Dr. Brene Brown defines vulnerability as emotional exposure, uncertainty, and risk. Being open emotionally means to have awareness of our own emotions, which seems kind of simple or easy, but in reality most of us seldom are conscious of our fear, anger, and sadness unless it completely overwhelms us. Uncertainty is the choice to acknowledge that we do “not have it all together,” which none of us do really, right? And risk refers to following our heart, even though we are scared.
In other words, vulnerability is being who we really are—vulnerable. It’s not a case of becoming something we’re not—it’s just becoming what we are. For example, we’re on a ball that’s spinning at 1000 MPH, and flying through the air at 67,000 MPH. We fly down the highway in giant machines just missing each other at 70 MPH every day, and through the air at 50,000 feet in a big chunk of metal. And if that’s not vulnerable enough for us, we get into intimate relationships! And to prove we’re vulnerable, intimate relationships will expose any vulnerability we were previously unconscious of. You can add parenting and leadership to that list also.
So the question, “Why should I be vulnerable” is the wrong question. The question is, “Why should I work on becoming more aware of my vulnerabilities and being open about them?” Well, it’s important if you are a partner in a relationship, a parent, a brother or sister, a friend, a coworker—anyone who wants to trust and be trusted in relationships. Not only that, but if you are a leader or a healer of some kind, it is unethical to be unaware of your own issues, vulnerabilities, and emotional states. We have a tendency to project our own unconscious material onto others when our emotions are unconscious to us. It’s like we are looking through a glass that is dark with our own repressed psychological material.
So, whether it is in relationships or at work, we need to be able to be ourselves to be at peace.