Being vulnerable is often seen in a negative light. Take its definition, for example. We define vulnerability as the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. When you read that sentence, you probably aren’t sold by the idea of being someone who is vulnerable.
However, vulnerability doesn’t always have to be such a traumatic notion. Vulnerability is good. And it is scary. Both of those concepts can be true. In fact, emotional vulnerability is a really, really good thing.
By being emotionally vulnerable, you are putting yourself out there. You are sharing parts of yourself that aren’t on the surface. I won’t disagree that it isn’t absolutely terrifying, especially at first. That exposure, however, can be so beneficial to you and your relationships.
Vulnerability and You
Being vulnerable with yourself kind of seems like an oxymoron of sorts. However, being emotionally in touch requires a certain level of self-awareness. Sometimes we ignore what’s right in front of us. For example, we recognize our bad habits but make no attempt to adjust our mechanisms.
At the same time, being vulnerable with yourself can mean allowing yourself to experience emotions. Depending on your environment, maybe you haven’t always been able to allow yourself to feel. Whether that be to feel sad, or happy, or proud.
Those are all valid feelings and you deserve every right to wallow in your sadness or indulge in your joy. It is crucial for your well-being to enable yourself to feel.
Vulnerability with Your Friends
Depending on your history and closeness, it can be really easy to be open and transparent with your friends. When you’ve known someone for so long, breaking down those walls is only natural.
By being vulnerable, you are forging stronger relationships. I feel so secure and trusted in the relationships that I have with the people who know me best. Especially the ones who know me so well, even noticing the little things about myself that I do not.
As scary as it might seem, it’s actually extremely comforting to have people that know you well. It’s really important to remember that there is no rush. You definitely don’t need to force yourself to share things when you’re not ready. Always approach your vulnerability at your own speed.
Vulnerability with Your Family
Every single one of us is different, including our backgrounds. That often makes our family dynamics varied. Maybe you are super close with your siblings or your parents, or maybe you’re not. Both of those are perfectly acceptable. You know yourself and your history better than anyone else.
Being vulnerable with your family could possibly be the hardest. I think you’re often expected to have this fully transparent narrative. But that isn’t always the case. Even if you are super close with your family, you might still have things that you don’t feel comfortable discussing.
Being vulnerable with your family can bring you closer. It can allow a sense of openness and an opportunity for growth. Additionally, it can allow for more conversations, ones that are meaningful and beneficial for everyone involved.
Overall, take your time. You don’t have to be vulnerable with anyone and everyone that you meet if you don’t want to. Trust yourself and your instincts. I am not advocating for you to open yourself up to someone who has repeatedly taken advantage of your openness.
But do remember that vulnerability can be amazing and that it can lead you to new and greater things.
Check out Alexis and Justin Black’s book, Redefining Normal, to read more about how vulnerability can be a life-changing thing.