Vulnerability. What’s your level?

Is being vulnerable something which comes easily to you? The majority of people you ask this question will tell you it doesn’t. This is actually a curious situation, because when you break down what it means to be vulnerable, you are actually being your true self. So, why would this be so hard to do?

As we are growing up, we experience situations which have outcomes which may not be desirable. In my opinion, it is after we have these experiences that we place an invisible protective wrapper around ourselves to help prevent this from happening again. It’s like a band aid that provides some cover, but not ultimately the actual full protection we might desire from having the negative experience impact us again.

Another way to look at why we are less comfortable with being vulnerable, is to understand we might not have enough role models to demonstrate how to be this way. Role models which can clearly demonstrate how it’s actually a far better way to show up in life. This is versus having a false veneer of ourselves, that so many of us present to the world. You’ve heard the expression of someone being “fake”, or not genuine. When someone is called out for being this way, its other human beings recognizing another person not being who they truly are.

When you stop to think about yourself and whether you allow yourself to be perceived as a vulnerable person, at what point in your life did you begin to wrap yourself in a protective veneer? The kind which prevents the world from seeing who you truly are?  

Let’s face it. Being vulnerable can be a scary concept. It can also potentially put you in harm’s way. However, it doesn’t have to, and that’s simply one way and perception to consider.

What if we did have more role models who showed us how being vulnerable wasn’t scary? That being vulnerable is a well-regarded, strong and respectable way to live your life? How about considering whether being vulnerable also presented you with more opportunities in your life and career? Would this change your mind on your perception or behavior of being vulnerable?

Many leaders will agree that allowing themselves to be vulnerable has changed how they lead others. They will also offer from their experience that it wasn’t until they opened up, and showed their vulnerable and what I will refer to as “human-self”, that they became impactful, authentic and purpose driven leaders. The type of leader that people want to follow, and have genuine respect for.

Anyone who is an expert at something, will agree it took them an enormous amount of time and practice to get to that level. So, the same rules would likely apply to mastering the concept of being vulnerable. Right? Perhaps, but not necessarily. The reason for this is that being vulnerable is really about being truly who you are. This shouldn’t be hard to do, but in fact it appears to be harder for more people than you might imagine. Am I calling you out on this? Or, someone you know?

If you feel like I am calling you out and exposing you for not being vulnerable, you need to know something. I’m doing so because I am coming from a place of being highly vested in wanting to help people with being more like themselves. Isn’t this something you would rather be? Instead of always feeling like you have to pretend to be someone else? I would imagine this must be exhausting to have to feel you need to act this way. Versus being vulnerable and your true self.

Anyone who has been following my writing for a few years, or who might also be a writer and speaker, knows the risk we take when we express ourselves via our written, or spoken words. It can be simultaneously frightening and freeing. Especially if you are speaking from your heart, or about aspects of your life that others may not know about.

Personally, for me, there are two distinct times in my life when I felt incredibly vulnerable, and they occurred two decades apart.  The first experience was when I became divorced at the age of 23. I had only been married for one year, but I felt like the biggest failure in my life had occurred. The reality is that if I had I not gone through this experience at such a young age, I wouldn’t have found my current husband who I have married to for close to 30 years.

The second time I felt overwhelmingly vulnerable was when I shared with people in my first book, Wisdom Whisperer, that I was dyslexic. I always was afraid of telling people that I was dyslexic. Why? Because I was concerned about how they would perceive me, and that because I had a learning disability, that I was different from them. Even worse, was that people might feel pity for me. Or, that I was not capable of achieving great things in life because of my disability.

In reality, when I shared and revealed my vulnerabilities with others, that it opened up conversations I would not have otherwise had. Upon sharing my experiences with others, they seemingly felt compelled to share one of their vulnerabilities. I was incredibly grateful for this. I also felt accepted for who I was, what I had been through, and that I did not have to hide behind the wrappers that I had continuously placed around myself to protect me from what I perceived to be my two greatest vulnerabilities.

Since I customarily provide suggestions on how to do something, and in this case it would be about how to become more vulnerable, I will share these with you if you ask me for them via my email: kathymurphy@me.com  However, today I am ending this story by asking you to do one thing. That one thing is to rate yourself on your vulnerability level (e.g., 1-5, with 5 being the highest). Be honest with your assessment, and if you are not at either a 4 or 5 level, please reach out to me for suggestions on how to get there. This is my belated “Valentine’s Day” gift to you.

TAGS: #Vulnerability #Howtobevulnerable #Advantagesofbeingvulnerable #Beingvulnerable #Leadership #Dyslexia #Dyslexic #Divorce #Motivation #Tipsonhowtobevulnerable

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