Tag Archives: vulnerable

The importance of vulnerability

Vulnerability is the driving force of connection. It’s brave. It’s tender. It’s hard to connect without it. But we’ve turned it into a weakness. Toughing it out, chin up buttercup, has become a standard. It defines strength to many people.

For others, hearing the refrain, ‘you’re so strong’, may leave them feeling that sad, tender, messy, scared, and even dark feelings are wrong. When exposed to this message, people learn to curtail and edit aspects of their own being.

What I have found, in my individual and couples work with patients is that without mutual vulnerability, relationships struggle. Vulnerability is, ‘Here I am – my frayed edges, my secrets, my fears, my unabashed affection.’ In return, it invites, ‘Oh, I see you there. It’s okay, you’re safe. And here – here’s me.’ It builds trust, closeness, and a sense of belonging. Relationships: friendships, romantic relationships, family relationships, will not thrive without it.

Vulnerability is openness to experience, people and uncertainty. It’s terrifying at times, and tremendously courageous, always. We will get hurt. Relationship pain is an unavoidable part of being human.

Dr. Brene Brown is a research professor from the University of Houston and an expert in the field of vulnerability. She’s looked at those who have a strong sense of connection and belonging and those who don’t. Her research found that a primary difference between the two groups was that those who had a strong sense of love and belonging believed they were worthy of it. People who believed they were worthy of connection experienced greater connectedness.

When people believe themselves worthy of connection, they’re more likely to move towards others. They’ll be the first to say ‘I love you’. They’ll be quick to say, ‘I miss you’. They’ll ask for help and they’ll be open to the love, affection, knowledge, and efforts of others. They’ll be grateful. They’ll be connected. They will appreciate learning and the give-and-take of reciprocal communication.

This doesn’t mean they’ll always get what they want. What it means is that they are more willing to be open and vulnerable in relationships because their potential for shame is less. If the connection falls short – if the ‘I love you’ is left hanging, the ‘I miss you’ isn’t returned, the request for help is declined, people who believe they are worthy of connection are less likely to blame themselves and their own ‘unworthiness’ for the disconnection.

They are often the people who will not give up on others. They will try again. And again. They will not let the pain of disappointing relationships sour them for future ones. They are open to love, connection, attachment. And the underbelly- disappointment, loss, grief, a broken heart.

Vulnerability, the understated superpower.

Embolden Psychology

Embolden offers the ADOS-2, the gold standard assessment for kids on the spectrum.

Combined with psychoeducational testing, it helps provide comprehensive information and recommendations to help children and teens six and up.

Thank you for contacting us.