“Vulnerability isn’t good or bad…(it) is the core of all emotions. To feel is to be vulnerable. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe that feeling is weakness. To foreclose on our emotional life out of fear that the costs will be too high is to walk away from the very thing that gives purpose and meaning to living… My entire research career has been fueled by a commitment to bring to light the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors that we all experience but never discuss — to find patterns and connections in our experiences so that we can learn more about the journey from fear and scarcity to love, belonging, and worthiness”.
Berne Brown, Shame and Vulnerability Researcher and Author
I am a big fan of Dr. Brown who through her research, writing and public speaking has shared many insights into the field of emotional intelligence and personal vulnerability by exposing taboos and false assumptions about the importance of coming to grips with the emotional aspects of living a more authentic and purposeful life. See thewick post On the Power of Connection presented by Dr. Brown’s at TED Houston Conference.
Personally I see the benefits of living a more open and vulnerable life but like so many people the ability to tell the truth to our self and others, to own our emotions and “walk the talk” of being able to execute in spite of risks of failure and vulnerability increases my engagement with life because of my new-found courage to do what I need to do improve my quality of living a more purposeful life. As Dr. Brown says: ” Even if letting ourselves be seen and opening ourselves up to judgment or disappointment feels terrifying, the alternatives are worse: Choosing to feel nothing — numbing. Choosing to perfect, perform, and please our way out of vulnerability. Choosing rage, cruelty, or criticism. Choosing shame and blame. Like most of you reading this, I have some experience with all of these alternatives, and they all lead to same thing: disengagement and disconnection.”
Action Challenge: What are you doing or not doing to be more open to being vulnerable and having the courage to tell yourself the truth? Finally, In what ways are you avoiding the embracing of change and openness in your daily interactions and settling for less than…in critical areas of your life–physically, emotionally mentally and spiritually? What can you do today to become a more open and vulnerable person who shows strength and courage by acting on your truths?