“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path...I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.” Brene Brown
Love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity. That’s quite a list. Brene Brown powerfully reminds us that we get none of these things if we are not in touch with our own vulnerability.
The old concepts of strength and weakness as opposites, and vulnerability as being about weakness just don’t make sense. It takes a lot of strength to open up to our vulnerabilities, for we fear what will happen when we do. Oftentimes people think they may fall apart if they let even a little feeling in. They may have had endless messages about the wrongness of feeling or expressing emotions, and the need to keep a stiff upper lip and just carry on.
It seems counter-intuitive that the way forward when we feel weak is to open to the wound, to make space for it and come to know it. It seems strange to say that this is where strength shows up, right where vulnerability is given a home. And yet, time and time again in therapy this is exactly what happens.
When we soften, and look inside with love and understanding, we find that vulnerability reveals gifts. We take risks, expose ourself emotionally, and face the uncertainty that this brings, and through that, we become who we are, and our lives begin to flow.
When you tighten up, and feel yourself becoming tense or brittle, just notice. Ask yourself, what am I defending against? What do I not want to let in? And breathe, soften, and smile. Be with the discomfort, say hello to this old friend that tries so ineffectually to keep you safe.
And then, take a peak beneath the tightness, and take a moment to be with the soft spot within. Allow the vulnerability within you to show itself, and impart the message it wants to give.
Each time you do this, you will become just a little more authentic, a little more accountable to your own self, and a little more able to empathise and relate.
For support in revealing the gifts your own strengths, defences, and vulnerabilities offer, get in touch for online psychotherapy sessions.