How to turn your Vulnerability into Power?

Vulnerability. The word that makes most people cringe. Why is that?
Many people relate vulnerability with weakness, and they are indeed related. But not in a way you might think.

We all have our weaknesses, and we all have our vulnerabilities. Everyone knows that, but everyone still tries to keep their hidden. Why do we play this game?

We are programmed like this since our youth. Tuck in your shirt, tie your shoes, comb your hair, stand up straight,… We need to learn to behave so we are not a disturbance to everyone around us, and there is nothing wrong with caring about that, but when do we learn to hide our vulnerabilities and never talk about them?

It all starts in our childhood. When we are growing up, most of us were taught by our school system to hide our weaknesses and only show the best side of us. Present only your best work, because nobody wants to see some mediocre crap. Nobody cares about your learning process. Be perfect since the beginning or leave. We were taught that weakness is something to be ashamed of, and if we aren’t the best at something, we shouldn’t do that at all.

Bullied girl

Stay true to yourself

Let me give you an example. You are ten years old, and you have a special kind of humor. Let’s just say it requires a more refined taste to appreciate it. Something like this guy. Telling jokes is your passion, but if you preach to the wrong crowd, you can get discouraged real quick. You tell a joke, and it doesn’t go over very well, then you tell another, and instead of laughing at the joke, everyone is laughing at you. That is not the response you hoped for, and you want to avoid it in the future, so you decide you will stop with the jokes. The next time you think of a joke that makes you laugh, you keep it for yourself instead of sharing it with others.

Maybe you could have developed a great career in show business if you trusted your gut, but you listened to the fear of rejection more, and you never made your dreams come true. You decide to keep the jokes to yourself because of the fear of being laughed at. Gatis Kandis is a comedian whose act is so special that many of the people don’t understand him at all and risking such exposure as he did on Britain’s got talent shows immense courage. He could have listened to all the negative feedback and quit, but he pursued his dreams and came out with a career in show business.

Simon Cowell and Gatis Kandis

Vulnerability and criticism

Every time you put yourself on the spot, and you expose yourself to criticism, you become vulnerable. And we just hate vulnerability, don’t we? We hate being called in front of the class to answer questions for grades because we aren’t sure what kind of questions we will get and what will happen if we don’t have all the answers. We are out of control, and being out of control makes us feel very vulnerable and exposed.

Will they laugh at us if we don’t know all the answers? The most common scenario, in that case, is that we get on the spot, answer the questions, and no matter what grade we get, the feeling after the presentation is in 95% of the cases lighter than before. Building up fear before the actual event is something we all do, and that is the thing that hurts us the most in life.

Anxiety and stress come out of our imagination of future events. Our brain is designed to prepare for all of the worst-case scenarios. This kind of preparation is doing us much more harm than good because it is invoking the stress in us, and our brain functions much, much worse under severe stress. Sometimes fear overwhelms us so much that we completely forget what we have to say, and we just want the moment to end. We simply want to disappear. It happens to everyone.

How to overcome such fears? The best way is to embrace our vulnerabilities, and like Nike says, just do it. We are vulnerable in areas we feel like we don’t have control of the outcome. When we stop worrying about the outcome and start believing in ourselves, we will automatically perform much better, regardless of our preparation for the act.

Leap of faith

Perfectionism as a defense mechanism

Preparation is vital, but we can easily get sucked into making everything perfect. Did it ever happen that you practiced something a lot and then didn’t have the guts to pull it off? Or you got trampled by time and missed the deadline? Or you actually did pull it off, but something unexpected happened that ruined your plans anyways.

Perfect is the enemy of good and is not something to strive for if we want a happy life. Perfectionism is a defense mechanism that is supposed to save us from criticism, but in fact, it is slowing us down immensely and keeping us on a FEAR Lane.

When we put ourselves on the spot and overcome our fears, people see our courage instead of our vulnerability. Every time we are courageous enough to put ourselves on the spot, we always come stronger on the other side. Courage is like a muscle. The more we train it, the stronger it gets. Being brave enough to expose our vulnerabilities is a trait we can develop, and after we do, we feel unstoppable.

Vulnerability as a sign of courage

Imagine a life where you have the formula to overcome all fears. You can walk up to the woman you like and simply ask her out. You are fearless when going after something you want. Imagine you could go to your boss’s office, sit down with him, and negotiate a pay raise confidently, without fear of damaging your future. You would feel excitement instead of fear, and you feel like you are a master of your fate.

Exposing your vulnerabilities has another bonus. When you share your vulnerabilities with a friend or a person you like, you aren’t just getting stronger, but you also build a strong bond with that person. Exposing your vulnerabilities is a great way to build trust! Imagine someone you know sharing some personal trait that he considers a weakness, and you realize that this is someone that dropped his mask and you can get real with. It encourages you to share yours as well, and you feel immediately more connected with him or her. You might even find a solution for each other, and you both go on as happier and more functional people.

Judge hammer

A Final Verdict

 

Vulnerability – Pain or Power?

Definitely power.

Hiding our weaknesses will never make us stronger. Only weaker and even more afraid of exposure in the long run. Only with the courage to expose our gifts and talents, we can create a better life for ourselves.

So let’s build the strength by tackling our fears and overcoming our weaknesses. Courage is like a muscle. If we build it often, it will grow very strong.

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