Being Vulnerable Brings Us Closer
One of my favorite authors is Brené Brown. If you haven’t ever read any of her stuff, I highly recommend you look into her. She is one of the most well-known researchers and authors on shame and vulnerability. She defines vulnerability throughout many of her books, but the quote that resounds the most with me is:
“People who wade into discomfort and vulnerability and tell the truth about their stories are the real badasses.”
Social Media Makes This Hard
If you are an active user on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or some other platform, you know how hard it is to be vulnerable. We are surrounded by videos, pictures, and posts of perfectly curated stories. We follow friends who seemingly have life all together all of the time. Their kids are so cute, their house is perfectly decorated, they lost 30 pounds and they look fabulous, look how happy she is on her family vacation to the beach! When we immerse ourselves in these stories, we are not only comparing the reality of our lives to what we see on social media, but little by little, we can feel like something is missing in our lives. Sometimes we begin to compete with one another, only sharing the most socially acceptable versions of our life. We rarely witness vulnerability on social media. That is why, we rarely witness the unedited versions of ourselves.
Now, I’m not suggesting we should all start posting our worst moments all over the internet. I think we should take a harder look at how we are interacting with people at the moment. For me, the times when I felt closest to someone was when the other person shared their vulnerability with me. You might be asking, “what does that look like?”
It looks like having a conversation with your direct report about how they are struggling with completing a task that you’ve assigned them. You can talk to them about a time when you were experiencing the same feelings and frustrations. It looks like kneeling with your child when they are frustrated with their school homework and letting them know how hard math was for you and how you would get knots in your stomach when called upon by your teacher. It looks like talking to your friend about how hard it has been to connect with your teenager. You want so badly for them to talk to you, but you just don’t know how to get on their level.
Vulnerability comes in all shapes and sizes and I encourage you to try it on today! When you are in a meeting with your colleagues, show your leadership by pointing out how you struggled at one point in your life. When you and your partner have an argument and you notice they are hurt by something you have said, take note and feel into their pain and emotions and expose your truth. Let them know you hear them. Process what was said and return to them at the right time and let them know you f’ked up.
Vulnerability is setting aside your pride and admitting when you have screwed up. It can look like accepting responsibility with a peer group, but not having any experience or skills needed to accomplish the task. It can look like being the first to say “I love you” in a new relationship.
One of the most vulnerable moments in my life was when I called my mom to ask her to come and be my sober companion for a few weeks. I had decided to quit drinking just days prior and knew I needed help. I let her know that I didn’t trust myself and was hoping she would come to stay with me while I made it through those first days. I have always tried to portray myself as a strong, brave, independent person, especially to my mom, because that’s who she was to me. Being a single mom of 2 boys, I felt that I needed to be extra strong and courageous in every aspect of my life. It took so much courage for me to make that phone call and it had such a lasting impact on my relationship with my mom. She saw a side of me that was fragile and in dire need. To this day, my mom is my biggest fan and I can deeply feel her pride in me and that is such a great feeling.
There are so many ways we can be vulnerable. Throughout your week, try to find one moment in which you can be vulnerable. If you are up for it, I would love for you to comment your vulnerable moment below. Be Brave, Be Authentic, Be Vulnerable!