careers.
Another perspective on vulnerability
Now as always there are a lot of opinions on the topic of vulnerability. During a brief discussion with a UK based 30-year-old gentleman from the corporate world, I was intrigued by his perspective on the subject. He thinks some of us wear the cloak of vulnerability as a weakness and a defense mechanism. Apparently, some wear it like an excuse to avoid making transformative life choices. His straightforwardness might sound harsh at first but, as always we will keep an open mind as we dig deep.
This point of view brings us to the question of are you being really vulnerable or are you using an excuse and showing it as vulnerability to yourself and others. I have used vulnerability as a cloak of escapism to stay in situations that are non-conducive to my growth. So, I realize where his opinion is coming from. He also pointed out the matter of choice and matter of chance which was an eye-opener for me as it forces us to think if we are showing up authentically for ourselves. Are we really helpless or are we choosing to stay helpless?
Now, this quote from Brene’s book Daring Greatly will shed some light on the burning question of are we really being vulnerable or using a mere escapism route. “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen”
This means vulnerability is your raw truth and speaking about it takes courage. Once set free it helps you to accept yourself. Self-acceptance as I always say is the most important step I have ever taken towards my self-love and self-growth journey.
Vulnerability is integrated into my journaling sessions as it is easier and makes me honor my feelings and gain clarity. I have had vulnerable conversations with my loved ones that have helped us to strengthen our relationship. Being vulnerable is slowly helping me become more of my authentic self and form meaningful bonds with like-minded people.
Please let me know your thoughts about Brené Brown’s work and its impact on your life. Stay blessed!