How vulnerability becomes a strength.

November 07, 2023

How vulnerability becomes a strength.

Studying to become a trauma-informed therapist and a psychologist has held the mirror up to my need to sort my own stuff in a way that I have never done before. 

It’s confronting and freeing all at the same time. It’s this understanding of self that enables me to better understand and support my clients.

All of this got me thinking deeply about vulnerability. 

It’s pervasiveness in my life at the moment and why it matters so much when it comes to our health and our happiness. But more importantly, how vulnerability becomes a strength when we decide to embrace it. 

So let’s have a conversation about the power of vulnerability. I want to provide you with an open invitation to consider what a ‘date with vulnerability’ would look like for you and how to reshift the lens through which you see vulnerability in your life.

Vulnerability definition
Vulnerability creates the space to release, to put ourselves out there as who we really are, to try something new, and to take ownership of our growth. 

But most importantly to return to our essence, which makes us whole. It is the avoidance of vulnerability that takes us further away from who we are.

We can’t connect with our essence our wholeness without standing in our truth.

But the reality is vulnerability gets a bad rap. 

If you look to the dictionary to define vulnerability it states:

“the quality of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed either physically or emotionally.”

This definition feels outdated when we look at the positive psychology evidence that speaks to how practising vulnerability can support our emotional growth and grit.

Vulnerability becomes a strength, one that has many benefits.  

Benefits of vulnerability
Here are some evidence-based benefits of vulnerability to empower us to harness the massive opportunity it provides to show up as the person we long to be: 

  • The happiest people in the world are those who are emodiverse. Which is a short term for those who are emotionally diverse. Those who allow themselves to feel and process all emotions both good and bad. Those who don’t try and squash or hide all the yuck feelings. These people realise that there is a lesson in every emotion and trust that creating the space to process the feeling will allow them to come out the other side a little better than before.  I wrote about this in my book.
  • Vulnerability can reduce anxiety. The more I suppress a feeling and avoid vulnerability the bigger that supressed feeling grows. Acting like a dead weight in your body that occupies space that could otherwise be given to growth. Vulnerability gives you permission to stop avoiding what doesn’t feel good and process it in a way that is constructive. This helps us build neural connections in our brains that not all negative emotions are bad.  
  • Vulnerability can strengthen relationships and build trust and intimacy in ways you’d never considered.  The perfect example of this for me was that moment a few years back when I delivered a keynote in my bathing suit in front of 120 women to demonstrate the power of getting comfortable with discomfort –  you can see that here.
  • Vulnerability builds self-awareness and like I always say awareness is the first step to change. For without awareness, there can be no change. As a practice vulnerability supports you in observing behavioural patterns that perhaps are not acting in your best interests allowing you to see blind spots.

We know growth doesn’t occur in comfort. It lies on the other side of a date with vulnerability.

Are you ready to start thinking about vulnerability in your own life?  

Vulnerability exercise: a date with vulnerability  
So knowing what you now know about the power of vulnerability, I want to invite you to just take a moment to drop out of your head and into your heart. 

And when you find your attention in your heart space I want you to ask yourself:

  • What am I hiding behind vulnerability and why? 
  • What would it look like to step into that vulnerability?

What would your answer be? 

This my friend is an invitation to have an honest conversation with yourself. 

One that will help you understand how vulnerability can be powerful.  

Let me provide my own example of how I would answer these questions.

Vulnerability examples 
These past few weeks what hides behind vulnerability for me is a few things.

Firstly, the economic climate this past few months has challenged me. 

It’s provoked me to get up-skilled and to get creative in what I offer my clients for impact so that I can support them in a way that is accessible to many rather than a few. 

This means I’m trying new things, which you will see more of in the coming months. 

Things that make me feel uncomfortable because they may or may not work but vulnerability tells me I need to try.

Vulnerability tells me I should talk about my loving Dad who has a serious physical disability that is advancing quicker than it has before. 

Providing the realisation that I’m now a support person for ageing parents. 

Equally, it makes it very real that they won’t be with me forever. I get it, it's life but it’s funny how when life is good you kind of unconsciously feel immune from the pain of potential loss of the ones you love. 

Spending the last two weeks with my Dad has made it acutely apparent that I am not.

Vulnerability says I should share that I’ve signed up to study my Honours in Psychology full-time next year because I want to get it done before I’m 50! 

The truth is, I don’t know how I’m going to make that work whilst running my business and giving to my family. I don’t have a perfect plan. 

So, vulnerability tells me to trust the unfolding and release the attachment to a fixed outcome and instead allow myself the opportunity to adapt if I need to once I’m in it. 

Follow me onsocial media or  join my email list to see how it unfolds. 

How vulnerability can be powerful: the process to lean into vulnerability 
Here is how you can use vulnerability as a strength: 

Step 1. Acknowledge: Ask your heart what is making me feel vulnerable and why?

Step 2. Accept: The opportunity that this vulnerability presents for growth.

Step 3. Detach: When we are not attached to an outcome we provide the space for an unfolding of possibility that we may not have seen or considered. 

Step 4. Compassion: this is the word that must permeate this process for the magic of vulnerability to unfold. Compassion for self and others. What would compassion look like for me and for others in the service of this vulnerability? 

Save the below graphic as a reminder for you! 

Final thoughts 
So, there you have it, my invitation to have a date with vulnerability and a process to support you in making that date an opportunity to empower you to start showing up as the woman you long to be. 

If you would like to listen to this article in a podcast episode, you can listen to episode 109 ofThe Hacking Happiness podcast here.

You have a right to return to your essence, your wholeness and feel that spark within.

If you’d like to explore a return to essence and what that could look like I invite you to click below and consider a Transformation Therapy session. 

Transformation Therapy is a process that provides a safe space for you to explore how you’re feeling and how you might like to channel those feelings for growth.

This beautiful experience sits at the intersection of coaching, psychology and trauma therapy to support you in unlocking that which is holding you back from showing up as the woman you long to be without guilt.

Learn more here