In our culture, vulnerability gets a bad rap, and can often be associated with words like “weakness,” “pushover,” or “danger.” In her book, Daring Greatly, Brené Brown begins to redefine what it means to be vulnerable in our relationships. And the best part? Her concepts are deeply rooted in years of research and experience.
Brown puts it quite plainly by saying that “To feel is to be vulnerable” and suggests that the opposite of vulnerability isn’t strength, it’s disengagement. When we push others away for fear of exposure and turn away from ourselves in an attempt not to feel, we disengage with the world around us. This can often cause problems because humans are hard-wired for connection. We are not meant to be completely isolated. So why is being vulnerable so dang hard then?! Perhaps it’s because it asks us to be genuine in our relationships which means that others will see the real person in us – flaws and all. Unfortunately for many, feeling vulnerable is tied up in feeling shame, guilt, or disappointment, but Brown sums of the challenge of vulnerability in saying that “vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
So a great place to start your path towards vulnerability is to answer this for yourself: Vulnerability is ___________.
You can learn more about vulnerability and wholehearted living in some of Brown’s other books:
- Rising Strong
- The Gifts of Imperfection
- I Thought it was Just Me