Shades of Vulnerability Prathima Koppolu July 30, 2021

Shades of Vulnerability

What exactly is being Vulnerable or the state of Vulnerability? 

Have you noticed a tiger slowly creeping up from behind the bushes, waiting to attack the deer, who is happily drinking water, without any care in the world? The moment when the tiger pounces forward, the deer feels extremely hopeless, helpless and tries its best to run in order to protect itself from the attack. That is the state of being vulnerable! 

In simpler words, the quality of being exposed to the possibility of feeling attacked, either physically or emotionally is termed as Vulnerability. 

So is being Vulnerable good? 

Well, Vulnerability isn’t good or bad. Neither is it about being comfortable nor is it this excruciating feeling but Vulnerability is a necessity. Brene Brown explains in her Ted talk about “The Power of Vulnerability” that “Connection is neurobiological. It’s the way humans are wired and in order for a connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, truly seen.” 

Now this might sound ugly for some and amazing to others. If you feel the former, I completely relate to you because who would want to be vulnerable when you can boss around, be all rough and tough and get your work done right? Here’s where we are wrong.. The problem is, that we cannot selectively numb emotions because in doing so, we number everything. 

So when we try to numb shame, anger, grief, fear, we also try to numb joy, gratitude, happiness. It can be extremely difficult, because “Being tough” and “strong” has been glamorized in our culture and being Vulnerable is seen as a weakness rather than a strength, but here’s what can help us unlearn the same

Different shades of Vulnerability

  1. “I think I am struggling with…” – I know how difficult it feels to pause and ask someone for help, but it also is necessary at times. 
  1. “I made a mistake, I am sorry…” – We often let our pride get the better of us, we usually think that apologising would make us “feel small” but in fact, owning your mistake and taking responsibility for something talks volumes about you!
  1. “I feel scared opening up to you because…” – This is a great way of letting your partner or a friend know that opening up isn’t easy for you, maybe because someone took it for granted, used it against you or didn’t respect you enough, it can be anything but communicating it can help the other person give you more time and understand you better
  1. “I feel overshadowed when you do this…” – This is another way of letting a loved one know that their actions (anything in particular) make you feel less or overshadowed in a way, which makes you feel uncomfortable and hurts you way beyond imagination. Communicating this would make the other person aware of how you think and can make them refrain from doing the same thing time and again

We usually avoid Vulnerability because deep down we may feel that we’re not deserving of compassion, love and belonging. But let me end this by sharing a quote by Brene brown

You know, you’re imperfect and you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of Love and Belonging!”  and I hope you remember this! 

Stay safe and take a step today. 

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