One of our deepest fears is being truly vulnerable. We all want to look good, to appear like we “have it all together,” and to not let anyone know that we may be hurting or struggling. How American! But there is something available to you and to others when you allow yourself to enter that vulnerable space.
When I talk about being vulnerable, I’m referring to that lay-it-on-the-line, put yourself out there honesty and risk that goes with sharing your whole self with someone else. It might be with one person, such as in a romantic situation, or with a group where you are disclosing something deeply personal, or even with yourself by admitting a hard truth that may feel difficult to be with.
When you are able to be honest with yourself, you are allowing an opportunity for growth. You may discover a blind spot or an attribute/attitude/opinion that is getting in your way. When you choose to share with others, you are not only letting them in and giving them a chance to connect with you, but you are creating space for them to be honest and vulnerable with you and/or with others. You may even be speaking something that resonates strongly for them, even if they are not able to admit it to themselves or you. By being bold and courageous, you demonstrate something powerful and give others permission to do it in their own lives.
I tend to be fairly public about what I’m going through in my personal life. With specific friends, I share so that I can get their input and perspective, and even open the door for them to reveal some things I can’t see for myself. On a larger stage, I try to disclose some uncomfortable truths as a way to practice vulnerability, and to create that space for others to feel safe with me (and maybe even others!) to share themselves more openly and honestly.
Consider for yourself when you notice your walls going up. What are your fears? What is stopping you? Where might you summon some courage and speak your truth? You may be surprised to find that the response you get is not the one you feared.