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Photo Credits:-

Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge
iconic 2016 photo
(Copyright: Jonathan Bachman/Reuters) [Usage: Believed to be Fair Use]

  • "The definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. But vulnerability is not weakness; it's our most accurate measure of courage." (Brené Brown)
  • "Vulnerability is… the fundamental element of building trust and connection with other human beings." (Mike Robbins)
  • Questions to Self: Can I show up and be seen even when I can't control the outcome? Can I create a courageous space so that I can be fully seen? What weakness am I hiding? What limiting behaviour/belief in me is being challenged?
  • Similar EmotionsEmbarrassment, Shame.
  • Opposite Emotions: .
Invulnerability is a superhero fantasy power that we'd all probably like.
Feelings of invincibility are associated with youth and may serve an evolutionary purpose to help us establish ourselves as adults.

But in the everyday world of adult humans, a true superpower is Vulnerability.
This openness is not letting it all hang out, exposing ourselves recklessly.
Nor are we talking about 'vulnerable' as used in social work or law, meaning lacking life skills and needing State safeguarding and support.
Vulnerability is the ability to be true to yourself and wisely open to life, without having to control things, without feeling ashamed or defensive. It can be a tough path.

Taking a Stand in Baton Rouge iconic 2016 photo
"The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you're walking down the street naked, exposing too much
of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself...
That is the moment, you might be starting to get it right." (Neil Gaiman)
  • Bach Flower Remedies: Agrimony [hides behind a mask], Walnut [freedom from limiting influences, mustering the strength to move on].
  • California Flower Essences: Pink Monkeyflower [develops vulnerability, for fear of exposure and rejection], Nicotiana [to become more vulnerable and in touch with real feelings of the heart], Poison Oak [fear of vulnerability, projects a hard exterior], Borage [for courage].

Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think. (Brené Brown)

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. (Rumi)

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness. (Brené Brown)

It’s our ability to embrace vulnerability that allows us to experience true authenticity, and thus true freedom and power in life. (Mike Robbins)

Owning our story can be hard, but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy - the experiences that makes us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. (Brené Brown)

The difficult thing is that vulnerability is the first thing I look for in you and the last thing I’m willing to show you. In you, it’s courage and daring. In me, it’s weakness.
This is where shame comes into play. Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.
When we’re
fueled by the fear of what other people think or that gremlin that’s constantly whispering “You’re not good enough” in our ear, it’s tough to show up. We end up hustling for our worthiness rather than standing in it. When we’ve attached our self-worth to what we produce or earn, being real gets dicey.
The good news is that I think people are tired of the hustle – they’re tired of doing it and tired of watching it. We’re hungry for people who have the courage to say, “I need help” or “I own that mistake” or “I’m not willing to define success simply by my title or income any longer.” (Brené Brown cited
at Forbes, posted 21 April 2013, accessed 4 July 2020)

When you shut down vulnerability, you shut down opportunity.
(Gay Gaddis
cited at Forbes, posted 21 April 2013, accessed 4 July 2020)

Vulnerability is not about fear and grief and disappointment. It’s the birthplace of everything we’re hungry for. (Brené Brown)

Sometimes people mistake vulnerability for weakness, because while others build walls up to prevent anyone from coming in, you bring walls down to let yourself be free.
(Nicole Tarkoff

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.
(Brené Brown)

[Brené] Brown describes vulnerability as the core of all emotions. “To feel is to be vulnerable,” she says. So when we consider vulnerability to be a weakness, we consider feeling one’s emotions to be so, too, she says. But being vulnerable connects us with others. It opens us up to love, joy, creativity and empathy, she says.
(Margarita Tartakovsky, last updated 8 July 2018, accessed 4 July 2020)

We live in a vulnerable world. One of the ways we deal with it is to numb this vulnerability. We do this by buying stuff, eating junk food, taking recreational and medical drugs. We also try to make everything uncertain, certain. But you cannot selectively numb emotions. If you numb the difficult emotions, you also numb all the desirable emotions (happiness, gratitude, joy). The result is misery.
(See Brené Brown, 15m18s
, posted 3 January 2011, accessed 5 July 2020)

Vulnerability applied to love is to love with your whole heart, even though there is no guarantee. (See Brené Brown, 19m16s, posted 3 January 2011, accessed 5 July 2020)

Vulnerability is one of the most difficult feelings for the human ego to handle. Letting go of our defences takes humility, awareness, and tremendous courage. Opening the heart to life’s mysteries allows us to experience the beauty behind the pain and keep our hearts open to life. (Linda Kohanov)

This is part of a series on Emotion

Also see:-


Emotion Index

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Page last updated: 6 November 2020.