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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 August 19, 2019

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

We live in a world that constantly tells us what to do, how to act, what to be. Knowing how to be true to yourself and live the life you want can be a challenge.

When someone asks how we are, we assume that the person does not mean the question sincerely, for it would lead to an in depth conversation. So telling them that you are good or fine, even if you’re not, is the usual answer.

In an ideal world, we would stop and truly listen. We wouldn’t be afraid to be ourselves. Instead, when we answer about how we are doing, our mask, the persona we show the world, tightens. Sometimes even more so than it might have been before. Eventually, it becomes hard to take off, even when you’re alone.

Imagine a world where we asked how someone was doing and they really told us. Imagine a world where there were no masks, only transparency when we talked to one another.

If you want to live in a world that celebrates who you are, mistakes and all, take off the mask. It doesn’t mean you have to be positive or fine all the time.

According to a Danish psychologist, Svend Brinkman, we expect each other to be happy and fine every second, and we expect it of ourselves. And that “has a dark side.”[1] Positive psychology can have its perks but not at the expense at hiding how you truly feel in order to remain seemingly positive to others.

No one can feel positive all the time and yet, that is what our culture teaches us to embrace. We have to unlearn this. That said, telling others you are ‘“fine”’ all the time is actually detrimental to your wellbeing, because it stops you from being assertive, from being authentic or your truest self.

When you acknowledge a feeling, it leads you to the problem that’s causing that feeling; and once you identify the problem, you can find a solution to it. When you hide that feeling, you stuff it way down so no one can help you.You can’t even help yourself.

Feelings are there for one reason: to be felt. That doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. It just means that you start the process of problem solving so you can live the life you want.

1. Embrace Your Vulnerability

When you are your true self, you can better self-advocate or stand up for what you need. Your self-expression matters, and you should value your voice. It’s okay to need things, it’s okay to speak up, and it’s okay not to be okay.

Telling someone you are simply “fine” when you are not, does your story and your journey a great disservice. Being true to yourself entails embracing all aspects of your existence.

When you bring your whole self to the table, there is nothing that you can’t beat. Here’re 7 benefits of being vulnerable you should learn.

Can you take off the mask? This is the toughest thing anyone can do. We have learned to wait until we are safe before we start to be authentic.

In relationships especially, this can be hard. Some people avoid vulnerability at any cost. And in our relationship with ourselves, we can look in the mirror and immediately put on the mask.

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It all starts with your story. You have been on your own unique journey. That journey has led you here, to the person you are today. You have to be unafraid, and embrace all aspects of that journey.

You should seek to thrive, not just survive. That means you do not have to compete or compare yourself with anyone.

Authenticity means you are enough. It’s enough to be who you are to get what you want.

What if for the first time ever, you were real? What if you said what you wanted to say, did what you wanted to do, and didn’t apologize for it?

You were assertive, forthcoming in your opinions or actions to stand for what is right for you, (rather than being passive or aggressive) in doing so. You didn’t let things get to you. You knew you had something special to offer.

That’s where we all should be.

So, answer me this:

How are you, really?

And know that no matter the answer, you should still be accepted.

Bravery is in the understanding that you still may not be accepted for your truth.

Bravery is knowing you matter even when others say that you do not.

Bravery is believing in yourself when all evidence counters doing so (i.e. past failures or losses)

Bravery is in being vulnerable while knowing vulnerability is a sign of strength.

It’s taking control.

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2. Choose Your Attitude in Adversity

You can take control of your destiny and live the life you want by being true to yourself. You can start anytime. You can start today.

You can start with one day at a time, just facing what happens that day. Most of us get overwhelmed when faced with the prospect of a big change. Even if the only thing we change is our attitude.

In one instant, you can become a different person with a change of attitude. When you take control of your attitude, you become able to better understand what is around you. This allows you to move forward.

Originally, you may have had a life plan. It could have started when you were little; you were hoping to become a mermaid, doctor, astronaut or all three when you grew up. You were hoping to be someone. You were hoping to be remembered.

You can still dream those dreams, but eventually reality sets in. Obstacles and struggles arise. You set on a different path when the last one didn’t work out. You think of all the “shoulds” in your life in living the life you want. You should be doing this…should be doing that…

Clayton Barbeau, psychologist, coined the term “shoulding yourself.’[2] When we are set on one path and find ourselves doing something different. It becomes all the things you should be doing rather than seeing the opportunities right in front of you.

