When I was growing up I remember my mom telling me I was “unemotional” and reserved. I didn’t really know what she meant when she used to say this. I went through life always having my guard up, getting the tasks done, and never really connecting with my own emotions. I had friends often say that it was hard to read me, I never showed sadness, anger or defeat. Now at the age of 26, I can say that practicing vulnerability and being completely transparent has transformed my life for the better.
Vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure, all the things which I couldn’t image myself doing for the longest time. My inability to truly be vulnerable limited me in many important areas such as love, friendships, trust and tapping into my own creativity.
When you are being vulnerable, you are willing to show up and be seen. It’s really hard to do that when you are terrified of what people may think if you put down the armor.
I spent many year hustling for my worthiness and desperately trying to prove that I can be somebody. Instead of simply standing in my own feelings of worthiness I felt I had to work hard to prove it.
When you attach your self-worth to the shape of your body, your achievements and how much you earn, being authentic and real is tough to do. All of this was rooted in perfectionism and my desire to be perfect in all facets of life. There is no way you can live a happy and fulfilling life like this.
So, how does one learn vulnerability and let go of the fear of being exposed? Just like anything, it takes practice and doesn’t happen over night. For me, I started to slowly open up about little things in my personal life. I would share stories with friends, clients and my family about things I had gone through in the past.
I had to try really hard not to take this as being a form of “weakness”, in fact it was amazing to see how people started to view me differently. I had one on one conversations with close friends, I started sharing my own struggles and setbacks when it came to my fitness journey and within 4-5 months I noticed a positive shift in my connection with everyone around me. There was a different level of compassion and empathy that I developed with people. At the core of it all, people were able to resonate and relate with me more on an emotional level. What came out of it was that I was convinced I wasn’t very emotional, now I cry all the time when I feel the need to and it doesn’t even phase me.
Here are some tips on the power of vulnerability and turning it into strength
1) Become self-aware – I think there is a lot of power in journaling your feelings, if you are feeling vulnerable in a situation, write it out. Write down why you felt vulnerable, what are the qualities about yourself that you feel you need to hide from others? You may not accept some of these things about yourself, it’s important to understand what’s at the root of it.
2) Reveal something – practice revealing more about yourself to friends, family ect. In my case, opening up about my struggles helped me connect with others and it actually inspired my need to start writing more often. The more you reveal, innovation and stronger connections will manifest
3) Say how you feel in the moment – Open and honest communication is always the best way to go. If you are feeling uncertain about something, let people know. This creates a sense of authenticity and trust with the people around you. When you are willing to admit to how you feel in the moment, you automatically allow and enable others to do the same.