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Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength

Why Showing Vulnerability Actually Proves Your Strength

There was a time when I would never shed a tear. There was a time when I would never let on that I felt fear. If something bad in life happened, I would show my face with the biggest smile, and nobody would know about it. If they did, nobody would realize that it even bothered me. I would be that bubbly, outgoing personality that everyone knew. I was tough. No one and nothing could break me. I didn’t need any one and I could look after myself. Why? Because I was strong. Nowadays, I look back at that girl I once was and realize just how wrong I was.

Pain. We have all felt it in some shape or form. There are two types of pain: physical and emotional. Both are completely different from each other yet so similar. There can be a pain we feel and heal from, or a pain that can damage us for life. Childhood issues can damage us for life if we don’t seek to learn, understand, and be aware of them. A car accident that leaves us paralyzed can also damage us for life. What I do know is that both can leave us vulnerable.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Vulnerable

There are numerous ways we can be made vulnerable. For example, when you first start to date someone and are really into them, yet at the same time you’re still unsure if they’re the right person. What if they hurt me? What if they cheat? What if they don’t feel the same way? What if they’re not who they say they are?

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What about when you are going through something significant, like a break up, job loss or even a death? Everyone goes through these things. It’s a part of life. Why bother anyone with your woes? Why mope around and be depressed when everyone else has gone through it at some point?

How about that business idea you always had but were too scared to try. What if everyone laughs at me and my idea? What if no one wants my product or business offering? What if I’m not good enough? What if I fail?

Fear. We all know this is the one factor that can stop us from achieving our goals. We see quotes online everyday. We read about it, we hear about it, and we know about it subconsciously. Fear shows vulnerability. Why would we want to be vulnerable and put ourselves out there when we can just happily keep doing whatever it is that we are doing and be perfectly just fine. It’s comfortable, right?

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Most of us have heard of the old sayings, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”, and, “A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there”. However, take a moment and really think about this. Why would these be famous sayings if there wasn’t any truth to them? Why would successful people quote this?

Dealing With Struggles

Let’s go back to that person you have been dating and starting to get those feels for. Why not let them know how you feel? Why not get to know them more, take that leap, and see if it’s worth it? If you never ask, the answer will always be no. Deep down, we all would love to find that special someone who we can share our life with. What’s the worse that could happen? They don’t feel the same? Great, now you don’t have to waste your time and can open yourself up to other prospects. They didn’t turn out to be who you thought? The moment you start to see they aren’t the person they painted themselves to be, leave. You tried, you gave it a shot, and it wasn’t the right fit. At least you know now, and I’m sure you learned something from the experience.

So, you just got fired, you just got dumped, or someone close to you has passed. You don’t have to tell the world (and every one you meet) your problems, but at the same token, you most certainly don’t have to hold it all in and suffer in silence. One of the best things about friendship is that true friends will be there for you. There are people out there that want to see you happy.

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Yes, everyone goes through these experiences but we all know how much it can hurt at the time. Have a cry, take time out for yourself, go do things you love, or lock yourself up and watch movies for days. However you feel it is best for you to heal – do it. It’s okay to hurt. We are human. Let yourself feel and get it out of your system. This is the only way you can truly move on. As cliche as it sounds, time really does heal. You may never forget, but in time, it won’t hurt as much.

What about that business idea you had? Isn’t it something you are passionate about? Does it excite you when you think of it? If money wasn’t an issue, would you choose to go for it? Just imagine how great being successful running your business would be? So, why not try? Why not take that step? If you never try, you will never know. So what, if you fail? At least you had the courage to chase your dreams. Not many people can say that. What if you fail but it leads you to something better?

On the other hand, what if you succeed? Imagine that! If you research the backgrounds of successful people, you will find that many of them have failed more often than once or twice. The difference with successful people is their drive. Mistakes prove that you are trying. Who cares what others think. Isn’t it better to fail at attempting to do something great than to succeed in doing nothing at all? You’re one step ahead from the rest of them, and at least you’re trying.

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Vulnerability = Strength

I believe putting yourself out there, taking that leap, and showing vulnerability takes a lot more courage and strength than to keep quiet and do nothing. It is a sign of strength when you can accept that you are in pain and can admit it. It is healthier to allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your problem than to hold it in and pretend you are fine. It takes a lot more courage to put yourself out there than to continue doing the same thing you do everyday.

It takes courage to tell your crush that you like them. It takes courage to open your heart and let someone in. Taking a risk like this is better than missing an opportunity of being with someone amazing because you kept quiet, or you were scared to fall for them and get hurt so you ran away.

It shows strength when you can admit you are in pain and are struggling to handle things. It shows strength when you can swallow your pride and ask for help. It’s perfectly natural to experience tough times and to not always be on a high. It takes guts to put yourself out there and launch a business idea. While you may be vulnerable and open yourself up to failure, you may also succeed.

Life is full of ups and downs, but we can learn to ride the wave. Risk it! Put yourself out there, chase your dreams, and allow yourself to fall in love. Being vulnerable and stepping outside of your comfort zone could very well be the best thing you could ever do.

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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