To be vulnerable is going with the flow, embracing uncertainty.
It’s taking off the mask you’ve worn from the fear of being judged.
It’s opening your heart, even though it’s been broken before.
Being open to the possibility of pain, failure, and judgment is brave. Except, sometimes, vulnerability gets lumped in with weakness — perceived as a sign of naiveté or a player in personal destruction.
It’s not. Vulnerability is a sign of strength.
Like when winter wipes out your mom’s perennials each fall, the flowers grow back in the spring even though, within a few months’ time, the cold inevitably comes back. And often, the flowers grow back taller and stronger than the year before.
Vulnerability isn’t about being weak; it’s about being aware of the possibility of failure — and being okay with that.
Just like winter, failure is inevitable. Failure is also the key to our successes — all of them. And failing to realize the connection between the two, I think, is the biggest failure of all.
Yes, vulnerability opens us up to the possibility of making mistakes. It gives other people the power to hurt us. But, without it, we close ourselves off from trying new things, learning what we like (or don’t), and falling in love.
For example, I’ve learned that I don’t mind frogs’ legs; they taste like chicken.
One of the scariest things I’ve ever done was when I travelled to Thailand on my own, but I learned I love travelling a lot more than I already did at the time.
Dating different people has taught me I value someone who is open-minded, creative, and ambitious.
And I wouldn’t know any of these things without facing fear, uncertainty, and heartbreak.
Choosing to be vulnerable might appear weak to those who want to seem strong — those who act like nobody has hurt them, who pretend they always know the right answer to a difficult choice.
But, without vulnerability, we don’t grow. If we don’t grow, are we ever really strong to start with?
Recognizing the strength that stems from embracing uncertainty gives us the courage to follow our hearts even though it might not work out. If it doesn’t — whatever your “it” may be — you’ll figure out another way.
At least you’ll know.
So, I challenge you — as I challenge myself every day — to be real. Be true. Be authentic.
Out of our vulnerabilities come our greatest strengths.