Vulnerability and weakness are words that are often misconstrued. However, these words are not interchangeable. People struggling with emotions of sadness, anger or grief sometimes feel as though these feelings are moments of weakness. It is hard not to feel weak. Instead, however, we should think of ourselves as brave.
It takes courage to put yourself in a vulnerable situation. It is not easy to put yourself in such a state of mind, whether it is opening up to someone about how you feel, letting go of your past or trying something new. All change, good or bad, is difficult to process. We seek comfort in circumstances that we become accustomed to. Changing your “norm” is healthy and will continue to happen as time passes.
In turn, vulnerability is taking a risk. No success has ever come without a risk. There is always a chance of failure in any situation; that cannot be a reason to say no or to hold yourself back. Think of any famous person, or anyone you know who has become successful. Odds are they made it to that point because of a risk they took.
That is not to say that you cannot be happy without being vulnerable. You can feel content in a comfortable situation, such as a current job, a city you live in or the simple routine of your everyday life. However, taking that next step and allowing yourself to be vulnerable provides you with the potential to be even happier. Taking that leap can open the door to opportunities you would have never known existed had you not had the courage to allow the possibility of harm to your emotions. Plus, in the chance things do not work out or you feel as though you failed, the lessons in simply trying are a reward in themselves.
Vulnerability cannot be measured. What may make one person feel vulnerable might be done effortlessly by someone else. Everyone has been affected by different experiences, which may in turn affect the emotions someone might feel in certain situations. So don’t feel ashamed or invalidated for feeling vulnerable.
People mistake vulnerability for weakness because of the simple definition behind the word. Being vulnerable means putting yourself in a position where your emotions can potentially be harmed. Letting go of your past is going to hurt. The pain in letting go is hard to bear, but afterward, you will not feel weak.
Opening up is uncomfortable and inflicts fear. Trying something new is scary because of the potential that it may not work out. But, after all these feelings subside, you will become so much stronger. If you can put yourself in a position outside of your comfort zone, and you make it through to the other side, you are so much stronger than who you were before.