Life Lessons Learned From… Vulnerability

Vulnerability is a topic we tend to avoid talking about, but it is so crucial to our existence.

In a TED Talk on “The Power of Vulnerability” and an article on “Vulnerability and Inspired Leadership”, Brené Brown discusses how vulnerability is commonly seen to be synonymous with weakness.

We shield ourselves from the discomfort of vulnerability (and what we see as the impending shame and fear that follows it) through this constant cycle of numbing: we perfect, we pretend, and we please. We seek to minimize blame, judgment, and criticism, but this ultimately maximizes our resentment towards and disengagement from life. That may be a safe way to live, but it’s stifling! Sure, vulnerability is full of risk, uncertainty, and exposure (all very nerve-wracking experiences), but when we willingly allow ourselves to be open and transparent (when we “dare to show up and let ourselves be seen”), we will come to realize that vulnerability is a fundamental human quality that leads to a meaningful life full of joy, creativity, community, and love.

How does Brown encourage us to embrace vulnerability in our lives? We can try by living with the courage to be imperfect, with the compassion to be kind (to yourself and to others), with the connection to be authentic to who you are, and with the belief that you are enough.

One of the most important messages that Brown presents in her talk is this: “You’re imperfect, and you’re wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

8 thoughts on “Life Lessons Learned From… Vulnerability

  1. Cathy Laws

    I’ve been reading the book and I swear it is changing my life! Daring Greatly has encouraged me to get out of the house by myself despite how much I hate doing it lol. going to the grocery store alone is no big deal, but running a 5k today by myself would have never happened before lol. so much fun!! each time you take a risk to feel vulnerable and it turns out so well, you want to do it again

    1. It’s great how the book has been such a great motivation to you! You’re absolutely right – Taking small risks regularly opens us up to so many new opportunities, even some we never would have considered before!

  2. I’m reading Daring Greatly now and it’s amazing. I’m completely in love Brene Brown’s work! It has definitely opened my eyes to embracing vulnerability rather than resisting, not to mention what I’ve learned about the dreaded and unspoken *shame*. Really liberating to come to understand the shame -> vulnerability-> courage path.

    1. Brown’s perspective on vulnerability is so refreshing and reassuring! By our choosing to associate vulnerability with courage instead of shame, we can feel more confident to accomplish so much more in our lives.

  3. “We seek to minimize blame, judgment, and criticism, but this ultimately maximizes our resentment towards and disengagement from life.”

    Can you elaborate on this? I’m not understanding how lowering blame and judgement to others will increase resentment. Or am I understanding it completely wrong?

    Do you have a physical copy of this book? I’d love to take it off your hands for a few days and read it 🙂


    1. What I’m trying to get at with that statement is that by attempting to avoid taking ownership for our mistakes and receiving criticism or other words that may be hard to take from others, we are missing out on the potential for further learning and growth. Those fears of rejection, being wrong, etc, will prevent us from experiencing the opportunities life has to offer us if we don’t challenge ourselves to get past it.

      I hope that explanation clarifies the post somewhat! Reading the text back, it does sound a little confusing, haha.

      I don’t have the book, but it should be available at VPL or as an eBook! 🙂

  4. Pingback: Make It Happen | Elizabeth Rosalyn

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