• Mental Man Talking

Being more vulnerable can reduce the unnecessary shame you feel; thus making you feel more worthy.

Being more vulnerable can feel like the opposite of being strong; however there is a lot written these days that underlines the importance of being more vulnerable; because it can really help take the pressure off us and thus help us bring out our true strength of human character. Our whole being.

Much of what we see or experience in today's society pushes us to be strong; but a 'be strong' mentality can often be very problematic. It can often work against us, making us be seen as the very opposite of how we want others to see us . It can often drive a behaviour of feeling that we need to be all things to all people, to know everything, be able to answer every question; or to be able to cope with every situation.


I have just listened to a book by Brene Brown called 'Daring Greatly' and in it the author talks a lot about the importance of being vulnerable. To let our guard down. To open ourselves up to greater vulnerability. By having the courage to allow in more vulnerability, we have a much greater capability to build connections because we are more authentic. With this, we can counter balance the fear we have of shame because all of a sudden it feels more than okay not be a person that doesn't have all the answers; to the be the person that gets things wrong... to be human.


There is also this great TED talk by the author on the topic:


https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability?language=en#t-281331


Most of this stems from a deep need to feel worthy. The need to feel worthy amongst ones peers is a powerful driver of all that we do and how we behave. This need comes from an even deeper feeling of not wanting to experience the feeling of shame, either in our work or social communities, when we can't or don't feel able to do something... or know something. All of us feel a lack of worthiness and the shame that goes with it, a lot of the time. How many times does that inner voice tell you you're not worthy? Or remind you of all the times when you didn't perform at your best. Despite these times being heavily outweighed by all the times you probably aced it. We all have times when we're not at our best. Probably several times a week. I do. It takes real courage to be okay and let vulnerability in; of late I have found that it is this vulnerability that enables me to be the real me. It enables me to feel compassion for myself and for others. It therefore enables me to form real, more authentic and better connections with others; because they are more likely to engage with someone who lets their barriers down. Vulnerability = better connections.


The reluctance to let in vulnerability can undermine mental wellbeing because the associated feelings of shame can become overwhelming. The weird thing is that we all feel it. We all fear being judged for not being the person that we think other people expect us to be. The feeling of shame is self perpetuating; and can be a trigger for future instances of anxiety and possibly depression. It is powerful. It can be all consuming at times. It can drive extremes of behaviour - sometimes we will avoid doing things or taking risks in life and work for fear of experiencing shame, or sometimes we will become more agitated and aggressive with those around us because we fear that we'll be judged, judged not worthy. It is an over active defence mechanism that creates a juxtaposition in life because it is the very force that pushes vulnerability away that also impacts our ability to form real and authentic connections, connections that are at the heart of life.


In my day-to-day life I comes across many people whom, it would seem, have a heightened fear of showing any vulnerability. Therefore they put themselves, and the people around them, under an incredible amount of pressure to be all-seeing and all-knowing. It is likely that a lot of this behaviour is created from a sense of ones own ego. The ego is often the inner-voice chattering away to us inside our head; typically with an over-inflated sense-of-self requiring things to be just right for it... and it alone. The good news is that the ego can be tamed and trained. The ego is a powerful thing but it is not the core of our being. It is a bit like a music conductor in our in our head... and left alone it can run riot with our symphony and therefore how we express ourselves in the outside world... or sometimes acting like a young puppy and peeing all over the place (metaphorically) if we let it.


Allowing ourselves to be a little more vulnerable can be a great thing. Accepting that we don't have to know, or be able to do everything, can be truly liberating. It can be liberating for us... and for those around us. It can also have he effect of bringing those around us, in life and work, closer to us; to want to spend more time with us, to want to collaborate more. When we let down our guard a little we make ourselves more normal, more approachable. Let's face it, no one likes someone who is a know-it-all knob!


The less vulnerable we make ourselves, the greater the walls we build; but the thing about vulnerability is that when it arrives, it arrives with a wrecking ball. So, find the courage to be more vulnerable. Day-to-day. Test being okay with it. Start tomorrow. It will help you feel better; more grounded; less pressured. It can help you build real connections from a position of authenticity. Help you talk more. Help you feel okay with being less than perfect. Help reduce the need to feel and be strong all the time. Help you take more risks. Help you be more compassionate towards yourself and towards others. Help reduce the shame you sometimes feel and thus lift the pressure we create with the bar we set for ourselves; the bar that very few others ever expect us to meet. Most other people just want us to be more human, more like them. In reality, all humans are vulnerable... and therefore it is the very essence that can help make us all feel a lot better.

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