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Why do we see vulnerability as a weakness?

  • February 4, 2016
  • Blog

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SHOWING that you are vulnerable is one of the most beautiful things you could do. Yet so many people see it as a weakness.

I was speaking to a close friend last week, she said all her life she had seen vulnerability as a negative.

She told me: “I will never show my vulnerability. I’m scared of other people’s opinion and judgments.”

I laughed and replied: “I am too.”

I am absolutely petrified of what people think of me. Yes, I speak on the radio and put myself out there by sharing personal stories about my relationship, family and friends but it doesn’t mean I’m not worried about what people might think.

She said: “Well, why do you do it?”

I sat there and thought for a minute. And then it hit me — it was after my very first heartbreak.

I was absolutely devastated and broken as a person. I had no idea who I was. I stopped liking myself and hid behind a boisterous, loud personality.

I hooked up with random guys and I couldn’t bear the thought of rejection. I tried to control every aspect of my life so that no one could see I was hurting inside.

It wasn’t until I admitted that I was struggling years later that I realised the power of vulnerability.

Not one person judged me. I couldn’t believe the amount of people that came out of the woodwork and said they were feeling the exact same way. It turns out that my courage to speak about this personal issue on the radio in front of 300,000 listeners gave them strength to open up too.

People could relate to the things I was saying, which in turn it made it easier for them to speak about their feelings. Since then, I’ve shared beautiful moments with friends, family and strangers when I’ve been at my most vulnerable — and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Yes, I was uncomfortable. Sometimes it was awkward. And yes, at times I wanted to run away.

But I didn’t. I opened up and I was vulnerable.

I spoke to many friends and well-known women from Perth about vulnerability and asked them to share moments in their life where they felt the most vulnerable.

Alice said: “For me it was admitting to my workplace that I had depression and needed help. It was a big risk career wise, not to mention emotionally daunting, but I overcame the fear of judgment.”

Sarah told me about telling her partner she loved him for the first time.

“Saying I love you to my partner for the first time was super scary. I was petrified his response would be ‘thank you’ or he would laugh in my face or even ignore me and say nothing at all, but I took the plunge and told him first. It was a wonderful feeling hearing him say it back.”

Krissie moved across the country for a dream job even though her son decided to stay in Perth and live with his father.

Nude Yoga teacher Rosie Rees reached out to her father when she felt he had distanced himself from her through disapproval of her life choices.

“I know he will come around one day, but what was important to me was speaking my truth, reaching out (again) and being vulnerable enough to say how I felt,” Rosie said.

Life coach Tracey Spencer shared an amazing truth that really resonated with me.

She said that it’s important to admit and own it when you’re not OK.

“It’s easy to hide and cover up and pretend things are fine, but the power lies in being OK with not being OK, and knowing you’re not alone. It takes courage to put down your shield from being ‘the tough girl/guy’ that’s got it all together, and to not judge yourself when things aren’t always peachy.”

You can too. So don’t hold back. Ask the guy out, that you like from the gym. Speak up if you need help. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Tell the truth when someone asks how you’re feeling. If you feel like shit, be honest about that.

Confront your fears. If you’re scared of heights, jump out of a plane.

Cry to your boss. This doesn’t make you emotional or irrational. It makes you real. Don’t give the answer you think is right, be true to your own beliefs and be honest in your opinion.

Post a picture on Instagram with no filter. Be real. Wear that bikini to the beach. Being vulnerable isn’t a weakness, it’s a gift. So use it.

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