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.”