Our emotions are equally rare. The precious thing about vulnerability is that it is difficult for us to accept and show our vulnerability to others, and the beauty is that it is this part of our fragile true self that allows us to embrace ourselves and the world at every moment.
Only in vulnerability, we are open. It is only when you are open that new things can come into you from the outside and happen in your body.
For Anna Bruk et al. (2018), vulnerability means being open to uncertainty and risk, despite fear, and willing to reveal your emotions.
It means that we are not afraid of rejection and are willing to give up total control of ourselves and put ourselves in a passive, risky position.
When we talk about vulnerability, we talk about a life without defence or a low level of defence.
Vulnerable people are open, do not “live safely” as the creed of life, they are willing to try, to meet all the responses from the outside world, even if the rejection;
Vulnerable people are not afraid of harm and are willing to face all their faces and tolerate their frustrations and loss, rather than isolating painful feelings.
In their view, perceived harm is a part of life, after being hurt can contain pain, continue to embrace life, is also a part of life.
Vulnerability is towards adapting to reality and is of great importance to the development of individuals.
2. However, we often shy away from vulnerability
Although we need vulnerability, it is common for us to link vulnerability to dark emotions such as fear, shame, sadness, and disappointment that we do not want to discuss, even if they profoundly affect the way we live, love, and work.
For example, don’t be the first to admit your love for others, because it seems like giving up control of the relationship and being rejected, not being able to speak out about the difficulties you face at work because it means inequity, and not being able to express your fear and sadness about something, because it represents weakness and sentiment.
In modern society, vulnerability is still seen as an emotion that needs to be hidden and avoided and needs to be removed from our world of experience. Especially for men, vulnerability is often seen as a weakness, not a virtue, in masculinity.
The situation is more complicated today, regardless of men and women, more socially recognized temperament is strong, bold, showing vulnerability may not only be seen as “weak”, but also “pretend to be pathetic”.
It’s also about our defence. We live in a world where we can be hurt at any time, and many self-defence mechanisms have been developed to avoid certain injuries. The pain of vulnerability is often isolated by us in this way.
Therefore, vulnerability is precious.
In the process of avoiding vulnerability, we become self-enclosed. When we keep the pain out of our hearts, we also keep out the possibility of all new things happening, all the good things that might change our current state.
According to Brown Brene, a social work scholar at the University of Houston, vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, commonality and creation, a source of hope and sincerity.
This is first of all because, in the fragile, we are really facing ourselves. We can hear the real needs of our hearts, rather than denying some of our true thoughts and excluding certain aspects of ourselves from the outside world.
Second, the fragile state means that we are constantly trying. We put ourselves in unfamiliar, new possibilities, and continue to feel vulnerable because of this uncertainty.
But all change comes from trying, and while we are at risk of rejection and failure, we also have the hope of connecting with others and succeeding.
Because I am fragile, I have the needs of others, but also dare to show others the true self. I am therefore able to understand the vulnerability of others and ultimately enable us to move towards trust and mutual support.
So vulnerability is good.
When a person is vulnerable, he can have a better understanding of others – because they are not afraid to experience emotions, but also better understand the vulnerability and pain that others are deeply buried in. So they treat others more kindly.
They welcome unknown possibilities and are prepared to endure life’s encounters because they are more courageous, more confident in themselves, and because of the values of life that are “a precious experience of being born, whether happy or sad”.
The essence of this fragility is the deep openness to the self, to others, and the world – a kind of personality openness that allows new things to develop, and ultimately, because of openness, you embrace change and thus move towards self-healing.
Here are a few things you can try about how to stay vulnerable and “open yourself deeply to everything” as an attitude to life:
Self-love. If you can’t love yourself, don’t want to look at your real needs, don’t want to admit your pain, don’t believe that your desires and feelings are important, your opening can’t be said. How you feel about life can easily be influenced by social evaluation.
Accept. Accepting yourself cannot control everything, accepting others has the same human complexity as yourself. This acceptance will allow you to lower your high expectations and thus look at life more peacefully.
Consciously give up some of your life’s defences. Don’t be afraid of pain, realize that it is a part of being born, even a privilege. Recognize the reality that you can be hurt at any time, and also recognize your ability to deal with pain. Only by putting down our defences will we be open and new things will come into us just in time.
Control means known, allowing means unknown. To change your life and gain new possibilities, you have to take risks, give up control, surprise ourselves – we can’t predict whether it’s good or bad, we can only open ourselves up to everything.
It’s not easy to be open to life, but it’s also more valuable because it’s hard. Some people want to avoid hardship, close the heart to block anxiety and stress, but these are the real emotions and feelings of depression, which in the long run, will damage physical and mental health. We must open our hearts and minds, talk to ourselves, and interact with the real world to be more psychologically flexible.
However, moving towards openness and acceptance of vulnerability is a process. That is to say, this does not mean a complete denial of the current defence mechanism, nor does it mean that we should immediately “open up”, when we realize that we can not bear it, we can still selectively retreat to the security field, gradually eliminate their own pain.
But at the end of the day, if we want to live a more sexual life and let newer and better things happen in us, we need to see the preciousness and beauty of vulnerability and look forward to another path: to move from the realm of security to an open and fragile state to this world, and thus to live a more profitable life.
Anthony, E. J. (1987). Risk, vulnerability, and resilience: An overview. The invulnerable child, 3-48.
Brown, B. (2015). Daring greatly: How the courage to be vulnerable transforms the way we live, love, parent, and lead. Penguin.
Bruk, A., Scholl, S. G., & Bless, H. (2018). Beautiful mess effect: Self–other differences in evaluation of showing vulnerability. Journal of personality and social psychology, 115(2), 192-205.
Firestone, T. (2018). Daring to Love: Move Beyond Fear of Intimacy, Embrace Vulnerability, and Create Lasting Connection. New Harbinger Publications.
A New Slant on Vulnerability: Strength Not Weakness. (2020).
A New Slant on Vulnerability: Courage Not Conformity. (2020).
How Men Get Penalized for Straying from Masculine Norms. (2020).
How Vulnerable Should You Let Yourself Be?. (2020).
Overcoming a Fear of Vulnerability and Love Your Imperfections. (2020).
Smith, E. (2020). Your Flaws Are Probably More Attractive Than You Think They Are.
Vulnerability: The Key to Better Relationships | Mark Manson. (2020).