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- Susceptible to physical harm or damage
- Susceptible to emotional injury, especially in being easily hurt
- Susceptible to attack
- Open to censure or criticism; assailable
Vulnerability, as can be seen above, can be defined in many different ways. However, there is a common theme; the possibility of pain.
The term vulnerability is a loaded term that, oddly enough, a lot of people are scared of using and even more scared of being. Being vulnerable means that you have your guard down, in a sense, and have a bigger possibility of being hurt physically or emotionally.
But, what if vulnerability could be associated with strength?
I don't know about you, but a lot of the stories of heartbreak I have heard have come from the fear of being vulnerable. In love, as in a lot of things in life, being our true selves is frowned upon. Why? Because we are naturally flawed. Being flawed is okay, but it becomes unhealthy when you are trying to hide away all the parts of yourself that make you the person that you are.
When you choose to be in a relationship with someone, a lot of the time you intend to spend the rest of your life with them. We all have this common goal of finding our better half, our soulmate, someone to connect with. So, why is it so hard for us to open up?
Relationships start off all rosy most of the time because 2 people are starting to get to know each other, which involves a certain degree of vulnerability. However, as the relationship goes on, someone may feel that their partner may not like their dark side, the side that doesn't always feel like going out or being social, or who just feels down a lot of the time. In an effort to hide away their true selves, they start to distance themselves from their partner. This could lead to feelings of resentment and even confusion from the other end, leading their partner to believe they did something wrong. In not being open about the discussion to tackle the fear of openness, relationships can inevitably fall apart, and it has happened time and time again.
However, I have realized that the strongest relationships are the ones where both partners are vulnerable. The truth is everyone is not going to like you, but it is important to find the ones who do. In order to do this, you must be your true self.
Vulnerability provides us the freedom of not having to overthink everything we say or do. It allows us to share our message with the world in the most genuine way possible. Vulnerability allows us to live life fully, as it should be lived, and not get inside our own head and overthink everything.
Vulnerability also helps us build deeper connections with others through the telling of our own personal stories.
“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
― Brene Brown
As Brene Brown mentions in her article Own Your History, Change the Story, there is courage in being able to own our stories instead of denying them.
As many of you know, I have an Instagram account called Common Sense Living, where I share my own personal anecdotes and life stories, and share lessons I have learned along my life's journey. However, this whole idea came from embracing vulnerability!
In order to tell our stories honestly, we cannot leave out the details. I am not the best storyteller, since I tend to get caught up in the details of the situation before getting to my main point. However, I tell my stories the way that I want, and in doing so, I make myself vulnerable to criticism. But I find the more we practice being vulnerable, the easier it gets.
In sharing our stories, it encourages others to also be vulnerable enough to share their own. In being vulnerable ourselves, we create a safe space for others to share their hardships and, in doing so, a space of connection.
I am so grateful to be part of such a positive community on Instagram, a place that a lot of people find toxic. The reason why is because a lot of the people within this community do not hide away who they truly are. People have asked me if I ever received criticism and the truth is I haven't. After all, what is there to criticize if I am telling my own story?
My life experience is not the same as others' and that is what makes it beautiful. Our stories are worth sharing, and everyone's story is different. Vulnerability allows us to truly give a platform to our pain and happiness, and allow others to connect with us and to connect with themselves.
In the end, vulnerability is not just weakness. Moreover, vulnerability is strength. We must change the way that we choose to view this word and not let it get in the way of how we live our lives.