Brene Brown is famous for her books on shame, resilience, vulnerability and more. Her words have dazzled and changed the lives of millions. One of my favorite quotes of hers is “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” I have certainly found those words to be true through my personal experiences. It seems that every time I have dared to be courageous and vulnerable, I have experienced some kind of positive growth or change. Now, let me be real here, that doesn’t mean that every time I’ve been vulnerable that it’s been pretty. That is far from the case. To me, being vulnerable is being willing to be truthful about how I am feeling. Even when I don’t want to. Even when it’s scary. Even when I want to run away as fast as I can in the opposite direction. To be vulnerable is to be courageous. Sometimes it doesn’t go over well when I speak up about how I’m really doing and sometimes I don’t communicate it effectively. I’m human. I’m allowed to mess up. I’m also allowed to show myself and others compassion.
Here’s an example of a time when I was vulnerable, and it did not go well. I was once in a relationship with someone who was not well. They frequently engaged in behaviors that were harmful to themselves and me. I sat them down and communicated to them how their behavior was affecting me in a negative way and what I needed from them in order to remain in the relationship. That person did not take it well and became very defensive. When I chose to leave the relationship, they responded as though I was the “bad guy” for no longer being willing to accept their mistreatment of me. While that particular experience of being vulnerable did not go well, I learned some very valuable lessons from it. I learned how to stick up for myself. I learned how to stand my ground on how I deserve to be treated even if others don’t understand or agree. I left the situation stronger, and more confident in myself. I was changed for the better.
Over the years, the more I have practiced being vulnerable, the better I have gotten at it. What once had me shaking in fear, only makes me a little nervous from time to time. Remember that it is normal to be uncomfortable with vulnerability and such feelings do not mean that you are weak or incapable of doing it. Be scared and do it anyway. You will be amazed at the amount of growth you can achieve through the power of vulnerability!