How to Be Vulnerable

clarity introversion stress Mar 01, 2023

I recently read the book, I Heart Me - The Science of Self-Love by David Hamilton. Inside, it says that you can't truly be authentic if you can't be vulnerable. Man, that hit me hard.

How can you be real if you're hiding parts of your story? Those experiences have shaped who you are.

We all want to be accepted so we mold ourselves to fit what we think society wants from us. We assume that our negative experiences are unique. And we lock away anything that might make us seem vulnerable.

As a recovering perfectionist, it's taken me years of personal development work to show my vulnerable side. When I started working with my life and business coach 5 years ago, I would only discuss business. No personal stuff. No emotions.

Any topic that might trigger tears was 100% unacceptable in my mind. Crying meant you're weak/incapable. Yet I had hired my coach after experiencing a huge financial loss and business setback. There were definitely emotions that needed to be address, but I would not be vulnerable.

Being emotionally distant seems to be a common thread among introverts, yet this is not a uniquely introverted trait. As an ISTJ, we tend to be practical, reliable, and have a hard time being sensitive. Yet, there's data that 70% of introverts are highly sensitive. Many of us feel more deeply than we show and simply need a safe space to express emotions.

Along your journey, you've lost touch with your emotions and buried them. That's known as suppressing emotions. Perfectionism is a symptom of unexpressed emotions. Perfectionism is a coping mechanism for not knowing how to handle emotions.

Vulnerability is the antidote. Vulnerability is a skill you develop when you unlearn conditioning from childhood and feel safe to express emotions.

We all have that squishy, imperfect inner core that's hiding under layers of shame. It's hiding under layers of fear that we will be rejected by those we love if we share our secrets.

Rejection is scary which makes being vulnerable scary. Yet being vulnerable is the key to making deep connections - something that introverts crave.

As Brene Brown says, "vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness."

So how do you muster the courage to be more vulnerable? Start small.

Choose one thing that you're a little embarrassed about and share it with a friend. Talk about your quirks - the little things you like such as your secret collection of rare coins or your obsession with baking.

We all have hobbies and needn't feel ashamed about them. There is a tribe of people with your exact interest just waiting for you to show up!

You'll find that as you start to talk about those secret joys, you'll feel less awkward. You'll be more open to talk about it again. You'll find acceptance. And that opens the door to be more vulnerable.

You'll develop that courage to share the harder stuff. You'll reconnect with your emotions. You'll reclaim your power. And you'll emerge as a vulnerable authentic person.


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