Meaning of being vulnerable

When you ask 10 people to explain their meaning of ‘Being Vulnerable’, I suspect you might find 10 versions of meaning attached to this phrase.

I have been taught “not to show my vulnerability to others”. Simply because being vulnerable means that you are giving others great reasons to attack your weakness. I received message from my immediate environment to become a strong individual so I can survive in the harsh reality. No matter what happens to me, I have kept telling myself “you are not going to give in nor defeated by these nonsense that you are experiencing. If one day you find yourself defeated or given in, you have lost the battle. You will be labelled as a failure”.

What a message to tell and continuously remind myself?
Aside, for many years, I had to wear a mask that I am a strong individual. ‘Being vulnerable’ to me meant that I allowed others to interfere with my personal space.

Let’s unpack this concept a bit. First, let’s think about ‘when and how people know whether I win/lose in life? ‘

Life is a struggle, and ultimate victory is only decided in its final chapter. That is why it’s important not to become intoxicated by one’s success or become disheartened in defeat.

Daisaku Ikeda

So, no one would know their achievement of ultimate victory until last chapter of their lives. It also means that until then win/lose is uncertain in life. So, probably, showing my vulnerability doesn’t equals to win/lose in my life. It doesn’t determine whether I am failure or not as a human being.

Now, showing my vulnerability will not equal to win/lose in my life. So, what is it?

Vulnerability is not about winning or losing;

It’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.

Vulnerability is not weakness;

It’s our greatest measure of courage.

Brené Brown

Above quote actually raised a question to me. So, you need a courage to show your vulnerability and take the risk associated with such expression. What does this mean to me?

Yes. I need courage to show my vulnerability because I learn to hide it rather than express it. In many cases, it was seen as weakness rather than strength. There were also cases where I summoned my courage to express my vulnerability but I received negative responses. Then, it reaffirmed me that vulnerability is something I should hide. I was collecting such evidences for many years.

These are all what old me said, felt and experienced.

For me now, ‘being vulnerable’ means I am expressing my true self. I am allowing myself to express my true self. More I feel I am connected to my inner self, more I feel I am being vulnerable.
Then, I feel ‘being vulnerable’ means inner strength to express my true self. More than that, I am allowing myself to live as my true self wants to live. Only then, I feel that all external noises about my vulnerability are not worth listening to because I only need to listen to what my inner self need to offer.
When an external judgement becomes a noise, I realised that only I can determine whether I am victorious or not at the end of my life.

‘Being vulnerable’ also means that I am allowing myself to respect my personal space where my true self lives.
I choose my action based on the needs of my true self.
I choose who to bring into my personal space.
I choose when to share my true self and I take all responsibility in associated outcomes.

What is ‘being vulnerable” means to you?

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