How Your Vulnerability Can Make You a Bolder Person

 

We’ve all experienced being pushed so far out of our comfort zone that it feels as if our heart could burst clean out of our chest. Our palms shake, our knees grow weak and our stomachs seem to flip endlessly. These feelings are called vulnerability.

All of us feel vulnerable at different times and we all express this differently. Believe it or not, everyone shares the fear of leaving ourselves unprotected and therefore, being able to be hurt by others. We worry that once we feel vulnerable, we are left weak. Yet the opposite is true. When we feel the most vulnerable is also when we have the opportunity to be the most courageous.

Why does "being vulnerable" matter?

Being scared out of our wits, and completely unsure what will come next, is the perfect point for change. Feeling these emotions deeply, and using them to push and better ourselves is a true sign of strength. The more vulnerable we can be, the better we will be as individuals, lovers, friends, family members and members of society.

All of us will feel vulnerable throughout our entire lives, but the key difference is how we react to this feeling. According to Dr. Brené Brown, “vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.” In order to create change in your life, you have to embrace this vulnerability. These intense instances of emotion can be the most impactful and empowering portions of our lives. We owe it to ourselves to embrace these transformative times in order to become the bold and sassy women we can all be.

So, how does being vulnerable apply to my life right now?

The most common change right now is starting off a fresh school year, and for some the first year of college. Your freshman year of college can feel absolutely terrifying and leave you feeling at your most vulnerable. For some, this means a new school, friends and lifestyle. So many changes happen in such a short period of time, it is completely normal to feel overwhelmed, and just downright uncomfortable. But, these can also be some of the most exciting times if you let them.

I know personally, starting off this year as a freshman has meant adjusting to a completely new way of life. At first, I felt paralyzed by this fear of the unknown. I was constantly meeting new people but felt as if I didn’t belong anywhere. Practicing controlling my vulnerability has opened me up to countless new and incredible opportunities.

Here are some ways you can practice turning being vulnerable into a feeling of empowerment.

  1. Recognize that feeling vulnerable is a sign of strength, not weakness. 

    One of my biggest pet peeves is being told that feeling any emotion (don’t you dare be a crybaby) is a sign of weakness. I feel that as a woman, the stereotype is often portrayed as the more emotion that we feel on a deep level, the crazier we are. We are seen as unstable and weak, in desperate need for Prince Charming to come to our rescue. Yet, the exact opposite is true. The more emotion we let in, and feel to its fullest extent, the stronger we can feel.

    We can take small steps daily to practice being vulnerable. Even having a tough conversation with our friend or partner can be a sign of bravery. We need to communicate in order to grow and understand, even if it feels our palms go clammy and our faces flush to a nice crimson red. 

  2. Re-align your focus. Don’t dim your shine for someone else.

    The worst, yet easiest, thing we can do for ourselves to compare ourselves to others. Whether we compare our physical appearances, grades or even experiences the outcome is always toxic. Rather than basing our self-worth on outward comparison, focusing inwardly can be so much more beneficial. Worrying about other opinions of ourselves can not only create unneeded stress and anxiety but hinder us from reaching our fullest potential. Most of the time, people are so worried about themselves that they haven’t even given what you’re so insecure about even a second thought.

    Let it go. Let all your worries about not being good enough, not smart enough, not beautiful enough fade away. You are all of these things and more.

  3. Practice mindfulness. 

    Knowing ourselves is the best investment we can make. Take time to recognize your feelings, where they stem from, what pattern of thoughts you often get stuck in and your triggers. Being aware of ourselves and our environment can be so helpful in understanding why we feel vulnerable and making sure that we don’t run away from situations just because they make us uncomfortable.

    If we start to recognize our own quirks and habits, we can prevent ourselves from running away when times get tough. This also helps grow your self-confidence and as odd as it sounds being comfortable with being uncomfortable. Taking this time to be aware of ourselves, can reward us in the long run with amazing relationships and opportunities. This small, yet crucial step, could make all the difference in the future.

  4. Take the word, “perfect”, out of your vocabulary. Please. 

    Flashback to those Hannah Montana days, and tell your younger self to never ever forget that “nobody’s perfect.” Sing it, scream it, do whatever you have to do to never forget this simple phrase. This has been something that I have had to remind myself over and over again, and that I have constantly struggled with. This truth can bring you the greatest feeling of relief and has left me feeling empowered and inspired.

    Nobody is the nicest, happiest or prettiest person there is. Everyone has their own insecurities and past mistakes. We mess up, and it’s okay. This doesn’t mean we aren’t deserving, or that we are lesser. If you internalize this, you’ll be unstoppable. This step is the simplest, yet always the hardest.

Embracing vulnerability can be that small change in your life that can make the biggest difference. You owe it to yourself and those who love you to stop running away. Appreciate those embarrassingly sweaty hands and blushing cheeks of yours and feel all that you can feel. You are stronger than you think.