I can't even tell you how many conversations I've had lately that end with the conclusion that either myself or who I'm talking to is afraid to be vulnerable.
What does the word vulnerable even mean to you?
How do you feel inside when you consider acting vulnerably in your life?
Here's some ways that the fear of vulnerability might be showing up in your life:
-Fear of failing so not even beginning.
-Fear of feelings that are too big so stuffing down all the feelings.
-Fear of being judged so making up hurtful stories in our own heads about how others are judging us.
-Fear of being imperfect so painting a glossy picture on the outside while majorly struggling on the inside.
I LOVE what Brené Brown has to say about vulnerability, she says " it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change."
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”
She notes that when other people act vulnerably, we are drawn to them. Try to think of a time recently when someone let you in deeply and truthfully to a struggle they were having or an embarrassing moment they experienced. Did you feel more or less drawn to them? Generally, people answer that they feel more drawn in and more empathic.
Now imagine a time recently where you made a mistake or needed to say no but were afraid to. Were you able to share those experiences with others or did you stuff them down and deal with them yourself? If you stuffed them down, you might be struggling with a fear of vulnerability. If you shared, how did it feel? Was it scary but worth it? Did you feel better or worse afterwards.
Generally, we are so drawn to vulnerability in others (because it helps us know we're all human, right!?) and terrified of letting ourselves be seen as vulnerable.
But connecting in vulnerability is one of the fastest ways to:
- allow our higher selves some space in the day to day of our lives.
-speak our truths.
-get our needs met.
-honor our feelings.
-move into a space of emotional health.
I want to offer you one tool to use to start practicing a bit more vulnerability today. The next time you have a truth that you want to express but feel scared to, (aka: are ready to practice courage) speak your truth by leading with a feeling.
Whenever we start a sentence with "I'm feeling (scared, tired, vulnerable, worried, excited, anxious, nervous, called, surprised, etc, etc., etc.)" it opens us to vulnerability is a very safe and effective way. We keep the focus on ourselves. We take 100% responsibility for ourselves. We share a feeling. We allow our feelings. It's one simple but H U G E step you can start practicing right away.
So the next time you open a conversation with yourself or another that feels a bit out of your comfort zone, take a breathe to find out what feeling you are bringing to the conversation and try leading with this, "I'm feeling (you fill in here)." And then from there go on to state what's going on with you. It's so simple and so radical. Give it a try and let me know how it goes.