3 min read

The beauty of vulnerability

The beauty of vulnerability
Biking through such landscapes was the ultimate vulnerability test, surrendering to to the conditions and letting go of control and facing me fears. Yet at the same time being present and grateful for where I was every day.

A while ago, I had a job interview. At the end of the interview, I asked if there was any feedback. The interviewer thanked me for the pleasant, deep and open conversation and then suggested that I might want to be a little less honest.

Later, as I reflected on what was said, I decided not to take that advice to heart since I believe that vulnerability can make a difference. By showing vulnerability, you can connect with others on a deeper level. When I started my previous job, I said in my interview that I wanted to lead from a place of vulnerability. I remember the raised eyebrow from the interviewer and, at the same time, the fire that ignited within me. Once hired, I found that it's challenging to be vulnerable. The image of a leader is often someone who occasionally pounds their fist on the table and tells them what to do. People get confused when you admit that you don't have all the answers and that it's something we need to figure out together. I had someone in my team who embodied vulnerability—a beautiful mix of asking for help while standing her ground and demonstrating her worth. The effect was beautiful; colleagues not only helped her but also respected her, and bonds were formed while working together as a team.

Brene Brown, a researcher and storyteller, is one of the most well-known individuals who writes about vulnerability. In her research, she concluded that wholehearted people (those who believe they are worthy of love and belonging) had four traits:

  1. Courage (to be imperfect)
  2. Compassion (for oneself and others)
  3. Connection (as a result of authenticity by letting go of who you think you are)
  4. Vulnerability

Vulnerability means seeing it as a necessity to say "I love you" first, without knowing if you will hear it back. It involves letting go of control and prediction and is the birthplace of belonging and love.

Vulnerability might be the key to joy and love, but can also lead to rejection. Someone recently told me that hate is not the opposite of love; fear is the opposite. I agree. We fear that we won't hear 'I love you too,' we fear rejection for a job, rejection from a good friend, daughter, or a father. However, if we choose to look past our fear and realise that even without the approval of others, we are whole, we might find wonderful surprises. Sharing love through vulnerability, through the authentic you.

In her TED talk, Brene Brown also outlines a few strategies to how we often 'deal' with (or should I say dodge) vulnerability:

  • We numb ourselves. However, remember, we can't selectively numb emotions; we also numb joy and delight.
  • We turn uncertainty into certainty, resulting in a loss of discourse and enhances a black-and-white world.
  • We perfect our lives instead of celebrating imperfections.
  • We pretend that what we do doesn’t have an impact on others instead of saying, "We're sorry; we'll fix it."

So, what can you do to be more vulnerable?

  • Be compassionate towards yourself. Remember, it takes courage to be vulnerable, so take pride in it!
  • Give up on perfection. My blogs definitely have spelling errors, but I hope you remember the bigger meanings.
  • Practice gratitude and joy. For instance write down what you are grateful for daily or weekly.
  • Love with your whole heart, even without a guarantee of being loved back.

Here I am advocating for more vulnerability, encouraging you to find the courage to be you. Not only because we need more role models that live vulnerability, but also because it will hopefully help you love and be loved more.

p.s. also inspired by Brene Brown? Find more of her work here *

Practicing my vulnerability: standing in front of a photographer after a day of biking, sweating and not showering and feel that you're enough ;)

Disclosure: the link to the book of Brene Brown is an affiliate link. If you would make a purchase through this link, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I'll earn some coffee money, which will fuel me for writing more content ;).