A friend and I have been having an open conversation on Facebook this morning about vulnerability and its role with the artist. Vulnerability is an important asset when communicating, creating, or acting out a part or role. It allows you to reach an emotional depth that you cannot reach by being too safe or avoiding thinking about uncomfortable things. Vulnerability helps us delve into those areas of self that we might not want to explore, but that help us understand ourselves better. Sometimes exposing those vulnerabilities, and embracing them even is the best form of therapy.
Somewhere along the lines in our society we have been told that vulnerability is wrong, weak and not something we should project to others. Perhaps it was your parents or your grandparents who told you to never show your weaknesses. Maybe you received that message from society or indirectly from the people in your life. However you received it, you are not alone. I would say the majority of people on this planet do not want to show their vulnerabilities. Often when you look at the most popular bloggers, business leaders, and public figures they like to present themselves as being in control, having it all together and being very confident (sometimes overly so).
But why can’t we admit when things are going wrong in our lives? What is so wrong with that? It is through the honesty of vulnerability that you find the most support and compassion in others. And it is through the honesty and vulnerability of others that you are able to connect and offer your compassion to them. We don’t connect to positivity robots and artificial confidence. We connect with what’s real, that is why we come together so strongly and profoundly through times of hardship and change. Pain has the ability to heal us, and allows us to embrace our vulnerabilities, together as human beings.
So instead of thinking of something awesome to post as your next Facebook status about how wonderful your life, job, clients, kids etc are… Why not post something honest and vulnerable. Just watch what happens. It will resonate more with your friends than “I am so lucky to have the best life ever”. It is great to express gratitude for your life and be happy (that’s the sweet spot), but dont forget that the vulnerabilities are necessary too. You wouldn’t truly be able to appreciate happiness in your life without knowing the contrast of pain.
Here are some of my honest vulnerabilities:
I have struggled with my weight for the last several years and can never seem to lose more than ten pounds or so. The way I see myself in the mirror is not what others see.
I have horrible self-esteem and often feel like a failure. It prevents me from putting myself out there a lot.
Social situations often make me very uncomfortable and I need to have a drink or two just to be able to talk to people without panicking.
If I am too happy in my life, I cannot be creative or write. I become blocked. So I need a certain amount of vulnerability and hardship for my creativity to thrive.