Embracing Vulnerability

Liese Rodger

I’ve read all of Brene Brown’s books at least once and her research on shame has transformed how I approach the trials in my life. Naturally, I find myself coming back to her books and talks as a reminder when those lessons seem to go out the window. Currently, I am rereading Daring Greatly and decided to follow along with the reading guide. It’s a great way to be able to fully digest the research Brene presents and make each lesson relevant to my life situation.

“Vulnerability is not weakness, and the uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure we face every day are not optional. Our only choice is a question of engagement. Our willingness to own and engage with our vulnerability determines the depth of our courage and the clarity of our purpose; the level to which we protect ourselves from being vulnerable is a measure of our fear and disconnection.”

How would you define vulnerability?

  • The ability to be open with others and true to myself despite whatever criticism I may receive

How was vulnerability viewed in your family? What were the lessons (spoken or unspoken) about being vulnerable?

  • In my family, vulnerability was a foreign concept. At no point in my childhood was I encouraged to share how I was feeling, nor were my feelings validated the few times I did try to express my thoughts. Difficult emotions were to be kept to ourselves and were seen as a sign of weakness. You simply sucked it up and moved forward. There was no time allotted for reflection and no room for imperfection.

Did you grow up seeing vulnerability modeled?

  • Anyone that would have modeled what it was like to be vulnerable was taught to hold things within. Because no one was free to express their feelings on certain topics or specific situations, what I saw were outbursts, where holding it all in had a breaking point.

What’s your current comfort level with vulnerability?

  • I feel like I am on the cusp of embracing vulnerability. I have had moments in the last year where I allowed myself to be vulnerable and seek support and comfort from those I cared about, only to be abandoned or to have my confidence betrayed. I have struggled immensely with depression and suicidal thoughts and the help I sought often reaffirmed my negative thoughts. I no longer felt comfortable turning to people for fear of my whole self being rejected by those that had promised to stick by me. Being vulnerable is terrifying to me now. I yearn to be able to freely open up, but the lingering fear cripples me and I can’t break out of the chains I have placed upon myself
Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade