The Path to Vulnerability

What comes to mind when you hear the word vulnerability? Do you embrace it or do you feel uncomfortable at just the thought of it?  

According to Brene Brown, vulnerability is basically uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Don’t you feel exposed just reading that? “Emotional exposure” are two words that scream rawness.

But being vulnerable is where growth happens. If we go through our lives always requiring certainty, avoiding risk, and not allowing our emotions to be expressed, we are missing out on the richness of life.  

While living with uncertainty and taking risks can be challenging to me, I’m most challenged by allowing my full emotional expression.  

I know I’m not alone here.

Growing up, it was so much easier to stuff the emotions than to feel them. That’s just what I knew how to do.

For some of us as children, we more freely expressed our emotions--crying or pouting or laughing all within a few minutes time.

Fast forward, and now I’m in a place of wanting to “feel all the feels,” but I’m finding this to be one of my greatest challenges.  

Let’s face it, most people when they become adults are not comfortable with vulnerability. It is seen as weakness.  

Vulnerability can show up in many areas of our lives. One area in my life where I’m doing my best to allow the emotions to flow is watching my parents age.  

No one knows how long we have to live this life, but there’s something that feels so fragile about an aging parent.  

Just writing causes warm tears to slowly stream down my cheeks.

What’s made this even more challenging for me is how hard this is for my Dad to see me when I’m feeling emotional. Dad’s can be sensitive to vulnerability. They often feel the extra pressure to be the strong ones themselves and protective of daddy’s little girl.

I’ve shared with him and my immediate family how I’m doing my best to live through my emotions and to be open to expressing them and seeing how that act of being vulnerable plays out.  

I know I’m making shifts in connecting with my emotions. In the past, the first indication of pushing away emotions was my quivering chin. Maybe you get an itching in your eyes? I’m noticing this happening less and finding that I’m allowing the tears to flow more freely.

What I thought would feel so scary is actually feeling more freeing. It’s empowering to know that I’m stepping more fully into my life.

It may not be easy, but I believe the process of living through my emotions will allow me to be there for myself and those I love. We can all be courageous enough to feel vulnerable.

That feels so good!

Where in your life do you find yourself resisting being vulnerable? Are you trying to live in the place of certainty, avoid taking risks (to keep you “feeling” safe), or pushing down the emotions? Go ahead and let me know in the comments below. 

As always, should you have any questions or want to connect, you can schedule a discovery session below or reach me at anne@anneeppley.com.