Vulnerability. Why does it feel so scary?
Naked and Exposed
Have you ever done something so vulnerable that it made you feel completely naked and exposed? Do you fear having your faults, failures and flaws open to ridicule, rejection or judgment from others? Is that why we always say “don’t judge me” as a disclaimer before we’re about to share some personal weakness or struggle? Why does vulnerability feel so scary?
I’m sure you’ll agree that all of us want to be loved and accepted as we truly are, flaws and all. And I’m sure you’ll agree that what we all want in life is to experience deep connection with others. And most of us will do anything to protect our connection to others—even if it means holding back a part of our true selves.
It’s ironic how many of us think NOT sharing our truest selves will somehow strengthen our connection to others—we think the more perfect or together we appear will lead to our acceptance rather than rejection. But what we don’t realize is our unwillingness to be vulnerable serves to actually weakenour ability to connect with others.
Hard Wired to Connect
One of my favorite quotes that I’ve come across on connection is by best selling author, researcher and social worker, Dr. Brene Brown.
“We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it, there is suffering.”
Do you agree?
If you do in fact agree with this quote, then you can see why it’s so hard for us to be vulnerable. When we believe our vulnerability will cause others to run away from us rather than toward us because they’ll see all our true flaws, walls and claws, we will avoid vulnerability. Because in our minds, vulnerability means disconnection and disconnection means suffering. And who in their right mind wants to sign up for suffering?
So how do we over come this misconception concerning vulnerability? How can we can stop shrinking back from sharing our truest, most vulnerable selves with those we love and trust? What do we need to overcome within ourselves so we can share our stories and bare our souls with others and experience the bliss of deep connection to others? Because connection is what we all long for right? It’s what we’re ‘hard wired’ to do, right?
Instead of giving you a bunch of steps for braving up through vulnerability, I’ll give you just one. Are you ready for it? Here it is. Just do it. Simply choose to be vulnerable with those love, lead and work with. Decide to share your self, your story, your struggles, your fears, your joys, your dreams, your hopes, your ideas, and yes even your despair. Sometimes, the bravest thing you or I can do is simply ask for help. Despite your feelings of fear.
Be you unapologetically
I don’t know about you but I’ve simply decided to be me, unapologetically. It’s just too exhausting to stuff the real me. But I won’t lie to you. There is a cost to sharing the real you with the world. Not everyone will applaud you. Not every one will like you, accept you, embrace you or love you. And you know what? That’s okay. Because when you know whose you are, (flaws and all), you can freely walk in your authentic self.
If it’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of my 40+ years is to not give my thoughts or energy to what others think or say about me. I love the quote that says
“It’s none of my business what others think of me.”
The beauty and wonder of you
I only need to know what ONE thinks of me. The ONE who created me in HIS wonderful, powerful and beautiful image. An image far beyond any human description. The only approval I live for is the ONE who calls me the apple of HIS eye, HIS masterpiece and His own special possession.
Because I now know my value and worth in the sight of God—I don’t need to fear rejection from people. Nor do I need to fear the thoughts, opinions or perceptions others hold of me. Knowing my value in God allows me to not fear the disapproval of people. By understanding my true worth allows me to no longer fear their rejection of my thoughts, ideas or voice. Because the opinions, thoughts and perceptions of others do not define me.
I can say that I’ve finally learned that the only thing that matters to me is who God says I am. It has been this thought that has freed me to be the real me. Authentically and unapologetically. And that’s enough for me.
So what’s your story?
How have you overcome the fear of vulnerability in your own life? Or, what thoughts would you add to this topic of vulnerability? Tell me what you think below.
More on vulnerability
To gain more insight on this topic, check out this talk by Dr. Brene Brown that has been head by over 9 million people.
Read more on how to succeed in your relationships by checking out this post