Embracing your vulnerability strengthens your relationship with yourself and allows you to form deeper and more authentic relationships with others. When we have a lot of work to do, it’s easy to dismiss your pain and just sweep them under the rug. As time goes on, these negative emotions pile up and form shackles strong enough to bind you and slow you down. Instead of ignoring your hurt, be open and discuss your emotions with trusted friends and family members. Remember: you are not alone in your journey!
Many of us are hardwired to project a successful image to others. Especially in this age of social media, we curate our online content to showcase only our strengths. We believe that any signs of weakness somehow tarnish our reputation and will lead to condemnation.
In business, where vulnerability is often seen as a weakness, we put a tough exterior that belies our real feelings beneath. However, Brene Brown, the author of Daring Greatly shares that taking ownership of your vulnerability and sharing it with others is one of the most courageous acts that anyone can do.
Instead of hiding your challenges or weaknesses, what you actually must do is reveal your authentic self to others in order to get the help you may need.
At a point in my life when I felt like everything was going downhill, I opened up about my adversity and many others came to me and shared their harrowing experiences. It was like I opened up the floodgates of peer sharing when I started to openly talk about my trauma.
Because of that, I realized that many people put up fronts, a cloak of composure, and happiness to mask the challenges they face inside. But when you show people your real vulnerable side, others are also willing to open up. I have forged such a strong bond with people from that time. We saw each other during the worst times and together, we encouraged each other to heal and grow.
The more I shared my vulnerabilities towards others and vice versa, the more appreciation I had with our unique journeys. I started appreciating family, friends, and the health that I have both physically and mentally. Previously, my appreciation came and went, but after sharing my failures and insecurities with others, I was determined to make that story part of my life as a lesson, as something I overcame and eventually, made me stronger.
From my many failures in life, I learned that there are three key factors that directly affect one’s ability to bounce back.
1. Choosing your attitude.
Your inner self-talk greatly impacts how you think, feel and act. We may lose our possessions, careers, health and loved ones. No matter the circumstance, we always have the ability to choose how we react to the situation.
Our inner freedom of choice and our attitude towards challenges can never be taken from us. A positive attitude enables us to endure suffering and disappointment. On the other hand, a negative attitude intensifies our pain. It diminishes pleasure, happiness, and satisfaction and may even lead to depression or illness.
In Nazi concentration camps, there were people who gave up their hope and died. Yet, there were some, like the author of Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl, who chose to live with a positive attitude and got liberated finally. Always remember to choose the attitude that serves, not destroys you.
2. Having a strong support system.
In the fog of trauma, it is often difficult to determine who you could rely on. You want to look out for those who will be there for you without any judgment or unwarranted advice on what you should do or how you should feel.
Give your circle some thought and look for honest, dependable and compassionate people you feel safe talking to. For some, they may not be the people who are closest to you right now, but you know you can rely on them in times of difficulty. If you already know who they are, invest in making the relationship stronger by being Relief Switches for them. Let them know in advance that you are there for them in the event of a challenge.
3. Use the power of gratitude.
The natural tendency for most of us is to focus on negativity. It is easy to fall into the trap of complaint, frustration and fear daily with the challenges that are happening around us today. Gratitude is the solution to negativity. It is impossible to feel grateful and negative at the same time.
Express gratitude to someone close and keep a gratitude journal. Alternatively, perform a daily gratitude practice by reminding yourself about three things you can be grateful for every night before you sleep.