Advertising
Advertising

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?

Advertising

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?

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

More by this author

The Battle Of The Voices In My Head Be Careful What You Wish For How 24 Hours in Malaysia Changed My Life But He Says He Loves Me: How I Finally Left an Abusive Relationship 3 Simple Tips to Lose Weight and Keep It Off

Trending in 20-Something

1 7 Tools to Optimize Your Next Long-Term Traveling Experience 2 How To Go Through College And Stay Sane 3 The Battle Of The Voices In My Head 4 How to Have the Best Spring With Your Pets 5 5 Effective Ways to Increase your Instagram Followers

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 24, 2021

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often

Do you say yes so often that you no longer feel that your own needs are being met? Are you wondering how to say no to people?

For years, I was a serial people pleaser[1]. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time, especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.

But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.

It took a long while, but I learned the art of saying no. Saying no meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. When that happened, I became a lot happier.

And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.

The Importance of Saying No

When you learn the art of saying no, you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.

In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.

Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey, considered one of the most successful women in the world, confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything.

Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.

Warren Buffett views “no” as essential to his success. He said:

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

When I made “no” a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success, focusing on fewer things and doing them well.

How We Are Pressured to Say Yes

It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say no.

From an early age, we are conditioned to say yes. We said yes probably hundreds of times in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work, to get a promotion, to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.

We say yes because we feel good when we help someone, because it can seem like the right thing to do, because we think that is key to success, and because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist.

And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves.

Advertising

At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we are feeling bad that we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.

The message, no matter where we turn, is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.

How Do You Say No Without Feeling Guilty?

Deciding to add the word “no” to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say no, but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of no that you could finally create more time for things you care about.

But let’s be honest, using the word “no” doesn’t come easily for many people.

3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No

1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time, especially you haven’t done it much in the past, will feel awkward. Your comfort zone is “yes,” so it’s time to challenge that and step outside that.

If you need help getting out of your comfort zone, check out this article.

2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time

When you want to learn how to say no, remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it: who else knows about all of the demands in your life? No one.

Only you are at the center of all of these requests. You are the only one that understands what time you really have.

3. Saying No Means Saying Yes to Something That Matters

When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else that we may care more about. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.

6 Ways to Start Saying No

Incorporating that little word “no” into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:

Advertising

1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter

One of the biggest challenges to saying no is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no will reflect poorly on you?

Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.

2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)

Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because of FOMO, even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.

Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better[2].

3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say No

Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say yes because we worry about how others will respond or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose their respect. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.

Keep in mind that saying no can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way.

You might disappoint someone initially, but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to. And it will often help others have more respect for you and your boundaries, not less.

4. When the Request Comes in, Sit on It

Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.

Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say no. There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.

5. Communicate Your “No” with Transparency and Kindness

When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest[3] to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.

Advertising

How do you say no? 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.

    Clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.

    6. Consider How to Use a Modified No

    If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” as this will give you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.

    Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task, but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.

    Final Thoughts

    Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.

    Use the request as a way to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself.

    Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project, but not by working all weekend. You’ll find yourself much happier.

    More Tips on How to Say No

    Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Science of People: 11 Expert Tips to Stop Being a People Pleaser and Start Doing You
    [2] Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Tips to Get Over Your FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out
    [3] Cooks Hill Counseling: 9 Healthy Ways to Say “No”

    Read Next