Vulnerability is Courage
Updated: Jan 24, 2020
"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change."
- Brene' Brown
I grew up on a farm in rural Utah. My five siblings and I were taught to be tough and strong. I've prided myself on being physically healthy and emotionally tough as nails. As a child, I was the smallest in my family, petite frame, and all skin and bones. Being the youngest of six children, I quickly learned that I would have to hold my own in the house. As I grew into a woman, I wore my tough physode like a badge of honor. It had become a large part of my identity. After all, who wants to be vulnerable? Who, in their right mind, would let down their guard? I didn't want others to view me as weak or fragile.
I began to realize that the more tightly I held onto my badge of honor, the less living I was doing. In truth, I was afraid. I was scared of having my heartbroken. I was scared of trying something new and failing. The idea of putting myself "out there" was petrifying. Because if I was "out there," then I wasn't behind my thick wall of safety I hid behind.
Learning how to be vulnerable is the most frightening thing I have ever done in my life. However, it has given me the most significant rewards.
Make no mistake; it takes great bravery and courage to be vulnerable.
Think back to all of the times in your life, when you dared to do something that terrified you. Why were you frightened to death? Because you thought you might get rejected. Maybe you feared you would fail at your attempt, or be embarrassed. To achieve what you wanted, you had to step fully into your vulnerability.
That is TRUE courage!
Have you ever been in love? It is impossible to discover the love and connection of any kind without being vulnerable. All relationships are built on trust. For you to trust others and them to trust you, there must be honesty and truth. There is nothing more vulnerable than being in a long-term, committed relationship! You can't wake up at 5:00 am to brush your teeth before your love wakes up, forever. One day you will have to let them see you as your naturally beautiful self at 5:00 am.
I've been married for 15 years. I have learned that vulnerability has many layers, much like winter layers we wear in the bitter cold. With each new thing I reveal about myself, another layer comes off. And I hope that my husband still loves me. After many years, of slowly revealing myself, the last layer comes off and there this no more hiding. I felt like I was standing completely naked, extraordinarily, vulnerable, and petrified. I thought, "Well, this is me, the good the bad and the ugly. If he stays around after seeing all of me, I guess he loves me."
All types of change require you to be vulnerable. It doesn't matter if you are starting a new job, a new diet, or moving out of the country change is scary. It is unknown. When things are strange then anything could happen, if anything could happen, we might get it wrong. When you are brave enough to change, you are accepting that you won't know everything in this new situation.
To be creative is to think outside of the box. If you are thinking outside of the box, then you are putting yourself in the line of fire to be criticized by others. You must be in a place of vulnerability to not harness your ideas but let them flourish. It takes courage to put your ideas out into the world for others to see.
To dream is to live. Dreaming is one thing, but going after your dreams is the most vulnerable thing I believe anyone can do. It is intimidating to see the mountain in front of you and start to climb it. You know that there will be challenges, failures, and naysayers, but you begin the climb to your deepest desires anyways.
Have you ever told someone your wildest dream? How did you feel? It's scary as shit! It's like holding your breath and hoping that they don't laugh. Most of our dreams are out of the normal. They are significant and unusual.
It is pure vulnerability to stand and state the vision you are going after.
It takes courage to fall down and get back up.
It is horrifying to know that there are times that you will fail in your endeavor and yet go for it anyways.
It takes bravery to not listen to the people who don't believe in you.
Bravery and vulnerability go hand in hand. You can't have one without the other.