Power and Pain of Vulnerability
A few months ago I read this article. This woman talks about a day when she confided in another woman about the problems in her marriage. She and the woman ended up becoming fast friends. She took a risk and showed her vulnerability and it paid off. It is a great story.
I am a big fan of Brene Brown. She talks a lot about vulnerability. I often think that if we were more open with our struggles then people would feel less isolated in their struggles. I hear from clients often that they feel they are the only one struggling with depression or anxiety. I know they are not. There is such pressure for all of us to present our best selves all the time. However, we have our struggles and rarely do we share those. We feel like people don’t want to hear it or we don’t want to be a burden. So we carry our struggles alone or share only with a small group of friends and it makes it harder to cope with our pain.
I recently have tried to be more open with the challenges in my life. Maybe it is a matter of aging and no longer feelings like I care so much about other people’s judgments. My results in showing my vulnerability have been mixed. I have experienced three different results. Some people are amazing and stay amazing. They check back in with me to see how things are. They listen and they share things going on in their own lives. The next group of people is amazing for a moment in time and then seemingly disappears. The last group doesn’t respond at all.
I will say that the positive responses far outweigh the negative ones. I would also say that the positive responses are worth getting even with the risk of receiving a negative response. I always try and remember everyone has a story and part of those stories include unhappiness. We often cannot see what weight each person carries. I try to keep that in mind in every interaction and I try to be the person who checks in and follows up. I don’t always succeed, but that is the person I want to be. Our lives are busy but it doesn’t take a lot to reach out and listen and be kind and there are rewards for us when we do it.
I can truly appreciate this. I wonder, however, what is it that makes us so reluctant to present ourselves in anything other than the most flattering light. I believe, that for some people, it takes an enormous amount of trust OR an enormous amount of desire to unload a burden, to be able to trust others.
As always, your writing is thought provoking and very meaningful. Thank you!!
Thank you for your comment Meg. I agree with the reasons you gave for why people don’t present themselves in an authentic manner. I think it is fear based. I think you also point out the vulnerability needed on the receiving side also.
Thank you for the wonderful blog about vulnerability and sharing our burdens.
You write so clearly and succinctly.
And it is a great reminder for us all to share with our people
what is going on in our lives.
Thank you Frieda.