Vul-ner-a-ble (adj.)- exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally
Weakness, shame, fear, and anxiety are a few words that are closely associated with the word vulnerable. We live in a world that is fuelled on cynicism and the intolerance of weakness. A world that views the fool as the person that dared try but did not succeed, and consequently felt the sting of putting themselves out there. But because nobody wants to feel like they are weak and foolish, society nourishes an attitude that it is better to live cynically than to be hopeful and later disappointed. However, we cannot expect to suppress the feelings of disappointment, rejection, and the other bad feelings that come along with failure, without suppressing the good as well. Do you ever find yourself foreshadowing the demise of something going well in your life? Because surely it is too good to be true?
After watching an interesting TED Talk by Brené Brown, here are a few new words that I now associate with vulnerability: joy, creativity, innovation, change, belonging. It is easy to lose your sense of self, purpose, and meaning, when you are preoccupied with censoring those exact things from the outside world. Furthermore, things like creativity, innovation, and change are flourished from a place of extreme vulnerability. They cannot exist without the initial courage of somebody that is willing to put themselves, and their ideas, out there for judgment, criticism and potential failure.
Though there is an intrinsic beauty in the creativity and joy and innovation that comes from vulnerability, shame and fear are still the driving force behind its taboo. Fear and shame have ingrained into our innate beings that if we are deeply seen for who we are, it might not be good enough. As a society, do we not possess the humility to acknowledge our imperfections and still have the ability to keep our sense of worthiness intact?
What is your willingness to do something with an outcome of no guarantee? What would you try, if you knew people would never say (insert fear-crippling judgments) about you?