If you look for the definition of the word vulnerability, you’ll find it explained as a “state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally”.
So, who in their right mind will consider this as a good quality to have? I mean, if you’re not a masochist.
This understanding of the word comes from the believe that it’s exactly the opposite of strength. Being vulnerable is the antonym of being powerful.
Nevertheless, the situation is different when it comes to human relationships. Actually, it takes a lot of courage to show vulnerability in front of others. Professor Brené Brown dedicated a lot of her studies to explain this concept which she detailed in her books and her talks. She even has a TED talk and a Netflix special on this topic which I highly recommend.
You see, the social convention for grown-ups is that they should have their shit together and should be in control of their lives. All the time. Which we all know it’s impossible. And how do we deal with that? We pretend. We play different roles. We fake it till we make it. Personally and professionally. Which is exhausting and disconnecting from your self.
Just think about social media and how perfect everything seems there. Like everyone is on crack and we all live in Paradise. Everything is beautiful (we have filters for that), everyone has perfect families and friends (we only mention the good moments), everyone is successful (we only talk about achievements, not the failures or the effort to get there). I’m not even going to talk about how everyone is an expert in their professional field. It’s a vicious circle that we follow because no one wants to be below the expectations.
In this context, to willingly expose yourself as imperfect is an act of courage. But, without it, true relationships with the others can’t happen. And this is a vital need for us humans, as social animals. To feel connected.
We have flaws and bad times and sometimes we have no ideas what we’re doing. So what? Why is it more important to behave in a certain way rather than be genuine? When that is clearly adding more quality and balance to your life?
I find it a greater sign of maturity to acknowledge and accept your vulnerabilities rather than hide them under a polished mask of perfect human beings. We cannot build trust without openness and authenticity. Subsequently, we cannot build a real connection with others without trust. They are dependent on one another.
For me, only the brave ones can show vulnerability to others because they’re conscious of the risk of being harmed, but still willing to take the leap of faith and do it for the reasons I mentioned above.
It takes courage to live a life built on these pillars, but knowing the benefits and the balance they bring who wants to be in a position to say at some point: What if?
Even though we’re (perfectly) imperfect. We’re still worthy.