For most of us, being strong means having strong set of beliefs and principles that cannot be questioned and always keeping calm and unshaken, whatever the situation is. Yet, it seems that we had it wrong all along. Not recognizing one’s vulnerable side actually lessens their chance of personal growth, because they don’t allow a whole another side of their personality to be expressed, recognized and eventually improved.
In the words of Lao Tzu:
“A man is born gentle and weak; at his death he is hard and stiff. All things, including the grass and trees, are soft and pliable in life; dry and brittle in death. Stiffness is thus a companion of death; flexibility a companion of life. An army that cannot yield will be defeated. A tree that cannot bend will crack in the wind. The hard and stiff will be broken; the soft and supple will prevail.”
If we want to live a fulfilled life of realized potential and personal growth, we need to give in to the vulnerability and allow ourselves to feel weak and fragile, since it is also part of our nature.
More honest friendships
Our relationships with our loved ones will become more genuine and sincere, once we open up to them and show our “negative” sides we’ve been hiding from them. Being vulnerable with your friends makes your bond even stronger as they get to see that you go through the same difficulties. Sharing and helping each other grow makes you more empathetic, and your friendship much more honest.
Next time you are anxious, scared or insecure, instead of putting on a brave face, let your friends know what you are going through. You will both feel the relief for staying true to your feelings. Moreover, you will be surprised at how much more you have in common, and finally, you will get support and help, possibly for life.
Getting to know your true self
We’ve been taught that being strong and confident is good while being fragile and insecure is not. It is no wonder that we’ve learned to hide our “faults” so well that we don’t know who we are any more. So many people today are suffering from social anxiety, a condition that can be easily treated and cured. Yet, many are left untreated because of their unwillingness and inability to acknowledge the issue as it would mean that they are exposed, vulnerable and weak.
We have programmed ourselves to deny our weaknesses so much so that we can’t tell the signs when they are right in front of us. Yet, if we really want to work on continuously improving our lives, first step we need to take is to get to know ourselves better by embracing our vulnerability as well.
Getting out of your comfort zone for self-realization
There is no faster and better way to personal growth than accepting and embracing our insecurities. Think of all those moments when you felt scared and insecure and wanted to run and hide. Those moments were pushing you out of your comfort zone. Most people’s first response would be to stay in familiar territory and not risk being exposed to their insecurities even if this means not reaching their goals and potentials. However, the lessons we refuse to learn will keep on coming until we face them head on.
Breaking familiar patterns isn’t easy, so we need to take baby steps. We should set small, achievable goals first, before we can tackle the big issue. For example, people struggling with social anxiety should start by practicing speaking in front of familiar groups of friends, and then continue with smaller groups of strangers until they reach their goal of being comfortable at speaking in front of larger groups of unfamiliar people. Comfort zone may seem like a safe sanctuary, but they are in fact keeping us from making any personal progress. Embracing our discomfort will help us eliminate it eventually and achieve our greatest goals.
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