Last week I wrote the article, Vulnerability A Paradox, for the blog, Lampelina, which I really enjoy. Writing this article got me thinking more about vulnerability.
I then wrote the articles, The 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is transformational; and 10 Reasons Why Embracing Vulnerability as a Strength is Important to Your Development.
As I was finishing these posts, and reflecting upon all of these articles, I realized there was more to say. Specifically, more to say about vulnerability and resilience. Let’s take a look, shall we.
Vulnerability and Resilience
What do vulnerability and resilience have to do with each other? Maybe it is readily apparent to you; yet, for me, the insight on these two just came this past week. Really. Funny how insight works. Fun.
Alright, before we get into our discussion, let’s define our terms. Important.
noun /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/ /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/[uncountable]
vulnerability (of somebody/something) (to something) the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionallyOxford Learner’s Dictionaries
noun /rɪˈzɪliəns/ /rɪˈzɪliəns/(also less frequent resiliency /rɪˈzɪliənsi/ /rɪˈzɪliənsi/)[uncountable]
the ability of people or things to recover quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc.Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
There we go.
Now, though I disagree with the above definition of vulnerability, it works in this particular conversation when we consider resilience as a counterpoint to vulnerability.
Counterpoint meaning that the more vulnerable you are, the more resilient you will become. We must add here, however, that being vulnerable must be done within a context where you are safe and there is trust. Imperative.
When you are in a context that has both safety and trust, being vulnerable suddenly becomes a possibility. Not easy, no. Yet possible.
And, within this possibility, there is space, yes, for development and growth, and yep, for transformation as well; and, there is also space to develop resilience.
You see, when we are open, meaning open to new things, new experiences, new unknowns, we are vulnerable. We have to be. Anytime someone says, you know, I don’t know the answer to that, or don’t know, they are immediately being vulnerable.
Think about how often you say, I don’t know. Humans do not like to not know. Period. We like to know, like to believe we have control, and that we look good and are often right.
However, within a context of looking good and being right, there is no room for growth, no room for vulnerability. You cannot be vulnerable if you know everything.
And, guess what? Even those that say they know, don’t know. Not everything. Not possible. The greatest minds of all time knew this truth.
Really, they did. Let’s take a look at one of them now. Here you go.
“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” ConfuciusAwaken the Greatness Within
A great quote. What confucius is pointing to in this quote is that when we know the limit of our own knowledge, we are immediately open to learning. Right away.
This then is the real knowledge Confucius is talking about. Knowing that we don’t know everything. Knowing also that to own we don’t know, to be open to learning is being vulnerable. Wise.
When we, however, act as if we know when we don’t, we are closed, and are also closed to learning. Simple. Unwise.
When we are open to being vulnerable, we can enter into contexts where we can learn more. More from people around us that are willing to share of themselves, as we are ready to share with them.
As we enter these vulnerable contexts, which can cause fear and anxiety, we begin to develop our resilience. Really. Right away.
Sometimes people think that being vulnerable means doing something way outside of our comfort zone. That’s possible, yet what is more probable is that we enter into vulnerable contexts, one step or action at time.
Taking small steps is important. And, guess what? Gradually those steps will become larger. Yep. Why?
Because as we develop and grow, what we know grows, just like our resilience, as does our comfort zone. Yep. And, when our comfort zone grows, we feel more comfortable being vulnerable more often.
Remember, however, that it takes time. Development is not a light switch. It is a process. One step and time.
What Can You Do?
When you are ready, take a step outside of your comfort zone into the land of vulnerability. You get to choose the size of that step.
Remember, it’s not about the size of the step, it’s about taking that step; and, taking that step when you are ready.
If you are not yet ready, that’s okay. It is. It’s not about the right or wrong time. It’s about sharing with each other that which we have to share; and moving ourselves and the people around us that we love forward. Doing so when we are ready.
And, you know what?
Know matter what other people have told you, you can do it. You are strong. You are powerful. You are beautiful. You are vulnerable and resilient.