So.. What is vulnerability?
The textbook definition of vulnerability is — the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.
Now, this definition definitely aligns with the typical assumptions of vulnerability. The idea that vulnerability is a sign of weakness, something to be ashamed of, and that it is scary and uncertain.
But, in reality vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, or something to be ashamed of (but it still can be scary and uncertain).
Vulnerability is all about confidence and your inner strength.
The reason that we often associate vulnerability with weakness, shame and fear is because with vulnerability comes the potential for rejection or failure — which is scary!!
Think about it…
I bet that you can identify at least one experience where being vulnerable with an individual has led to rejection or failure.
For me, I can recall several, especially in situations where I thought that I could trust the person I was being vulnerable with.
I don’t know about you, but that definitely does not make me want to be vulnerable with someone ever again.
So how can you overcome this?
Our biggest tip here is radical acceptance.
In order to get over the shame that surrounds vulnerability, you must accept the fact that if you are vulnerable, you may get hurt. There is simply no other way around it.
Once you have accepted the ugly parts of vulnerability, try practicing it — because practice makes perfect.
Try telling your close friends, significant other or a family member something that you would normally hold back — it can be your feelings, something they have done to upset you, or even just reaching out to them to reconnect.
Watch the magic happen.
Once you get to experience the benefits of being vulnerable, your life will be radically different.
For one thing, vulnerability can improve relationships and allow you to be more in tune with your feelings!
Now, as a leader and high achiever, these shifts can radically impact the way that you make decisions, lead a team, and the way that you form connections with other people.
You become more authentic in your relationships. When you are vulnerable with others, you don’t have to hide parts of yourself, or worry that you won’t be accepted by those around you for who you truly are!
Vulnerability also allows you to elevate your ability to empathize with others. Being vulnerable with others allows you to access your own experiences that allow you to be empathetic, and it allows you to share experiences that form deeper connections with others.
When you allow yourself to be vulnerable with others, you build trust within your relationship. By opening up to the other person, you show them that you trust them. When your vulnerability is met with a positive reaction, your trust in the other person is in turn strengthened.
You build a sense of empowerment to be your authentic self and build powerful connections with those around you!
Remember that ultimately, vulnerability is inevitable.
So, you must learn to get comfortable with the uncomfortable in order to reap the benefits!
Brenda Lee is a Leadership Development and Team Building expert to some of the world’s most exciting entrepreneurs and professionals who have all the trappings of success but have hit a barrier they are ready to breakthrough.