Emotion is an integral part of being human, as is vulnerability. Yet, many are cautious about being vulnerable, authentic, and showing our emotions in public if the circumstances warrant it?
Why do we fear being vulnerable?
Life experience can create one to feel vulnerable and open the possibility of being rejected or abandoned. For some, vulnerability creates anxiety. It can be fearsome due to past judgement, criticism or if receiving affection was rare.
Being vulnerable is a critical asset in emotional intelligence.
Showing your feelings should not be considered a weakness but rather an authentic expression of emotion that others can readily understand. We must embrace vulnerability, as that is how we can increase our emotional intelligence.
My encounter with vulnerability.
In the past, I struggled with vulnerability. I sometimes show strong emotion during speaking engagements and workshops, mainly when speaking about my parents and other influential people who have passed. There was a time in my life when I tried to prevent those authentic emotions from leaking out; I felt incredibly helpless and weak. I now understand embracing vulnerability is a crucial asset of emotional intelligence.
My strategy has changed; I now allow myself to be authentic and vulnerable and let audiences know in advance that my voice may crack during a poignant story or that I might need to pause for a second or two to calm my emotions wipe a tear from my eye. I see the authentic smiles on the faces in front of me signal they understand – we’re all human.
Excellence arises in us when we are both vulnerable and authentic.
We need to open ourselves up to others—and it takes only a smile or a kind word to do that. Support provided by others can positively impact our lives. While writing my book, Giving Back How To Find Your Personal Joy and Make a Difference to Others, sharing personal information was a challenging exercise that opened the door to many emotions and feeling vulnerable. Feelings that cause many of us to feel uncomfortable.
Author Stephen Russell believes that “vulnerability is the only authentic state.” In his book, Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao: A Spiritual Handbook for the Urban Warrior, he writes: “Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty.” Vulnerability empowers us to love deeper and to grow stronger.
There is no question in my mind that being vulnerable and authentic are two critical traits for practising and modelling excellence in your life. Each of us is a shining light with a capacity to open ourselves to share with and give to others.
Vulnerability is a strength when we take time to learn what fuels our passion and demonstrate the courage to share our authentic emotions and be vulnerable. When this occurs, we allow our brilliance to shine. If you’re interested in developing these skills, you will benefit from my coaching services and emotional intelligence training. Visit Marshall Connects for exciting new blogs.
This article was originally published on April 14, 2018, and has been updated (April 2021).
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