The Importance of Being Vulnerable I’ve been reading some really inspiring blog posts recently and all of them seem to focus on the theme of vulnerability. But being vulnerable is not a very “British” thing to do. Our culture seems to focus on vulnerability as a weakness: we never ask for help and never talk about the things that are really affecting us. Instead we keep it all bottled up, put on a brave face and keep a stiff upper lip. Never let the outside world know there’s something the matter, right? Wrong!
The buzz of vulnerability
These days, the term vulnerability actually seems to be as popular as mindfulness. And, from my
own experience and from all the information out there, being vulnerable is just as important as
being mindful too.
The buzz of vulnerability is thanks to the work of Brené Brown – an American scholar, author
and public speaker who is a research professor at the University of Houston. In fact, some
people describe her as a “shame-and- vulnerability expert”. Sounds strange but bear with me.
The challenge ahead
The problem with British culture is that it makes us cynical of being vulnerable. It just doesn’t
sit right to share problems and ask for help, does it? That’s exactly what I thought when I first
heard of Brené’s work. But, thankfully, she is a straight-talking Texan who had a nervous
breakdown a few years ago. And when her therapist told her that she needed to embrace her
vulnerability, Brené’s initial reaction was “screw that!”. But her therapist;s words were taken
seriously and led Brené to carry out revolutionary research. In fact, Brené’s 2010 TEDx talk
(which you can see here) is one of the top ten most viewed TED talks in the world.
What is vulnerability?
In the words of Brené herself, vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. We are
often brought up without being taught how to deal with uncertainty or emotional exposure and
this can close us off.
Brené advocates that living a full life requires you to be courageous. And being courageous
means that you have to do things that make you feel vulnerable. You have to take those risks,
make those big leaps when you don’t feel ready and show your authentic self to the world! Her
message is a simple yet beautiful one: we should stop worrying about being perfect, accept
ourselves just the way we are and interact meaningfully with each other. And in the words of
Brené again “People are sick and tired of being afraid all the time. People want to be brave
again. So the message is, do it! Get your courage on, but be clear that it won’t be easy. It’s going
to feel rubbish.”
Being vulnerable is a strength
For us at LLLY, showing vulnerability shows huge strength. And the first step for us on the
vulnerability ladder is owning every single part of your story. Reflect on and accept the
experiences that have made you the person you are today. Appreciate them.
This ownership can be a vulnerable process as it is unnerving to look at all the things in your life
with appreciative eyes. Vulnerability is about opening up to people and trusting where you are
today. We at LLLY really believe that self-acceptance is start of the firm foundation to stepping
forward and acting courageously. And you can only get there by letting go and being vulnerable!
Vulnerability is the key to connection
Connection is important in all parts of our lives – love, work, family, home. If we keep ourselves
all blocked up and don’t let our vulnerability show, then there’s no chance of us meeting like-
minded minds and hearts. In fact, it often leaves us feeling isolated. Being open, honest and
vulnerable with those on the important paths of our lives is scary, yes, but will lead you to
deeper and stronger connections than you ever thought possible.
I know what you’re thinking though – if you don’t put yourself out there, you won’t get hurt. But
that is so wrong. You are hurting yourself every time you refuse to go after what you want. You
are depriving yourself of finding true connection with others. You are preventing yourself from
living the life you love!
Why don’t you give vulnerability a go this week and see what happens? It’s scary, but we’re with
you every step of the way. Let us know how you get on!