Vulnerability and Resilience

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Photo by Karim MANJRA on Unsplash

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.

vulnerability

noun /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/ /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/[uncountable]

vulnerability (of somebody/something) (to something) the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionally

Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries

resilience

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.

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Photo by Julia Caesar on Unsplash

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.” Confucius

Awaken 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.

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Photo by Andy Chilton on Unsplash

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.

#beingopen, #beingvulnerable, #comfortzones, #developingresilience, #developmentandgrowth, #emotionalintelligence, #knowledge, #learningmore, #resilience, #selfdevelopment, #theunknown, #vulnerability, #vulnerabilityandresilience

Blind Spots: How Knowing About Them Can Help Move You, Those You Know, and All of Humanity Forward

Photo by Taras Chernus on Unsplash

Have you ever considered your blind spots? No? Probably not, seeing as we are blind to them. What in the world are they, and how do they function; and, even more importantly, what can we do about them? Alright, let’s take a look.

What is a blind spot; and, how do they function?

You know what you know, right? Okay. Let me write it this way. You are aware of all those things that you know about, yes? Yes, good. How about those things that you know you don’t know. Yes? Good. Last one. How about those things that you don’t know you don’t know? Hm. A little different, right. Yep. That’s right. That’s your blind spot.

We all have them. And, they are all different. Meaning, that we all have different things that we don’t know we don’t know. Phew. A little semantical, I know. Hm. Let’s do a whiteboard real quick to show you. I also feel another video coming.

July 13, 2020

There we go, better. Let’s say that the circle encompasses all that is knowable. Got it, okay. Now, as you can see, the sections of that which we know we know, and know we don’t know, are much smaller than all that we don’t know we don’t know. A very important distinction. Why?

Because what this simple illustration shows, and what I am pointing to in this post is that there is a vast amount of information (knowing) that is available to all of us, yet is not accessible to most people. Why? Because that which we don’t know we don’t know lives in our blind spot. What can we do?

What can we do?

First, we can become aware. Check. Now what? Well, we can create access to those blind spots. How, you ask? By being open to those that we are surrounded by.

Yep. It is those people that surround us inside of an open communication system where we can learn about our blind spots. Important. Here is another whiteboard to illustrate.

July 13, 2020

What this whiteboard creates is an important distinction that I’ve written about quite extensively on this website, and in many other contexts. Relationships and the interdependent nature of those relationships equals collaboration; and collaboration is where the access is. Yep.

As a matter of fact, the Monday message that went out to the team I work with today, was all about relationships, and just how important they are in all of our lives.

It is through these relationships that we can gain access to our blind spots. Don’t have those kinds of relationships? That’s okay.

You can create them. Really. You can. Why wait. There are so many people on this planet that are interested in the things that you are interested in.

Photo by alexandra lammerink on Unsplash

And, guess what?

You know things about your interest, and so will they. And, I can guarantee you that you will both learn from each other. Uncovering blind spots for each other along the way. No matter what the topic.

What we are discussing in this post has been written about for thousands of years. Here is an example.

“True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us.” -Socrates (469-399 B.C.)

Goalcast

I love this quote. There are many others like it, written similarly across all cultures. When we recognize that we know way less than there is to learn, and know, we immediately become open to new experiences, and new perspectives.

When we are open, and are in conversation and relationships with people that are interested in our growth, as we are in theirs, our blind spots are regularly pointed out. That is learning. It is the best kind of learning.

Ever heard of the socratic method? Here’s a snippet.

“In the Socratic method, the classroom experience is a shared dialogue between teacher and students in which both are responsible for pushing the dialogue forward through questioning.”

Edited by CTL Associate Director Mariatte Denman
Photo by Edvin Johansson on Unsplash

I too love this quote, however, I’m going to offer you a new way to think about it. Consider that the world is your classroom, and that everyone you meet, and are in relationships with can be the person that you share this kind of learning experience with. Truly.

When we are open, interested in learning from someone more than expounding on that which we know, we can learn something from almost anyone we meet.

Really. It is a beautiful experience.

Of course, we must be willing to, in a way, let go of that which we know. Let it go, and start listening, and taking in that which other people know. In the end, guess what? We end up knowing more. Yep.

When, however, we aren’t open, guess what? We get to keep that which we know, yes; yet, we miss out on the opportunity to add to that which we know. A truly missed opportunity.

My invitation to you

Don’t let those learning opportunities pass you by. Grab them while they are here. And, offer them back to those that you meet. For, they, like you, have something to learn from you.

We all have something to learn from each other. And, when we approach our relationships and interactions with that attitude. Phew. We can learn so much. You can learn so much. Start today.

Ask questions, listen, and believe. Believe in your ability to add to that which you know, and to contribute to someone else’s knowledge base. You can.

That is movement. Movement for yourself, for those you are in relationships with, and for all of humanity.

Learn, know, and reciprocate well.

#blindspots, #collaboration, #development, #growth, #growthanddevelopment, #knowing, #knowledge, #learning, #learningmore, #reciprocallearning, #relationships, #socrates, #socraticmethod, #theworldisyourclassroom