What is it? A weakness, a deficit or shortfall of ourselves? Like the Man of Steel’s vulnerability to Kryptonite? It’s something that I have always been curious about academically and professionally as a social worker. Personally, it’s something I’ve been tangled up into and struggling to live with, longer than what I’d be willing to admit.
I feel that it’s an important characteristic that has become lost in how to be a contributing human being to the world around us. For many of us it seems to become a frightful topic or theme, because we seem to believe it’s about a poetic sense of spilling our guts out, or wearing your heart on your sleeve. Perhaps so, but I would describe vulnerability to be when we intentionally take a risk in sharing our emotions with those that we want care about and want them to care about us. Along with it, we are never sure or know if we will be judged, accepted, loved, or rejected by them when we do take the emotional risk to expose ourselves to getting hurt by them.
So how do we exactly practice vulnerability? Start with identifying what makes you feel uncomfortable. Find someone you trust, and share bits of information about what it is that makes you uncomfortable, and over time, slowly begin to share more of that uncomfortable topic with the person(s) you trust. This isn’t down to a science; it’s just what I can recommend, because it’s what has worked for me.
Ultimately, I think vulnerability is about how willing we are able to connect with someone BECAUSE connection IS what allows us to build and gain trust, practice and receive honesty, and create opportunity to give and accept love… and isn’t that what relationships are all about?