Before our current time of growing awareness, the word "vulnerability" was often avoided because it made people feel bad. Those born in the baby bloomer era us were taught to be strong, stick it out, and keep going. You were not allowed to express your feelings aloud or visually. No less than absolute excellence was expected of you.
You were expected to excel in every area, or at least act like you did. There was no getting around that if you wanted to be respected and regarded as successful by the general public.
Simply put, many people in our culture have taught us that showing your true feelings to the public and disarming your emotional defenses is unattractive. Therefore, vulnerability is high on the list of emotions we try to suppress.
Why put ourselves out there as we really are if we're just going to be used, abused, and ridiculed?
What Is Vulnerability?
Whenever the topic of vulnerability arises, Dr. Brené Brown's research and writings are always brought up. When asked to describe vulnerability, she said it entails "uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure."
The experience of vulnerability can take various forms. It could be that you run out of breath when you talk about how you feel, that your stomach drops when you see someone you care about, or that you can't speak when you're too emotional to say what you're thinking.
How can something that threatens to throw off our normal lives lead to a life that is brave and full of emotions? How can showing our weaknesses help us form deeper relationships with those around us? How can being vulnerable bring balance to our mental health and help us heal wounds and be more open?
How To Heal Wounds And Be More Open
Healing from wounds, both physical and emotional, is a process that can take time and effort. Here are a few steps that may be helpful in the healing process:
- Acknowledge the wound: The first step toward recovery is admitting you've been hurt and allowing yourself to experience the feelings that come with that realization. Trying to ignore or stifle your feelings can make getting better take much longer than it needs to.
- Reach out for help: Seeing a therapist, sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member, or joining a support group are all great ways to get in touch with other people who may be able to help you work through your feelings and gain perspective.
- Practice self-care: Prioritising your self-care can help promote healing. Examples of this would be making sure you get enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and doing things that make you happy.
- Forgive yourself and others: Holding onto anger and resentment can prolong the healing process. Setting those emotions free can help you move on.
- Learn from the experience: Reflect on what you've learned from the experience and how you can apply that knowledge to prevent similar wounds in the future.
Although it's uncomfortable to let others see our weaknesses, it's beneficial to be open and honest about our emotions, wants, and anxieties in order to forge stronger bonds with those we care about.
Being more open and trusting is a skill that may be honed with time and the guidance of a therapist or counselor.
Wrapping It Up
When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we gain invaluable self-knowledge. This kind of insight has the power to completely change our lives for the better. It can make us more confident in ourselves, help us fight off bad feelings like worry and despair, make us less stressed out, and help us grow in general.
Being vulnerable can be difficult at first, so it might be useful to start small and practice with a trusted friend or loved one.
Remember that recovery is a journey, not a quick fix, and that you may experience some temporary setbacks as you go forward. Healing is a process, so be gentle and patient with yourself.