Many of us were taught to be strong and to keep our problems to ourselves. We were taught that the world is a hostile place and we should practice “survival of the fittest.” It’s not easy to allow the world to know your flaws, weaknesses, and failures.
We’re ashamed that we’re not perfect, but make every effort to convince others that we are.
Vulnerability doesn’t come easy, but it provides tremendous freedom and many other benefits. If you can be vulnerable, it means that you accept yourself and don’t feel the need to hide yourself from everyone else.
Use these ideas to practice self-acceptance through vulnerability:
1. Realize that fear is the primary obstacle. The fear of rejection and ridicule are the main culprits. You might also feel that you lack privacy if you let the world see you for who you really are. The fear of rejection is a common human phenomenon.
2. Think about the times you’re least likely to be vulnerable and authentic. When are you most likely to pretend to be something you’re not? In what parts of your life do you play small? How could you be more vulnerable in those areas of your life?
3. People that allow themselves to be vulnerable are respected. Everyone knows how challenging it is to be open and vulnerable. You’ll gain friends, respect, and admiration if you can find the strength to be vulnerable.
4. People trust those that are vulnerable. When you’re vulnerable, people can see who you are. The fact that you’re willing to be so honest gives everyone insight into what makes you tick. People find this comforting and can relax around you.
5. Everyone has similar issues and challenges. You might be worried that your weaknesses and concerns will make you seem odd. People are more alike than not. Everyone is struggling with the same issues. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, you’ll also help others to see that their concerns are normal, too.
6. Start small. There are many ways you can make yourself vulnerable, but not too much! In time, you can up the stakes as your confidence and courage grow.
○ Give a sincere thank you and explain why you’re so thankful.
○ Admit a small weakness. You might admit to someone that you’re not very patient or maybe you’re not organized.
○ Apologize for something that you did or failed to do. Everyone has plenty of opportunities to do this.
○ Talk about a time you failed. Pick a small failure that you can laugh about.
○ Do something in front of others that you’re not good at. Maybe you’re a terrible bowler, golfer, or bad at playing cards.
7. Your relationships are strengthened. Being vulnerable encourages others to do the same. You’ll become closer to your friends, family, and romantic partner. Vulnerability creates a greater and deeper bond.
Vulnerability creates emotional risk and uncertainty, but avoiding vulnerability creates other challenges. You’re never free to be yourself when you hide yourself from the world. You can feel lonely, disconnected, and frustrated. Your relationships lack depth.
Learn more about you and accept yourself. You’ll need to develop courage and personal insight to be vulnerable. Vulnerability can be frightening, but it is a necessary part of freeing yourself from your emotional bondage. If you want to fully develop as a person, vulnerability is part of the cost.
Take one action today to show a little vulnerability. Ask your partner or close friend to do something for you or to give you something that you need. A ride to the airport doesn’t count! Ask for support or advice. See what happens.