When was the last time you admitted that you can’t do everything on your own and asked for help?
We live in a culture that is intensely focused on self-containment. Meaning, so much of our communication is done through screens, rather than face to face. Because of this, we have the ability to curate what we show others of our life on social media, and as a result, many of us wear a mask.
We only post what we want to show the world and rarely do we show the vulnerable side of ourselves. Our culture has praised those who work through the pain or keep their chin up and soldier on. But while these qualities may help you get through the different challenges we face on a daily basis, it doesn’t open us up to true and meaningful connections.
Vulnerability is a strength
Despite the discomfort it brings, vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. We are all imperfect human beings, the better we are at accepting this, the more able we are to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable reaffirms your place in the world as an imperfect, growing, and always changing human being.
But why do so many of us avoid showing vulnerability?
To be vulnerable is difficult, especially in new relationships or in old and damaged ones. However, to show your raw and real self is incredibly rewarding. When you bare your soul to another human being and find it known, accepted, and loved, you can create deeper connections both with yourself and with others.
The Importance of Vulnerability in Relationships
When you lay open your heart to someone you love and trust, there is always the risk of getting hurt. But being vulnerable in your relationships nurtures connection.
Being vulnerable may seem weak but is actually the most empowering thing you can do. When you’re vulnerable with someone, you empower them to be vulnerable with you, too. Vulnerability indicates a profound level of trust. You let them know that it’s okay to not be okay, that it’s okay to be imperfect, to be a work in progress, and to ask for help when they need it.
The most valuable thing that vulnerability cultivates, is the ability to be authentic!
How to Practice Being Vulnerable and Asking for Help
There are numerous opportunities for being vulnerable. For example, when you first start to date someone and really like them, yet at the same time, you’re still unsure if they’re the right person. What if it doesn’t work out? What if they don’t accept me? What if they hurt me? What if they aren’t who they say they are? What if we aren’t compatible?
All these “what ifs” start running through your mind and that’s normal. It’s normal to be asking these questions and to feel doubtful at first. But when you open yourself up to vulnerability and show your partner your true self, this builds trust between the two of you. There is one caveat here though, not everyone can manage seeing someone’s vulnerability, so there needs to be some discernment here around who you are vulnerable with. If you don’t feel safe with someone yet, or if you suspect that the person doesn’t have the capacity to hold something emotional, then it’s better to find someone else to share with.
What about when you are going through something significant, like a break-up, job loss, or even a death of a relative or loved one? Everyone goes through these things. It’s all part of life. Although we all differ in the way we deal with these kinds of events, knowing that we all experience this and that it’s all part of the journey opens us up to be more vulnerable with those around us.
Putting yourself out there, taking that leap, and showing vulnerability take a lot more courage than to keep quiet and do nothing. When you are able to accept that you are in pain and can admit it, it’s a sign of strength. It is also a lot healthier to allow yourself to feel and acknowledge your feelings rather than to hold them in and pretend you are fine. Holding your feelings and emotions in will only make them worse.
Here are a few ways to be vulnerable for those who are struggling to ask for help and show their true self.
Accept that you have issues and that everyone else does too
When you accept that you are not perfect and that everyone else is a work-in-progress as well, you can find the courage to open yourself up and be more vulnerable. We all have our flaws and that’s perfectly okay.
Find your safe places and people you can turn to
Although we talk about the positive side of showing your vulnerability and asking for help, not every situation or person is appropriate for revealing your vulnerability. Knowing who you can trust and having people in your corner that you can turn to is key to showing your vulnerability and having the courage to do it.
Describe what’s happening on the inside
It’s tempting to just talk about the external factors around vulnerability. When you are going through a tough time at work, it’s easy to blame your boss, or the market, or your co-workers for not stepping up.
Rather than saying, “We are not reaching our targets and my boss is blaming me,” you might say, “I’m feeling concerned about the status of our company. It’s making me feel insecure about our team’s progress. It’s also hard for me to talk with my boss about it because of how he may react to the current situation.”
When you frame things in a way that doesn’t point the finger but instead goes inward, you get to understand yourself better and know why you are reacting the way you are towards a specific situation.
It shows strength when you can admit that you are in pain and are struggling to handle things on your own, and you don’t always have to. When you swallow your pride and ask for help, you create deeper connections with those around you. Life is full of ups and downs, but we can learn to ride the wave.
Without taking the risk, and putting yourself out there, you are closing the door to limitless possibilities. In order to live a fulfilling life and be your most authentic self, being vulnerable and stepping outside of your comfort zone could very well be the best thing you could ever do.
What makes you vulnerable? What difference would it make if you showed up more often as you really are?