Why we must be vulnerable
When you’re vulnerable, you access the depths of you. You find the pieces of you that truly drive you. You see the path to a happier life.
Vulnerability means opening your heart to someone or something. It means showing a part of yourself that makes you feel uncomfortable and raw. It means letting down your guard with the fear you may get hurt but ploughing forward anyway. It’s what allows us to be creative even if others might not appreciate what we create. It’s what allows us to love the people we love without censorship. It’s what makes us work on changing the parts of ourselves that cause us or others pain when it’s easier to stay as we are.
I’ve recently been listening to some talks by Brene Brown, and I’m hooked. Her lessons in how to be true to our creativity and ‘show up’ are driving me to create again; they’re driving me to write candidly again after many years of struggling to share my thoughts due to showing vulnerability in the past and being shot down.
I particularly love Brene’s ideas about only taking criticism from other people who are also being vulnerable. How can someone who isn’t playing in your space have the right to criticize you? For you to take such criticism, that person needs to be being as brave as you are. Only then should you listen.
Her thoughts on the approach we all take to convince ourselves that we don’t care what people think is also refreshing. She says that we do care what people think; and that it’s human nature to do so. Her view is that we must choose whose feedback we want to take on board and whose we want to reject. We need to be selective about the noise we choose to let into our already cluttered minds, and we have the wholehearted right to make that choice. As my mum always said to me growing up: ‘no one can make you feel that way without your permission.’
This idea of vulnerability attached to the ability to be creative brought me back to thinking about psychological flow and the need to be vulnerable to enter it. When we are holding back, when we are censoring ourselves, when we are creating for others rather than ourselves or our inner goals, it becomes much more challenging to enter a state of flow. We can’t connect with the moment when we are allowing ourselves to listen to our inner and outer critics. We need to be open to letting ourselves enter a state of flow by being present in the task and the moment, by being mindfully available to allow the creativity to flow.
I’m writing this today to encourage you to be open to your vulnerability. To play big. To put yourself out there even when you feel like no one is listening or the critics want to steal your thunder. Be your true self, and you will find your tribe and live a more fulfilled life.