A Deep Dive into Appreciating Vulnerability

In recent years, the term “vulnerability” has been thrown about to encourage people to share their deepest, darkest moments of their lives. While I have no problems with anyone sharing their vulnerabilities, I have a different perspective. I think it’s time we appreciate vulnerability comprehensively. For example, a person who shares the secrets of how they started and ran a successful business can also be looked at as being vulnerable. I think vulnerability doesn’t have to only deal with pain, failure, trauma, etc., but also has to do with sharing success and positive experiences.

Vulnerability is often associated with exposing our wounds, fears, and failures. While this aspect is important and fosters empathy and connection, it is only one dimension of vulnerability. True vulnerability encompasses the full spectrum of the human experience, including our triumphs, joys, and accomplishments. Sharing these aspects of our lives also requires a degree of openness and courage, as it exposes us to scrutiny, envy, and the pressure to maintain our success.

Consider the example of a successful entrepreneur who openly discusses the journey of building their business. This person might share the initial struggles, the strategic decisions that paid off, and the milestones that marked their path to success. By doing so, they are vulnerable in a different way—they are opening up about the hard work, and dedication that contributed to their achievements. This kind of vulnerability can be equally powerful, as it provides valuable insights and inspiration to others.

For instance, when I share my mental health lived experience, I not only talk about the challenges I face living with bipolar, ADHD, and alcoholism but also the triumphs that come with being in recovery as well as some strategies that I have adopted over the years to live a fulfilling live in spite of my diagnosis. My vulnerability in sharing both the highs and lows of my mental health lived experience motivates people in similar paths to persist despite challenges and to believe in their potential for living fulfilling lives.

A musician or a painter who discusses their creative process, including the moments of doubt and the euphoria of producing a hit song or a great painting offers a holistic view of their experience. By sharing the positive aspects of their journey, they invite others to appreciate the joy and fulfillment that can come from pursuing one’s passions, even in the face of potential criticism and failure.

Another example is a community leader who talks about the impact of their initiatives. By sharing the successes and the positive changes brought about by their efforts, they highlight the importance of resilience and community support. This kind of vulnerability fosters a sense of collective achievement and encourages others to contribute positively to their communities.

In professional settings, leaders who are willing to share their successes along with the challenges they faced can create a more authentic and inspiring work environment. When leaders talk about their accomplishments and the learning experiences that came with them, they model a balanced approach to vulnerability. This encourages employees to share their own successes and learnings, fostering a culture of openness and continuous improvement.

Appreciating vulnerability comprehensively means recognizing that it involves sharing all facets of our lives, not just the painful or difficult ones. By being open about our successes and the positive experiences that shape us, we can inspire, educate, and connect with others on a deeper level. Vulnerability, in its truest sense, is about embracing the entirety of our human experience and being willing to share it with others.

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