But in all this disarray, did you lose sight of the real you?

It may be in our perceived failures and blunders that we lose sight of who we are, because we try to maintain position and status.

In being who we really are and achieving what we really want, we need to be resilient: How to Build Resilience to Face What Life Throws at You

It means that we do not see all possibilities of what might happen, but must trust ourselves to begin again, and continue to build the life we want. In the face of adversity, you must choose your attitude.

Can attitude overcome adversity? It certainly helps. While seeking to be true to yourself and live the life you want, you will have to face a fact:

Change will happen.

Whether that change is good or bad is unique to each person and their perspective.

You might have to start over, once, twice, a few times. It doesn’t mean that everything will be okay, but that you will be okay. What remains or should remain is the true you. When you’ve lost sight of that, you’ve lost sight of everything.

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And then, you rebuild. Moment after moment, day after day. We all have a choice, and in this moment, that matters.

You can choose to have a positive attitude, seeing the silver lining in each situation and, where there is none, the potential for one. Maybe that silver lining is you and what you will do with the situation. How will you use it for something good?

That’s how you can tap into yourself and your power. Sometimes it happens by accident, sometimes on purpose. It can happen when we aren’t even looking for it, or it can be your only focus. Everyone gets there differently.

You can rise, or you can remain. Your choice.

When the worst happens, you can rely on your authenticity to pull you through. That’s because Self Advocacy, speaking up to let others know what you need, is part of finding the real you.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help. Or sometimes, helping others can help us deal with the pain of a hurtful situation. You decide how you’re going to help others, and suddenly, you become your best self.

3. Do What Makes You Happy When No One’s Looking

Being the best version of you has nothing to do with your success or your status. It has everything to do with your Character, what you do when no one’s looking.

In order to create the life you want, you have to be the person you want to be. Faking it till you make it is just a way to white knuckle it through your journey. You have the fire inside of you to make things right, to put the pieces together, to live authentically. And Character is how you get there.

If you fall down and you help another up while you’re down there, it’s like you rise twice.

Along with attitude, your character is about the choices you make rather than what happens to you.

Yes, it’s about doing the right thing even when obstacles seem insurmountable.  It’s about using that mountain you’ve been given to show others it can be moved.  It’s about being unapologetically you, taking control, choosing your attitude in adversity and being the best version of you to create the life you want.

How do you know what you really want? Is it truly status or success?

Unfortunately, these things do not always bring happiness. And aspects of our image or “performance driven existence” may not achieve satisfaction. Materialism is part of our refusal to accept ourselves as enough. All the things we use to repress our true selves are about being enough.

“Enoughness” is what we truly seek, but ego gets in the way.

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Ego is the perception of self as outer worth. It’s not REAL self worth.

Ego represses our true self with a new self— the self of chasing ‘“Am I ever enough?”’ questions. And instead of filling our true selves with self-love and acceptance, when we “should ourselves” and chase “enoughness,” we feed the ego or our image.

It’s important to realize YOU ARE ENOUGH, without all the material trappings.

Stanford psychologist Meagan O’Reilly describes the damage of not thinking we are enough. One of her tactics for combating this is to complete the sentence,[3]

“If I believed I were already enough, I’d ____”

What would you do if you felt you were enough?

By believing you are enough, you can live the life you want.

So many fake it to try to get there, and they end up losing themselves when they lose more and more touch with their Authenticity.

Final Thoughts

By being yourself, you are being brave. By acknowledging all you can be, you tell the universe that you can until you believe it too. The steps are easy, and you are worth it. All of it is about the purpose you are leading and the passion that is your fuel.

Being true to yourself is all about mastering how to live life authentically rather than faking or forcing it. Having the life you want (and deserve) is about being trusting in yourself and the purpose you are living for. Both need passion behind it, fueling it each second, or you will experience burn out.

When you are authentic, you can call the road you walk your own. When you live your life for you and not just the results of all your actions (faking it till you make it), you can let go of what you don’t need. This clarifies and pushes purpose to you, living for something that is greater than you.

You will find that making decisions based on what will actually achieve your goals, will help you attain the life you want, and your success with each step, will allow you to enjoy the process. Good luck!

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Featured photo credit: Ariana Prestes via unsplash.com

Reference

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