Last week’s blog discussed a very personal and emotional topic: tragedy and grief. Though it’s never easy to talk about difficult moments, I learned so much from opening up in this way. In the moments since I shared something so personal, I’ve learned the great value and power of vulnerability. To be honest, I have a history of vulnerability avoidance, which might sound a little strange to you.
As you know, I’m someone who is very vocal about my belief in feeling feelings and processing emotions, but for some reason, I’ve always had a thing about letting other people see me in those feelings and emotions. I never let people see me cry, even if it’s during a movie or a sappy commercial. I rarely vocalize my needs or desires to other people. I tend to be a very get it done myself, do it all behind closed doors, independent kind of person. Which has served it’s purpose, until I realized how much that blocked me from so much good in life.
Two weeks ago I had a hit that I had to open up and be vulnerable and write about my personal story. Because I take my intuitive hits seriously, I went with it and I wrote and I published. It was a huge step for me in vulnerably sharing, putting myself out there, and actually allowing people to feel my feelings. This experience helped me learn more than I could have imagined.
I learned that, for me, avoiding being vulnerable stemmed from fear. But what is it that I was so afraid of? When I really dive deep to the root of it, I find that there’s a part of me that places high value in appearing that I’m strong and have everything “together” (insert eye-roll here). While I know it’s my own work to sort through why this belief has such a stronghold within me, I also know that there are probably many others who, deep down, feel this way too. Or there are others who have other root fears of vulnerability: fear of judgment, fear of weakness, fear of people knowing too much, fear of rejection, and the list goes on.
Though these fears may feel valid, I’ve learned that they keep us from the beautiful experiences that being vulnerable actually brings to life. The positives of vulnerability outweigh the negatives, there is no doubt, and this week I want to share with you what I’ve learned about vulnerability and the powerful lessons we can take away from engaging in this way.
Vulnerability creates an opportunity for human connection. Though my topic of discussion last week was one of sadness and loss, I can’t tell you how supported and comforted I felt when I received messages from all of you sharing your own experiences with me. There was a bond formed between us in our shared experience. My vulnerability opened us up for your vulnerability, and created a space for beautiful new connection. Vulnerability creates connections that might not have been possible otherwise.
Vulnerability breaks down barriers. There’s no doubt that as a country and as a human species we feel very divided. Being vulnerable has the ability to bring us together. Why? Because at our core we are all human beings with feelings, desires, emotions, and needs. When we come back to this, we can break down the walls that we have built between one another, and remember who we really are, why we’re here, and what we can do when we work together.
Vulnerability evokes empathy. Sometimes it’s really hard to see someone else’s point of view, especially when they are hard-lined and closed off. There seems to be about a million different reasons that we all disagree lately, and fight hard about these beliefs, but have you ever noticed that when someone is being vulnerable, it kind of makes it hard to feel that strong sense of contempt? When someone authentically expresses their self in a vulnerable way it creates the possibility of empathy and compassion, and probably peaceful resolve.
Vulnerability encourages vulnerability. Like I said above, I felt so moved by the vulnerable shares I saw in response to my post. It’s really beautiful to see how we all can inspire each other to connect, break down barriers, to feel and to understand. It’s in these interactions that we begin to heal, to grow, and to come back home to one another. In addition, I can’t tell you how inspired I’ve felt this week watching the teenagers in my home state of Florida, who have bravely and vulnerably expressed themselves in the wake of a horrific tragedy. Their vulnerability and bravery will spark us all to continue to follow suit.
So have I successfully made the case for vulnerability yet? I sure hope so.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic, let’s keep the conversation going in the comments below.
Love you all!
Michelle is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org