I am going to open with a bold statement; I think it is totally okay to be vulnerable all of the time. We are human beings who are often too hard on ourselves. There is something powerful about allowing ourselves to feel our emotions fully.
Unfortunately, our culture has trained us from childhood to keep everything on the inside, and instead to present a polished exterior to the world. I am not suggesting that we should just cry, scream, or shout whenever the mood takes us. I just think it is a shame that so many of us have lost touch with how we really feel because we are trying so hard to behave perfectly.
Today, our society is riddled with numbness and depression, and it is quite normal to not say what we want or allow ourselves to pursue our true desires. But here are seven times when being vulnerable is necessary, important, and totally the way to go.
1. During a relationship rough patch
How common is it for people to just shut down when they are hurt? We do it as a form of survival, but it only ‘saves’ us in the very short term. In the long term we suffer for it. After all, how can we articulate what we want if we can’t open up, share, or even be honest with ourselves about how we feel?
2. Dealing with a career crisis
Our work takes up a huge chunk of our time on earth. So why are we all under the illusion that it is okay to stay in a job that makes us miserable? When you hit a career crisis and crave a change, this is a time to get really vulnerable. You need to feel, and you need to share those feelings with your nearest and dearest. This is all a part of figuring out who we are and what our purpose is.
3. Family feuds
Families fall out with each other. It is only natural that we take our frustrations out on those closest to us. It does not mean we do not love them, or them us. But what it does call for is honesty.
We need to admit when we have been out of line. And when someone else is out of line with you, it is so much better to get a little vulnerable and tell them that your feelings were hurt.
If you pretend that you are fine when you are not, your hurt will come out as passive-aggression. And in the long term that is so much more damaging. Sometimes you just have to say the difficult thing, quickly, like ripping off a Band-Aid.
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When has there ever been a more appropriate time to be vulnerable? I can’t think of one. Let it out; you are absolutely allowed to feel however you feel. After all, we all experience this feeling at some point of our lives.
5. When you are trying to grow
Any kind of personal growth comes from a raw and vulnerable place. You really do have to access all of your innermost feelings; the good, the bad, and the indefinable. When you have not acknowledged your emotions for a while, it can be tough at first. But allow yourself to be open and the potential for growth is huge.
6. Confiding in a trusted friend
If you want to feel heard and truly understood, there is nothing to be gained from holding back the emotions from somebody you truly trust. And you know what? If you lead by example, then your friend may open up too. You could end up helping you both.
We are often too scared to be the first person to say something vulnerable. When someone else is brave enough to be open, it gives others permission to do the same. Lead by example and start a sharing policy in your close friendships.
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Vulnerability is not just for the bad times; our lives need balance. If you are going to feel all the painful emotions so fully, then you absolutely must feel all the great ones fully too.
So go ahead and get emotional. Cry like Gwyneth Paltrow accepting her Oscar, and live in the moment! Sometimes, it is truly okay to be vulnerable.