Dating back to the 1800’s, the old saying “Keep a stiff upper lip” suggests that when faced with adversity, fear or sadness we should just suppress our feelings and keep our emotions bottled up.
For many generations people have been led to believe that vulnerability is a sign of weakness. In actual fact, when it comes to relationships – it is a HUGE strength!
When we enter into a relationship, we can often put a guard up without even meaning to. We do it because it’s easier than facing the fear of opening ourselves up to rejection, criticism or negativity.
It’s when we let that guard down that we can really build the trust and respect that every relationship thrives on. Being vulnerable is natural. It makes us human and ultimately enables us to connect with one another. It’s not until we allow ourselves to be vulnerable that we are really able to feel empathy towards each other.
It’s not just personal relationships that benefit from being open, honest and vulnerable – business relationships are also dramatically improved. We see the people we work with every day, sometimes more than our own family; so we need to be able to connect with them and form that personal bond.
When we show our vulnerable side to someone we aren’t showing them that we are weak, we’re showing them that we trust them enough to open up and show them the real us. Flaws and all.
Let’s face it, we aren’t superheroes and no-one expects us to be. We don’t have to be strong all the time and put up a façade that we are completely in control. Simple things like letting people know when we are worried, just need a bit of help or even admitting that we were wrong, shows that we are indeed human.
But there has to be a balance.
Exposing our insecurities and opening ourselves up for rejection can be one of the scariest things to do and the outcome doesn’t always fall in our favor.
It’s the way we deal with these negative outcomes that can push us over the fine line between being vulnerable and being needy. Or in a business relationship it can be the difference between being vulnerable and seeming incapable. We need to remember that our happiness and our success in life doesn’t depend on the opinions of others or the results of an outcome.
Taking risks and being vulnerable opens your life up to a world of opportunities. We just need to minimize our fear of the unknown and learn to take risks without letting failure, fear or other people’s negativity impact on our ability to truly be ourselves.
Until we can do that –we aren’t really living.