Do you remember the time when you were a kid and you would just be very blunt, fearless and try all kind of stuff that you may now call crazy? Such as thinking you could become superman or wonderwoman to save the world? Or perhaps, just being really open to literally anyone talking about your supposed imaginery friend? Well, I thought I could become the next Mother Theresa or lead this world to be more compassionate, or even thought I had the super power in me to save humanity . I am sure we all had our lists.
Now as you grow up you might think that those things were naive, crazy, immature or even just don´t make sense anymore. It is exactly the opposite. We were just being awesome at being our true selves.
Although we were exposed to getting emotionally or phyically hurt, it enabled us to experience new avenues of creativity, thoughts and ideas. This is the very core that helps us become what we truly are inclined to, free from fear of what might happen. Therefore, the first prerequiste to finding your real purpose and natural gifts and connect with yourself, is to be at the peak of vulnerability. In this blog I am going to tell you what you can do to start doing it right away.
Vulnerability is simply the state of being in a position of maximum exposure of getting emotionally or physically hurt. It instantly drives a sense of fear of shame, rejection and hurt in us. Our brain activates its ´Fight or Flight` mode, which means it almost involuntarily puts up a wall to protect your brain from any trespassing of the emotional trauma it can receive. As a result, fear forms as our natural defense(fight) or escape (flight) mechanism. When you are in fear of feeling pain or hurt, you simply try to shut it off.
Scientifically, your brain consists of three parts and your true self and potential is at the outer most core. In fight or flight mode situations , the part in your brain called the amygdala hijacks the other higher brain where your IQ and EQ rest. Basically the part where our superpowers, our natural gifts and our true self is hidden , is being blocked off by any feeling of fear your body is experiencing including the fear of being vulnerable. This is mostly because we like to believe that if we put our hearts on our sleeve we allow our selves to be exposed and anyone can come and hurt us, reject us or shame us. Often, we do not realize that we also block off our ownself in that process.
If vulnerability risks being hurt, then why should I be vulnerable?
Now, this is the question that came to me a while back. After going through a heap of phyiscal and emotional trauma for a vast amount of my life, I just did not want to be feeling the pain anymore. I tried every possible way of blocking it off, dodging every opportunity to grow and come out of it because of the planted fear of my dear beloved brain telling me: The hurt is not worth it. I feared, that if I let my guard down , I will face rejections, I will feel embarassed and hurt.
So I started telling myself another version of what was, because it made me feel comfortable. In reality I was running away from it.
More to the supposed hurt, I thought, that being vulnerable is actually a weakness. And just like actual weakness is an absence of energy to move any or all parts of your body, when we see an emotional weakness, we place our brain in a state of limbo. We try escape from everything associated with that weakness. We tend to end up in denial and block off emotions that actually connect us with our true self.
Do I really need to share my intimate, private personal failures with the world?
Nobody is asking you to be vulnerable to let people harm you. Authentic vulnerability is not about sharing your failures to the world to gain attention. Sharing lessons learned from such failures is different. Your attitude towards yourself is sufficient. In simple words you need to be vulnerable to yourself first or simply speaking be honest with yourself! In what way you like to be vulnerable is your personal choice.
Why do I need to be vulnerable at all?
Simply said when you are vulnerable to yourself you allow to connect within yourself. In another online article from the Jordan Harbinger show, I came across his very amusing story about being vulnerable.
He states how vulnerability is not something that somebody has to force you do it. You need to want it and allow it for yourself to happen.
A strong reason is your own motivation. Vulnerability needs to be authentic: You do not need to necessarily share things in a setting where you do not want to. Think of this as the phenomenan where people strategically try or even force you to open up.
My emphasis aligns with what Jordan said about how vulnerability needs to come from within, from wanting to open about something as opposed to being put in a scenario where you have to suddenly speak about intimate, personal, weird things in front of a group of people and not naturally allowing it to happen.
Metaphorically speaking, vulnerability is like a door to our souls and mind that you need to firstly reach and crack open beneath your own ego before passing through if you truly want to connect with yourself at a deeper level.
What does vulnerability do to us?
#1. When I was in a state of denial, I thought that my negative emotions will fade away on their own because what you cannot see is not there, right? Contrary to my belief, these emotions made me feel more and more uncomfortable and with every opportunity to grow, I felt that I am being paralysed from taking the next big move. Being vulnerable , removed my resistance to letting my emotions flow and helped me become more aware of myself.
