In the 4 C’s of Vulnerability: Why Vulnerability is Transformational, I wrote about the importance of understanding that when we are vulnerable, we get back connection, compassion, courage, and collaboration.
And, that it is possible through vulnerability to transform ourselves and the contexts that we navigate on a regular basis.
Right now, I am working on another post on vulnerability, going deeper on resilience and vulnerability; and, it occured to me that there are a few more things to say about embracing vulnerability. Here we go, then.
Have you ever looked at the definition of vulnerability? Yes, no? Alright, well, either way let’s take a look, shall we. Let’s go.
noun /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/ /ˌvʌlnərəˈbɪləti/[uncountable]
vulnerability (of somebody/something) (to something) the fact of being weak and easily hurt physically or emotionallyOxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Ah, very good. Now, do you see what I see? According to this definition, vulnerability is associated with being weak and easily hurt. Hm. I’m not wild about this definition.
Here is a different way to think about vulnerability.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” -Brené BrownBook Riot
Love that quote.
I actually believe that vulnerability is the birthplace of all innovation, and, like Brené, is more akin to courage and strength, which is why I believe learning to be vulnerable is important to our development.
Alright, let’s take a look at 10 reasons why vulnerability is important to your development.
10 Reasons Why Embracing Vulnerability as a Strength is Important to Your Development
All of these reasons teach us something about the human being we are now, and, the human being we want to become.
First, let’s take a look at the 4 C’s. Here they are.
- Connection – being vulnerable more often creates connection with other human beings. When you are vulnerable with others, you create a much deeper connection. It just happens. There’s something about exposing yourself, being outside of your comfort zone, in the land of vulnerability that creates a deep connection with others. You can see your own vulnerability in them; and, they in you. Pretty cool.
- Compassion – being vulnerable often also means that we are able to notice when others are vulnerable; and, when they are, we can show them love and kindness for their commitment to being alive as a human being. We are living the fullest life possible when we embrace our own vulnerability and can see that vulnerability in others, and extend them gratitude and compassion.
- Courage – to be vulnerable takes courage; and when you are vulnerable often you develop more courage. It works like that. The more we invest in our development by practicing vulnerability, the more we get back. And, courage is no exception to this rule. In fact, people often think that there are people that are courageous and people that are not. Not so. Courage can be developed like any other skill set. You can be more courageous through experiencing and embracing your own vulnerability.
- Collaboration – as we will discuss in a moment, innovation is a huge boon of being vulnerable often. And, where there is innovation, there is collaboration. Therefore, when we are more often vulnerable, we will naturally find ourselves more often in collaborative contexts. Really, it’s true. And, when we are in these collaborative contexts, we get to experience being vulnerable with other people, which we’ve discussed. A powerful experience.
Alright. Time for six more. Here we go.
- Comfort – we are always developing, even when we are not intentional about it. Yep. True. And, when we set our intention to develop, of course, we are aware of that growth and can grow more. When we venture into spaces where we feel vulnerable, we learn the current limit of our comfort zone. Then? We have a choice. Proceed into the land of vulnerability, or withdraw. Either way we choose, we get to see where we are comfortable and maybe not so comfortable. Important to our development.
- Humility – intentionally putting ourselves in vulnerable situations teaches us more about ourselves and our shared humanity. We get to learn through, oftentimes uncomfortableness, the extent to which people throughout history have embraced their own vulnerability to create new things in this world. In those most vulnerable moments, we get a glimpse into a new world. A world where people understand and care for each other more.
- Strength – like courage, when we embrace and practice vulnerability, we also become stronger. Vulnerability is hard work. It is. And, everytime we are vulnerable, we grow, yep, and develop, yes, and become a stronger human being. It does not happen all at once, it is a process. Know though, as you venture into vulnerability, when you are at your most fearful or anxious, you are, in that moment, becoming a stronger iteration of you.
- Resilience – and, akin to strengthening ourselves, we also develop resilience by practicing vulnerability. As you practice being vulnerable more often, the fear of it goes down. It does. It is still hard, yet that hardness becomes more tolerable as your resilience goes up. Through vulnerability, we become a more resilient human being, able to do more and be more.
- Innovation – innovation is impossible without vulnerability. Seriously. To innovate and create, you have to be willing to be vulnerable. When you are innovating, you know you don’t know all of the answers, and that there is always more to learn. A vulnerable space. Human beings don’t like it much, yet look at quotes from the brightest minds throughout history, and you will see that they understand that vulnerability is a necessity for innovation to occur.
- Knowledge – whenever we do something we’ve never done before, which is a vulnerable space, we get to learn. And, when we learn, we know more. One of the coolest things about practicing vulnerability, is getting to learn more, and then to know more, both intellectually and practically. Both.
Alright, there are 10 reasons why vulnerability is important to your development. Remember, development and growth are hard work. They are. They aren’t supposed to necessarily feel good.
The idea of developing yourself is to get outside of our comfort zone, which is uncomfortable. It is important to acknowledge this truth. Why?
Because it is inside of being uncomfortable that we become more comfortable. Yep. True. When we first venture into vulnerable situations, it will feel uncomfortable. Know, however, that over time, these situations will feel more comfortable.
And, you know what? You can do it. You can. You are stronger than you know. You are. Next time you are faced with a new growth opportunity, one where you would have normally excused yourself, or said no, give it a try.
Open yourself up to the possibility that you too can develop, grow, learn more, know more, and be more. You can. How?
One step at a time, one action at a time. Remember, development is a process, not a light switch. Give yourself grace and compassion. Start with one growth opportunity at a time. Go slow, be vulnerable, learn and know more, and be alive more.