Written by therapist Treshana Lewis

As I searched to find the meaning of vulnerability, all I could find is that it is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. The key component of vulnerability is exposure: the state of being uncovered. Exposure is a word many of us are acquainted with. 

At this very moment, somewhere in the world, a teenage girl is strategically positioning herself to be exposed to just the right amount of light in order to capture that perfect selfie. Simultaneously, there is a 30-year old utilizing the exposure of varying social media sites to unveil and promote their new business. Let us not forget the 60-year that has finally decided to expose themselves to their fear of flying in order to see the enchanting beauty that exists among the earth. Are you beginning to see a pattern here? I do! 

You see, exposure, the key component of vulnerability, doesn’t just create the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. It creates the possibility of freedom, fulfillment, confidence, purpose, bravery, and joy within one’s physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental being.

 

It has been said that “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change”

-Brene Brown

Debunking the Myths

MYTH #1: Vulnerability is a sign of weakness 

TRUTH #1: Vulnerability is a sign of bravery

For many of us, it’s hard to embrace and openly express our emotions, feelings, and thoughts with others. We have believed the lie that exposing one’s emotions should be concealed and any mention of it is a sign of weakness. This narrative has especially wreaked havoc on the lives of men. The truth is, it takes courage and bravery to stand in the ring of our own emotions and the perceptions of others or self. It takes strength to live honestly and authentically.

 

MYTH #2: Vulnerability is letting it all hang out

TRUTH #2: Vulnerability is sharing aspects of ourselves with people who have earned it

Vulnerability is intentional. It is based on mutuality and is reliant on boundaries and trust. 

Vulnerability is not…

  • Social media dumping after a break.

  • Over sharing with a stranger to gain their approval. 

  • Purging your feelings, thoughts, and/or emotions.

Disclosure with boundaries and trust are two ways we experience the full potency and treasures of vulnerability. Slowing down and pausing will help you understand who to trust with your feelings. By doing this you will be honoring yourself. 

Benefits of Vulnerability

You may be wondering: Is vulnerability a risk? Is vulnerability uncomfortable? The answer is yes, to both. But, so is driving a car for the first time, making a large investment, and giving birth. These things are all a part of the human experience. This means vulnerability is the pulse of life.

Even though vulnerability can be uncomfortable and risky there are many benefits. Here are just a few. 

  • Vulnerability can lead to liberation. It gives us the space to freely live in our authentic selves. 

  • Vulnerability helps develop empathy.  As we let down our guards and seek to understand and share our feelings,we, in turn, are able to create a loving and safe environment for others to do the same. 

  • Being vulnerable can help us to process emotions more easily and effectively. 

  • Vulnerability fosters good emotional, mental, and physical health.

  • Being vulnerable can help us create deeper connections and relationships with others. 

Here is the truth about vulnerability, it is an inevitable part of life. Instead of trying to fight it, let’s try embracing it knowing that it will add fullness to our lives. If you are interested in taking the journey into a life of vulnerability, one of the therapists here at Optimum Joy will gladly support you along the way.

 

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