“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” ― Brené Brown
Who are the most interesting people you know?
Think about it. The people you find fascinating always have something to say. They are interesting and engaging. If they share an opinion, it is informed. They don’t spew uninformed thoughts or download their list of complaints. Before they speak, they have clearly thought, read or examined the issue. People who take on interesting projects, step outside the box and try something new are the ones who are actually fascinating.
Look at your Facebook feed. Are there a bunch of people sharing their perfect family of four picture at the beach? Memes about some sad issue that someone else created? A picture of someone’s dinner?
We are drowning in conformity. But why?
It’s an easy answer. We lack the ability to be vulnerable. At its core, vulnerability is showing exactly who you are to the world, no holds barred. It is an act of creativity. It is expression that does not fear the repercussions of other people’s reactions. It is brave because it is original.
What Vulnerability Looks Like
A friend of mine was sitting in a business lunch at a bar many years ago. A girl across the room caught his eye and she looked back at him. They felt an immediate connection but had no reason to interact. He couldn’t interrupt his meeting to talk to her.
He turned his focus back to the meeting, until he suddenly realized she was standing at the edge of his table. She handed him her business card and smiled and said, call me.
And they have been very happily married for a very long time.
That is vulnerability. Putting yourself out there, not knowing what the outcome will be. And more importantly, not caring. To be vulnerable is to go for it. You might make a fool of yourself. You may crash and burn. But it is the most beautiful thing you can be.
Here are some of the keys to practicing vulnerability:
Admitting your flaws: One of the worst personal qualities is when someone pretends to be something they are not. We all know the type. They tell you how amazing they are, no matter the subject. A much more powerful quality is humility which requires self-awareness.
It is hard to be attracted to someone who is telling you how perfect they are. False self-assurance always rises to the surface. In relationships, you simply can’t keep up the facade long-term. Honesty is hot. False bravado is a turn-off, everytime.
Taking responsibility: There is no more attractive quality than someone who takes responsibility for their own problems. It literally exudes power. When you say, I am not perfect, I am dealing this issue but I am handling it, you take ultimate control.
There is a powerful sense of attraction to people who handle their own shit. Nothing is worse than listening to someone explain how they are a victim. Becoming personally responsible for everything that happens in your world requires real self-acceptance. And knowing yourself on that level is incredibly attractive.
Be honest: Whether you are feeling positive or negative in any particular situation, honesty is always attractive. If someone hurt your feelings, don’t just smile and let it go. That is the path to resentment. Being brave in relationships requires you to be honest about how you are feeling and believing that being yourself is enough. People who love you will care how you feel.
Relationships built on a strong foundation of honesty are the only ones that ultimately survive. You simply can’t hide the truth for very long. If you are unhappy, say it. Sooner rather than later. Any other path is just trying to control the outcome. And the truth is, you can hold off reality for a little while, but it will eventually all come crashing down around you.
Show your love: You have to put it all on the line. Someone has to be the first one to say, I am in love with you. And that is so hard. The fear that your feelings will not be reciprocated is real. But in this world, bravery is rewarded. You may not win in every situation, but if you stay at home watching Netflix with all your emotions bottled up, you are going nowhere.
Be brave. It is so hard. You may say the words and hold your breath. But whatever the response, you will always know you loved and lived in a sense of pure emotional truth.
I can assure you, the quality of your relationships is directly correlated to the amount of vulnerability both you and your partner exhibit. Being the real, unabashed, unafraid version of yourself is the path to everything great.
So, have the difficult conversation. Show your flaws. Share your faults. Take full responsibility for the person you are in all your glorious imperfections. Because that is your superpower.