Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.
A common myth about emotional wellness is that asking for help is a sign of weakness.
Yet, nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, asking for help is one of the most honest and courageous things we can do for ourselves, and the people we care about.
And it’s just one of many healthy ways we can choose to be vulnerable.
Vulnerability has been defined by researcher Brené Brown as “uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.”
Within the context of emotional wellness, vulnerability is a powerful skill that opens us up to experiencing greater connection, healing, honesty, and self-awareness.
Ready to bring more healthy vulnerability to your story? Read on for some 10 ways you can get started today:
Vulnerability in your self
Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty.
- Admit what you don’t know. No one has all the answers, and pretending we do can be a recipe for needless suffering. Give yourself a break and simply say, “I don’t know” when you’re unsure about something. You’ll be amazed how liberating it can be.
- Do you. Feeling the pressure to look, act, or live a certain way? You’re not alone. We’re surrounded everyday by messages telling us how to be. Pick 1 way to rebel against that pressure (e.g., voice a preference, set a boundary, say “thanks, but no, thanks“) by honoring what matters to you.
Vulnerability in your choices
Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.
- Be bad at something. When it comes to how you spend your free time, do you embrace new experiences or tend towards the familiar? Try something new and challenging (even if it means risking your pride), and you may surprise yourself.
- Aim 1 notch higher. Maybe it’s an opportunity for more responsibility at work. Or a passion project you’ve been hoping to get off the ground. Whatever it is that feels just a bit out of reach, take the risk, be vulnerable, and go for it!
- Explore your creativity. Often, a fear of criticism or disapproval keeps us from exploring our creative instincts. One easy way around this? Get creative anyway! If you’re feeling especially bold, you can even share what you’re working on with others. (And ask if they’ll be vulnerable to share their stuff with you.)
- Ask for help. Admitting you’re human can be humbling. But, it’s also one of the most compassionate things you can do for your emotional wellness. If you’re struggling, or could just use a sounding board, there’s no shame whatsoever in reaching out for help.
Vulnerability in your relationships
Through my research, I found that vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.
- Make eye contact. It may sound simple, but avoiding eye contact is one of many ways we tend to self-protect, and this can cause disconnection from others. Looking into the eyes of the person you’re interacting with is a clear and simple way to communicate, “I care, and I’m listening.”
- Be the first to apologize. We’ve all been there. When you’re in an argument, it can feel like a standoff, an emotional stare-down to see who’ll give in first. But, by being the first to apologize, you’re displaying enough vulnerability to convey, “My connection with you means more to me than “winning” this argument.” And that almost always leads to a resolution.
- Share your struggles. Whether it’s with friends, family, or a partner, we’re often tempted to share the highlight reel of our day. But by being transparent about the difficulties you encounter, you’ll likely be rewarded with greater intimacy and connection with the people around you.
- Express appreciation. The little thank-you‘s and acknowledgments of the good you see in others? They’re not little. If you someone shows you patience, kindness, or forgiveness, open yourself up to let them know how you see it and appreciate it.
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Ready to bring more healthy vulnerability to your story?