When thinking about vulnerability, one of the first words that come to your mind is probably “shame”. It doesn’t have the best rep and there is this common belief that “being vulnerable” leads inevitably to shame and that shame will then lead to the kind of emotions nobody really wants to experience ( feeling powerless, unworthy, flawed, scared, judged etc.)
BUT: I want to tell you a secret: Vulnerability is actually your SUPERPOWER and a catalyst for personal growth.
Let’s be honest. People will rather wear “masks” in order to be more likeable or to fit in than to be vulnerable. I have chosen to do that at some point in my life and you probably did too. It is a way of protecting ourselves and that’s completely normal. BUT: If you really want to experience TRUE personal growth, there is no way around shedding your old layers, getting rid of limiting beliefs and allowing yourself to be 100% YOU.
Before continuing, I just want to clarify two things:
1.Does vulnerability always mean that you have to share everything about yourself? –No, of course not. It’s important to keep things private and only share things you are ready to share.
2.Does vulnerability mean that you will inevitably experience shame and judgement from everyone else? –No, it doesn’t. Most of the time, WE are the ones who come up with all kinds of horror scenarios of the future that never even take place in real life. It’s actually much more likely that people will respond in a positive way & even if they don’t, it is SO liberating to finally speak your truth and it will boost your self-confidence big time!
When I started my blog and with it a new Instagram account, it wasn’t easy for me at first because I never showed myself this vulnerable to the world. I always had a private account and all my followers were friends and acquaintances. However, these fears were only temporary. Once I released my first Instagram and blog posts, it got better and better and now I’m much more comfortable with sharing my truth.
I think this quote puts it perfectly:
“But shame is like a wound that is never exposed and therefore never heals.” (Andreas Eschbach)
Changing your mindset around shame will help you face your fears, and by doing so, you will grow.
I want to go beyond the fear, and maybe you do too.
HERE ARE 5 WAYS VULNERABILITY WILL BOOST YOUR PERSONAL GROWTH:
1. You learn to connect in an honest way with yourself and others
Don’t we all crave those deep, meaningful and honest conversations? Well, they can only take place if we stop building walls around ourselves and open up about our inner life; our thoughts, dreams and fears. This will not only help your relationship with other people, but also the most important relationship there is; the relationship with yourself. You will learn to take an honest look at yourself, see what’s below the surface, stop being “in denial” around certain issues and take responsibility.
2. You let go of perfectionism
The real intention behind perfectionism is not that you just like to be super organized and self-disciplined but in many cases, there is a different reason for perfectionism. It results from the fear of shame/ failure that you want to avoid at all cost by doing things as “perfectly” as possible. By being vulnerable and opening up, you learn that nobody is perfect, that it’s okay to make mistakes and that there is no need to put so much pressure on yourself anymore.
3. You help and inspire other people
When you choose to be vulnerable and share your story with others (whether it’s in person or on social media), you will be surprised at how many people are going through the same thing as you. People will be so grateful that you decided to share your story , it will make you more relatable and helpful to others. A good example for this is one of my favorite podcast hosts, Lewis Howes. He opened up about having been abused as a child and wrote the best-selling book “The Mask of Masculinity: How Men Can Embrace Vulnerability, Create Strong Relationships and Live their Fullest Lives”. In doing so, he was able to inspire other men to break the conditioning of society that they should not show any vulnerability.
4. You discover your own uniqueness
When you talk about your feelings, dreams, adversities and accomplishments with other people, it helps you to reflect yourself and your personality traits. There are certain characteristics that you may not have noticed before and you will realize THESE are the things that make you truly unique. By overcoming your fear of shame and vulnerability, you will also see that you are actually so much stronger than you thought – It helps you to have confidence in yourself and know that you can really achieve anything you set your mind to.
5. You begin to be 100% yourself, unapologetically
That’s where the magic happens. While growing up, many of us are told that we have to meet other people’s expectations (whether it’s our parents, friends or teachers), that others know better and that we basically shouldn’t be too different from the rest of the crowd. However, once you realize that your dreams are different from other people’s expectations and that you are not willing to settle for less and go after your dreams nevertheless; that’s when you become truly empowered and the strong and fulfilled person you know you can be. You fully own your story and become to most confident, vibrant and empowered version of you.
“Vulnerability is the core of shame and fear and struggle for worthiness, but it appears that it’s also the birthplace of joy.” – Brené Brown