The Power of Vulnerability

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By Brandon Jamil

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Rediscovering our worth to the path of vulnerability

Author, researcher, story teller Brene’ Brown states in her book “The Power of Vulnerability” that we tend to associate vulnerability with emotions that aren’t pleasant. Often, we avoid emotions such as fear, shame and uncertainty; this is primarily due to our perspective on vulnerability. Brene Brown, goes on to say that we forget that vulnerability is in-fact the birth right of our joy, belonging and creativity. Let’s take a moment and truly ponder the countless times when we’ve logged on to social media and the culture at large projects this cold, heartless person. We may click the like button, so badly desiring to mask our essential nature; which is love. Affirming and communicating to the world that we’re not in-need of deep loving connection. We’re not in-need of belonging, comfort. Few of us realize (myself included at one point or another) that it’s this disconnecting view of vulnerability to our emotions that imprisons us; to only feel isolated, alone, sad and depressed, these emotions go unacknowledged as well. A question we must all ask ourselves… What quality of relationship do we deserve in our lives? What quality of connection are we truly worthy of? Our retort would be, yes, we want to experience belonging, comfort, connection, love. What is it about vulnerability that is inhibiting us from experiencing our true emotions?

We Just Don’t Feel We Belong

“The truth is this: Belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self- acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.”

-Brene Brown

As Brene has pointed out to us all, belonging starts with us first. We must do the work to accept ourselves, this includes our insecurities our failures, our sense of inadequacy. This may not be the truth of who we are, but we must embrace these feelings that abide within us. Belonging is not a career that a boyfriend, and or husband is to be employed and fulfill this duty. Belonging the connection two individuals have within themselves and are willing to share that sense of belonging to each-other. We all know too well what happens when we choose to make someone responsible for our sense of belonging within a relationship.

Usually resulting in the relationship hitting the wall. We must know that by accepting whatever comes to surface is apart of creating belonging to ourselves. When we belong to ourselves first, we then can learn to belong to others. By allowing ourselves to feel a sense of belonging, we aren’t ashamed of expressing these feelings. We aren’t frightened of these feelings. Deciding to lean into our selves in a way that allows us to feel deeply connected to our fears of isolation, abandonment and uncertainty. This may sound crazy reading this now. But, when we choose to have a relationship with ourselves we invite more tenderness to our lives. Anytime these feelings come up, keep in mind that it’s these feelings of imperfection that make us beautiful and whole. The moments of doubt, the chaotic self-rejection, all serves a point; we are always worthy of love and belonging.

Nothing in Life Is Certain

Let’s all take a deep breath. Now, lets talk. As we know, no matter how many times we plan our entire lives out, choose the seemingly perfect partner, or job, etc. Life throws us curve balls. These curve balls are unpredictable and often come at the worst moments. We may have our hearts set on something, and we know for certain that it’s ours, we believe we’ve claimed it. Until one day… That curve ball shatters our very existence. But, it doesn’t have to. What if we take these moments and choose to learn from them.

Cliché’ I know. Listen closely, these moments of fear, shame, uncertainty are special invites sent directly to us, as a tap on the shoulder “hey you, don’t ignore me I need to be loved.” Vulnerability requires us to show ourselves, without the guarantee that someone will be able to see us. We can attempt to out run vulnerability, we can choose to build walls where we don’t let anyone in, we can even become hardened and ice cold. That’s right, we can; but we all know what happens to the princess whom has built a fortress around her to protect her. She sits alone, miserable awaiting for some knight to have the courage to deconstruct her walls. Vulnerability sets us free from the prison cells we’ve held ourselves in.

‘Waking up everyday and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow.”

-Brene Brown

The only thing in life that can control is ourselves, now that we know this, we must choose to remain shut or open. Either way, life is always happening all around us, it is up to us to be available to it and experience it fully.

Numbing Ourselves Isn’t the Answer

“You should be more afraid of avoiding your path than walking it.”

-Jeff Brown

Love is the path we choose, there’s no greater loss than simply being unwilling to comply to what love is asking of us. To love means we’re open to vulnerability, transformation, karmic sheadings and getting real with ourselves about why we choose to put our armor on. We all understand that in our culture, armor is necessary. We understand that we can’t be vulnerable with every person, nor is wise to do so. We’re vulnerable with people we’ve chosen to have solid commitments to. People that have showed up for us. We must get to a point within ourselves where we learn to take our armor off, with people we deem important and that are deserving to see us for exactly who we are.

How We Can Begin Healing

Healing can only happen when we’re truly sick and tired of enabling our fear, keeping ourselves stuck in a cyclical pattern that gets us nowhere! We first must observe our language, perspective about vulnerability. We must change our relationship to it. This is no easy fools mission though. We’re beginning a journey that is taking the veil off, opening ourselves beyond our comforts and hiding places. Changing our language and perspective of vulnerability means that when we’re uncomfortable, we’re not going to allow ourselves to shrink back into our hiding place. NO! We’re looking at vulnerability as an opportunity to peel one more layer back. The next time uncomfortable emotions arise, we will choose to not shut ourselves down or remain silent. To be clear, I mean silent to ourselves; pushing the pain away, masking the pain.

We are going to choose to talk to it, ask it questions, get to know it, understand it. We are choosing to engage with our emotions in a way we haven’t; so, fear will be present. Try to look at it like this, we’re doing this to have a profound connection within ourselves. This within itself is healing, because we’re creating a space of belonging to ourselves. We’re giving ourselves what we truly need, and this above all is emotional fullfilment.

Vulnerability Will Change Our Relationship

If we’re currently in a relationship dynamic where vulnerability is not at the forefront, this is going to radically change our relationship. I know this can be frightening, our relationship may change, we could be dismissed, rejected and feel foolish. This is where the work we’ve done meets our psychical world. Change is what we’re afraid of right? As we’ve discussed before, we are now choosing to lean into our emotions that arise. We are now embracing them. This does not mean we will feel incredibly good about it at first, this means we will choose to create a healthy dynamic between us and our partner.

The moment we begin to share our vulnerabilities with our partner; in ways we haven’t before, we must know this is going to scare them too. Knowing this gives us a leg up. Not that this is a competition. We are acknowledging that they’re fully human as well. Our vulnerabilities will in fact make them come face to face with their fears, insecurities, and pain. We must be prepared for them to push back. There’s no need to take it personal, though it may feel as if it is. Let’s keep in mind, how many times we’ve dealt with our vulnerabilities in a similar way.

By pacing ourselves and integrating our vulnerabilities to our partner, allows them to warm up a bit. The first time we might share our feelings. Then we give them space pertaining to these feelings. The second go around, we’ll ask them how they feel about what we’ve said. By asking them how they feel, it gives them space to share what they’re feeling. Our partner may not be completely vulnerable yet, however they’ll begin to feel safe to have these conversations. Asking them about their feelings allows them shows them that their feelings are safe with us.

What Happens If He Doesn’t Care?

Ah, it’s only natural to feel concerned about our partners reaction to us. The question we could ask is… What happens if he does care? What happens if he is slowly creating the space and courage within himself to be able to become vulnerable with us? Let’s imagine for a second that we begin sharing our vulnerabilities with our partner and months go by and they don’t budge. We will feel rejected, this may force us to make commitment changes. That’s okay too. The entire point of being brave enough to share our inner worlds with the people we love is to reclaim our power and emotions. If someone simply can’t accept who we are completely; we know that this person isn’t meant for us. As we know that we’re deserving of a deep profound loving connection. It’s self worth that allows us to decide the people we attach ourselves to.

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