This post was updated on Jan 13, 2023
Emotional vulnerability can be highly confusing, particularly if we’re used to thinking of it as a weakness. However, being vulnerable for many, leads to letting go of the false ideal of perfectionism. You might have heard it many times: “Perfect is the enemy of good.” Mainly because perfection doesn’t exist.
Trying to pursue it is a dead end, and instead of wasting your energy, maybe it’s time to find out what emotional vulnerability can teach you. If you allow yourself to explore your genuine, most profound feelings, insecurities, fears, and imperfections, you might discover new space for innovation, creativity, and change.
What Are The Different Types Of Vulnerability?
There are many aspects to all human beings; we’re friends, partners, children, parents, employees, and members of the community we live in. Vulnerability in each of these areas can emerge in slightly different ways, and dealing with them may require specific approaches.
- Vulnerability in relationships. Human beings have their own needs and expectations from romantic partners, friends, and family. However, the fear of judgment, abandonment, or rejection keeps us scared to express our true desires openly.
- Your mind and body can also be vulnerable and usually express themselves in ways we often misinterpret. Learn to notice and listen to what they’re trying to tell you. A lot of emotional or psychological stress can show up in the form of physical symptoms.
- Vulnerability in the workplace can be a particularly tricky one. You might be comparing yourself to a colleague and doubting your skills, capability, or knowledge. Of course, there’s more to learn. That goes for everyone, not just you.
- In your community. This type of vulnerability can significantly differ according to where you live. Still, the common denominator is the abundance of decisions you need to make each day to keep yourself and your loved ones safe. Fear of the unknown and social anxiety are common signs of being overly vulnerable within a community. In those cases, you could try removing yourself from distressing situations and seeking professional help.
What Can Vulnerability Teach You?
Accepting vulnerability and fighting the urge to hide it as deeply as possible from everyone, including yourself, means you’re ready for change. So, what can vulnerability teach you?
- Accepting that you’re vulnerable takes humility. Just as everyone else makes mistakes and goes on with their lives, so do you. It doesn’t make us failures; it means we’re imperfect.
- Creating a sense of worthiness and belonging. Instead of pushing down your insecurities and weaknesses, you can acknowledge them and learn to value yourself for everything you truly are. If you can love yourself as you are and feel worthy of love, other people will perceive it too. After all, you’re the one defining the standards.
- Being courageous. This means facing your fears, difficulties, danger, and pain. Vulnerability helps you take those risks repeatedly. The possibility of going through distressing experiences by being authentic and showing your vulnerabilities requires courage.
- Asking for help. None of us can do everything on our own, or the human species wouldn’t survive. Sometimes you’ll feel strong and self-sufficient, and when you don’t, remember there’s no shame in admitting you need help and seeking it out.
- Not turning off your emotions selectively. You need to feel both the good and the bad. Of course, there will be disappointments, but how else would you know what happiness feels like?
- Allowing yourself to be genuine and vulnerable to others. It can make you feel alive and bring unexpected joy and gratitude for learning that you’re worthy and loved. This realization can make you kinder to yourself and others.
Why Is Vulnerability Important For Emotional Growth?
Even if your fears and insecurities make you want to hide and put up a wall around them, you might find out that the walls you build also keep the good things from getting in. Don’t let them hinder your growth.
- Self-awareness is one of the most crucial factors determining emotional growth. Vulnerability can help you recognize harmful defense mechanisms and blind spots. For example, trying to avoid physical pain is something we instinctively do, and the same goes for emotional distress. If we learn to recognize these moments and change our behavior, we can create new habits and healthier behavior patterns.
- Allows your authenticity to shine through. Many of us present confident personalities that we want to be likable and pleasing to others. The very thought of letting that image crumble can seem terrifying. However, just as you need to trust people in your life to be genuine, they need the same from you. Let yourself be seen the way you truly are, and the right people will reveal themselves. It’s exhausting putting up a false façade.
- Becoming the best version of yourself is a strong motivator for most of us. One of the best ways to achieve the peace necessary for realizing your full potential is to understand who you are and why you behave the way you do. When you identify your strengths and weaknesses, you will know what needs to be revealed, what can be improved, and what needs to be accepted.
- Mindfulness, or being fully present in the moment you’re experiencing, is crucial for developing empathy and recognizing all the emotional and social cues that can help you identify your own and other people’s feelings.
- Fosters new and more meaningful connections. If you allow people to see the real you, with all your imperfections and insecurities, and get positive feedback, it will make you value those people more, and vice versa.
- Vulnerability can also help you build a healthier mindset. This means that changing your perception can influence your mental health and well-being, improving your personal and professional life.
- It brings change and reveals new opportunities. Expressing your vulnerabilities simultaneously with your strengths creates genuine connections with people who can appreciate you for everything you are. You may find new and unexpected allies in people you haven’t been close with before.
Is There A Positive Correlation Between Vulnerability And Empathy?
After learning how to be vulnerable with yourself, you can begin building up the courage to feel uncomfortable in various situations and in front of other people, despite your instincts telling you to avoid this at all costs. However, allowing yourself to be vulnerable and recognize and express your deepest fears, emotions, and genuine thoughts builds self-awareness, mindfulness, and courage to relate to others. By doing this, we are experiencing empathy.
Empathy is one of the most valuable skills we can have. We can recognize and understand other people’s emotions because we know those same emotions within ourselves. Empathy is intricately connected to vulnerability because if we’re not in touch with our own emotions, we can’t have the ability to notice them in others.
When we learn to connect our emotions to specific events, behaviors, or circumstances, we can also recognize when other people are going through similar personal experiences. This allows us to understand each other and feel for each other. That way, by sharing our vulnerability with others, we build stronger connections and trust.
This is particularly important when it comes to people closest to us, our family, friends, and romantic partners. Empathy teaches us to listen to and connect with others, leading to emotional growth.
PIVOT Helps You Experience Emotional Growth By Being Vulnerable
Vulnerability, as frightening and risky as it may seem, teaches us many lessons about ourselves and others. It helps us form healthier relationships and behavior patterns through honest communication. PIVOT’s experienced coaches can guide you through identifying and accepting your vulnerabilities.
Since empathy is one of the most valuable skills born out of vulnerability, small group workshops can provide an ideal setting for practicing mindfulness and awareness of your feelings and those of others. As a result, you can start your personal growth in one of our Glass House retreats, find new courage to express yourselves, and build healthier, trusting relationships.