Vulnerability is often looked at as a negative emotion. It’s considered an ugly word; one that people tend to avoid like the plague. Common misconception looks at vulnerability as a sign of weakness or incompetence, but in reality we all have vulnerabilities. We just have to learn how to manage them appropriately.
Western society suggests that people present themselves as Superheroes with complete control over their emotions. This couldn’t be further from the truth. How many times have you had a boss lash out at you when they are having a bad day, or seen a parent lose their patience with their child? Those emotions stem from a lack a patience, but also a sense of vulnerability. A sense of fear that something isn’t going right. A feeling of discomfort when something doesn’t go as planned. Educator and Researcher Brene Brown discusses vulnerability in a positive way. Ever since her infamous Ted Talk, Brown has done countless talks in regards to vulnerability and how we manage the emotion. Her research shows how vulnerability can help open new doors in life. It changes the way we think about our everyday tasks, and how we interact with people. It makes us think about their roles in our lives, as well as how our actions may affect them.
Vulnerability can help us tap into our sense of empathy. Without empathy, our interactions with others can become less fruitful. Lacking empathy robs us of the chance to form relationships beyond our robotic tasks of the day. It gives us a chance to explore what we have to offer the world, and what the world has to offer us.
Tapping into this emotion can also lead to creativity and innovation. Empathy allows us to see what is lacking in the world. The desire to change and transform what is lacking can lead to a myriad of opportunities for us to create systems, products, and services that the world needs. The widespread use of smartphones and social media stem from a need to connect with others. It taps into our human instinct of being connected with people who we know and love, as well as the desire to search for new connections. If you’ve never thought of smartphones as being connected to vulnerability, then you’ve probably never had your smartphone die unexpectedly. That sinking feeling of losing your data and all of your connections reminds you that we are all privy to the “ugly” emotion of vulnerability. Every CEO has had to face vulnerability as they climbed the corporate ladder. Every high school student waiting for a college acceptance letter has had to succumb to vulnerability. And as we age throughout our lives and become dependent on tools such as walkers and eyeglasses, our vulnerability is sometimes at an all-time high. So why not embrace vulnerability before it embraces you in a chokehold? Examine what vulnerability means to you, and what you can do with it. Some of the best innovations in the world were born out of extreme necessity. Embracing your vulnerability just may improve your life in ways you never thought possible.
If we let go of our attempts to be perfect all of the time, there is no telling what we will tap into. We may uncover an arsenal of new skills and abilities, and create something that the world will be grateful for.
Take a look at Brene Brown’s Ted Talk where she discussed the power of vulnerability. What are your thoughts on the video? What vulnerabilities are you holding on to?
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