#2. Every emotion needs to be processed by our body and the best way to do so is through expression. Your body is like a vessel, and emotions keep filling it up. Negative emotions need to leave your system for positive ones to enter. If not expressed in a proper manner, emotions, like fear and negativity, are toxic to your body and hinder you from personal development. Embracing Vulnerability is a way of expressing these emotions and discover your real painpoints.
#3. Embracing vulnerability requires you to be aware of what you really feel, why you feel what you feel and understand what is causing you trouble. Addressing our pain gives birth to feelings like hope, gratitude, compassion, excitement and joy connecting us with ourselves. It is said that we all give off a vibe from how we feel and if that vibe or aura is a positive, we tend to connect with positive people which is simply crucial for self development.
What should Vulnerability not be about?
The true difference according to Jordan , is the clear line between being and getting!
Again, I refer to one of his quote in his own article featured on his website:
The right motivations for opening up are about being: being ourselves, being connected, being authentic. The wrong motivations for opening up are about getting: getting sympathy, getting friendship, getting approval.Jordan Harbinger Show
My whole point is on authenticity and being your true self. If vulnerability allows us to be connected and authentic, it allows us to discover our true potential.
How to use vulnerability to being your best self?
Vulnerability is the first step in self discovery and self examination. You need to sit down with your self and inquire why and how you react when your pain buttons are triggered. What triggers you is a broken little part of your complete masterpiece.
I suggest doing the following:
a. Shut your ego up and show compassion towards yourself by telling your brain and heart that embracing your vulnerability is not a weakness as it takes courage and bravery to do so. The word courage itself comes from latin ´cor´ which means heart and was originally used to tell ones mind with telling one´s heart.
b. List down your triggers. Think of what made you feel and react negatively, aggressively or defensively and why did you feel so. Be honest with yourself. It is Ok to face your demons because you need to let go of them.
c. Stop Labelling your emotions and just try to think of the energy you feel. Tell yourself that it is ok the way you feel and that mistakes happen. Most importantly – please STOP judging yourself on how others will judge you.
d. Forgive yourself. The failures and mistakes are your treasure and a true gift of experiences to draw on when helping others. It is through forgiveness that we heal.
Bonus Tip: Forgiveness, just like gratitude, is something great if done daily before going to sleep because it allows our body to detoxify from the negative emotions and eliminates the idea that we can create a different version of our past. It is a conscious decision on stopping our mind from the what if situations.
Forgiveness helps us to remove most of the root cause of what contributes to our negative feelings we have subconsciously at times inside of us. Tell yourself what happened, why it happened and what you learned out of it. Try to let go of the grudges you hold towards something or someone. Imagine the impact of doing it daily:) I guess we owe ourselves that favour.;)
Summing it up in Bene Browns Words
Bene Brown, who spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame summed vulnerability in one of her Tedx Houstan talks in a beautiful way;
Vulnerability is about shame and fear and our struggle of worthiness but it is the birth place of joy, love , creativity and belonging. Since we cannot selectively numb our feelings, when we numb vulnerability, we numb the other good emotions like joy, gratitude and then we feel miserable looking for purpose and meaning.Bene Brown, Tedx Houstan Talk
Your Take Away
What I learned from Brown´s talk is;
- You need to believe you are worthy of love and belonging
- Our human brain is wired to connection and belonging.
- Courage means to tell who you are with your whole heart
- Whole hearted people have the courage to be imperfect
- Have compassion to be kind yourself first and then to others
- We cannot practise compassion with other people if we cannot treat ourselves kindly
- Vulnerable , whole hearted people have connection as a result from authenticity
- You have to be willing to let go of who you think you should be in order to be who you are
- What makes you vulnerable makes you beautiful
- Vulnerability takes your willingness to do something where there is no guarantee and to invest into relationships that may or may not work out
So let yourselve be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen
- To love with your whole heart even there is no guarantee
- To practise gratitude and joy in moments of terror
- And believe you are enough
My Message to you?At the end of the day I believe becoming your best self is not a phenomenan that is bound by time . You start doing it by becoming a true best version of yourself everyday. Live authentic. Live Passion. Live Dreams. This world needs the best in you!
So quit thinking and start doing!