Building Connections Through Vulnerability

I think Brene Brown invented the word vulnerability. She even has her own definition:

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure.

With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow – that’s vulnerability. Love is uncertain. It’s incredibly risky. And loving someone leaves us emotionally exposed. Yes, it’s scary, and yes, we’re open to being hurt, but can you imagine your life without loving or being loved?

To put our art, our writing, our photography, our ideas out into the world with no assurance of acceptance or appreciation—that’s also vulnerability. To let ourselves sink into the joyful moments of our lives even though we know that they are fleeting, even though the world tells us not to be too happy lest we invite disaster—that’s an intense form of vulnerability.

Dr Brene Brown

Last week a remarkable thing happened during The Ivey’s Brain Health Solutions workshop on mindfulness.  Before the workshop even commenced, our keynote speaker, an accomplished specialist in acceptance and mindfulness-based practices, realized some misgivings about delivering the topic to our group.  Whether imagined or real, her doubts put her in a vulnerable place…..and get this, she admitted her feelings to the group of attendees.  WOW, what a powerful connection it proved to be, prompting others to speak of their own vulnerabilities.

We all experience vulnerability, and I think for the most part we keep it to ourselves.  It was awe-inspiring to witness the connection that happens when we share ourselves with others and expose our uncertainties.