Often times, vulnerability is seen as a weakness and we will do anything we can to avoid being the person who is the most vulnerable. As women, we are constantly told to not show our softer side, express how we’re feeling, and be the first person to say “I’m sorry,” “I love you” or “I miss you” if we want to play hard to get or remain mysterious. But what exactly is vulnerability? According to Dr. Brene Brown it is the willingness to “fail big.” As more and more women are offered leadership positions and become entrepreneurs, it is important that in order to “step into our power” we must embrace our vulnerability instead of avoiding it. The truth is that being vulnerable is scary for even the most confident women. By exposing what you’re really feeling or thinking you are opening yourself up for people to see into the person you truly are. Even though being vulnerable can feel dangerous and unsafe, it will never compare to the feeling of wondering, “what could have been” if you leave important words left unsaid. Here are five reasons why being vulnerable is a powerful and desirable trait in all areas of your life.
1. It can improve communication in your relationships:
It’s true—the more vulnerable you are in your personal and professional relationships, the more likely it is that someone will feel they can relate with you. When you’re more vulnerable and willing to point out what you don’t know or what mistakes you think you made, people will trust that you will do the best you can to correct it. By admitting that you’re not perfect (and hey—none of us really are) your coworkers and significant others will respond better when you aren’t defensive. By making yourself open to constructive criticism and feedback, people will not be afraid to tell you their honest opinion when it’s important.
2. People will feel more inclined to support you:
While not everyone is a Jennifer Lawrence fan—she has America falling head over heels for her quirkiness and vibrant personality. One of the reasons I think this is true is because in almost all of her interviews she openly laughs and makes fun of herself before anyone has the opportunity to do it for her. Even though she’s an Academy Award winning actress, she makes us feel like she’s one of us. By laughing at yourself and being more relatable, people have a stronger desire to support and feel close to you.
3. It shows other people that it’s OK to be vulnerable:
Something I always try to remind myself is that if I want people to act a certain way, I can only do that by setting an example through my actions. How often have you gone months without talking to someone only to find out that they missed you just as much as you missed them? We are so afraid of being rejected by telling people we care about them first or by telling them that we miss them first that we waste so much of our time trying to wait for the other person to make the first move. By showing your empathetic side, it encourages other people to open up.
4. It allows for creativity:
If more people are open to being vulnerable and sharing their thoughts and ideas and we are more accepting of them, it allows people to share their creative ideas without fear of ridicule. Whether it’s at home or at work—brainstorming and coming up with new ideas is always easier when you have more of them to work with. Vulnerability allows for innovative thinking—because it allows for people to engage in storytelling without “armoring up.”
5. It allows people to feel a TRUE connection with you:
You’d be surprised how loving all of you and then sharing it with those around you can help you connect with anyone. When you are vulnerable you are being loving towards yourself because you are not hiding your flaws out of shame—but openly embracing them. People will be attracted to your openness and acceptance of yourself AND you will attract the right people who love the REAL you, not an idealized version of you.