The most common misconception about vulnerability is seeing it as a weakness. However, this type of thinking results from a general misinterpretation of the word vulnerable.
According to the definition, vulnerable means being susceptible to an attack or harm, which could be achieved by using a security hole from the person’s characteristics. So for someone with lower emotional intelligence, vulnerability would mean precisely the same as weakness.
But this is not an accurate way of interpreting and connecting the meanings of those couple of terms. They have a deeper meaning, and we are about to discuss them in a bit more detail below.
Can Vulnerability Be a Weakness?
From a psychological and emotional point of view, vulnerability is anything but a weakness. Just on the contrary – it is often considered a rarely found strength.
Knowing how to be vulnerable is a very important factor on the path to becoming your best you. Being vulnerable simply means having the courage to:
- Be your most authentic self and not hide behind facades to impress others;
- Hold onto who you are without allowing shame or embarrassment to stop you from being real;
- Show your flaws without feeling like a failure and encourage others to show their letdowns without judging them.
Or else said – vulnerability is the mindful determination to reveal yourself without fear and be self-confident enough to let others see you for who you are.
How is Vulnerability Different Than Weakness?
Sometimes, it is hard to accept that someone wants to be good to us or express honest emotion with no second thoughts. So, normally, we keep our defenses too high, making it hard for us to form true friendships and alliances.
This is where a vulnerability becomes a necessity for further growth. Being vulnerable is allowing someone else to know and love you purely. It requires you to be self-aware and conscious to improve your emotional intelligence.
The most common vulnerability example seems to be sharing personal information that you normally would not share with someone. Vulnerability does not mean over-sharing – it’s a deliberate decision about who you are sharing with.
How Can I be Vulnerable and Strong?
To be vulnerable means to let your guards down and be seen for who we truly are. There are a few steps you can go through in order to turn your vulnerability into your superpower:
Change Your Mindset
You are no longer playing the victim, and you need to stop using vulnerability as an excuse to feel sorry for yourself. That means deeply acknowledging a painful situation and your personal role in bringing it about without allowing things to define your identity.
Tear Down Those Walls
Reach out to others and share your story. When you stop playing the victim, you stop looking to others for consolation, and as a result, people will feel safer sharing their ideas because they won’t feel responsible for fixing you. So stop expecting others to swoop in and save you, and instead, use them as a source of inspiration.
You’ll find that more people can relate to you than you think. And once you realize that you’re not the only one carrying a burden, you’ll feel its weight lift from your shoulders. Then, a sudden power that allows you to move forward will kick in. That’s the moment your vulnerability turns into a superpower.
Commit to the New Mindset
A good mindfulness routine is a perfect countermeasure. When you feel that victim mentality creeping up again, try doing some stream-of-consciousness journaling, gratitude journaling, meditation, and track your sleep to ensure you get those eight hours. These strategies lead to a heightened awareness of the good things in life that, when recognized daily, can stop you from falling victim to the bad kind of vulnerability.
Knowing how to be vulnerable requires you to analyze yourself, identify your existing capacities and focus on your desired ones. This process is called a capacity assessment. It will help you understand your personal needs and where you need to expand your capacity. Vulnerability and capacity assessment play an essential role in personal development.
Why is Vulnerability so Hard?
As we mentioned earlier, you need to take your guards down to allow yourself to be vulnerable. But it is not comfortable letting your guard down and allowing someone else to see your not-so-good side. That makes it hard. And that’s why vulnerability takes courage.
Try to observe your conversations with your friends and family, for example. You may notice that most of them are so shallow, basic topics. They don’t go deeper. If you want to build deep connections with people around you, you need to have the courage to be vulnerable.
It is hard and embarrassing to tell people what you’re bad at. You will probably not feel comfortable in these emotions. But we all know that growth does not come from a comfort zone. We are constantly amazed by an example of failure we’ve read about. And still, we don’t want to experience the same things. We are afraid to share our own mistakes, often because of our pride and ego.
But if you open up about your mistakes, you will connect with other people on a deeper level. Your failures are not a big deal. What matters here is what you have learned and how you’ve struggled. This will shape your personality, emotional well-being, and your ability to feel a genuine connection with the people surrounding you. You will enter a new world where you don’t feel shame for what you’ve been through in life.
Instead, life will become a safe place to exchange experiences. And that’s something worth giving a shot!