The time for vulnerability

Vulnerability can be a superpower.

It is a state of being that has benefited greatly from the work of Dr Brene Brown, in her TED talk and her books Daring Greatly and Rising Strong.

On what vulnerability is, Brown has this to say:

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure … Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity … But vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our most accurate measure of courage. When the barrier is our belief about vulnerability, the question becomes: ‘Are we willing to show up and be seen when we can’t control the outcome?’ When the barrier to vulnerability is about safety, the question becomes: ‘Are we willing to create courageous spaces so we can be fully seen?

So as the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy and creativity, vulnerability can be a superpower.

But I suspect there’s a time and a place for it.

We need to work up to it. We need to be prepared to bring it, and bring it fully when the calling comes — at moments where there is the promise of great growth.

The flipside of openness to vulnerability is the absolute need to recognise its true and unmistakable power, and therefore to respect it as much as we respect anything in this world.

Vulnerability is a two-way street. Honest, vulnerable conversation between two open people can open doors in a dozen different directions, creating possibilities we might never have anticipated.

But bringing your vulnerable self to casual conversation, dropping emotional truths into the chit-chat at the coffee queue, can be counterproductive.

(A good way to avoid this trap is to reduce the amount of worthless chit-chat in your life. Idle talk promotes idleness.)