Vulnerability is beautiful

I’ve had 3 powerful conversations with women about vulnerability in the last week. Women often go to great efforts to hide or suppress their vulnerability. We are taught to believe that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness; that to get ahead we have to rely solely on our intellect, never admit when we don’t know something and certainly not admit when we’re wrong.

I couldn’t disagree more.

Yes, vulnerability is risky, but I’m not talking about sharing every thought and feeling on social media. That’s not vulnerability. True vulnerability should be shared with those who have earned it. It takes courage to share our most sacred feelings and I consider it a distinct privilege when people feel I’ve earned the right to their vulnerability. I can count on 2 hands the people who have earned the right to mine.

Beyond those most sacred feelings, vulnerability touches every part of life and is a significant component of integrity and authenticity. Consider a professional setting where someone in a position of power makes a mistake. The leader who practices integrity chooses to be vulnerable and admits the error. That leader has given everyone around them permission to do the same, creating a culture where mistakes become learning opportunities, not something to be feared, hidden or denied.

Vulnerability is also required for connection. We cannot truly connect with another person, be it a partner or friend, without some measure of vulnerability. When we make choices like asking for what we need and respectfully standing up for ourselves, we are stepping into vulnerability, and deepening connection.

Each of these choices are rooted in vulnerability, and require courage and practice. They also reward us with the beauty of deeper connections and more authentic, integrity-based life.


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