Blog

Oct 27 2015

Debunking the Vulnerability Myths

by Jared Byas, Family Business Advisor

We have encouraged all our members to read Brene Brown’s Daring Greatly, a book about feeling worthy and the power of vulnerability. In this blog series we wanted to offer a summary of each chapter with a few items for reflection. Enjoy!

Chapter 2 | Scarcity: Debunking the Vulnerability Myths

The most popular myth surrounding vulnerability is that it is weakness. In reality, it’s neither good nor bad but is simply the core of all emotions and feeling. To believe vulnerability is weakness is to believe feeling is weakness. Vulnerability isn’t just the seat of “bad” emotions like shame, fear, and grief but is also necessary for “good” emotions like love, belonging, joy, and creativity. What is vulnerability? Uncertainty, risk, & emotional exposure. Those traits are inevitable and denying them doesn’t prove we are strong but only isolates us from human connection. To think of it as “weakness” but to want human connection is to say: “I want to experience your vulnerability but I don’t want to be vulnerable.”

A second myth is that some people just “don’t do vulnerable.” If you think that’s you, we should ask someone we are close with, “What do I do when I feel emotionally exposed? How do I behave when an outcome that affects me is uncertain or I have no control over it?” Regardless of our willingness to “do vulnerability” it inevitably does us. Unless we admit that we all experience vulnerability we often engage in behaviors inconsistent with who we want to be.

A third myth is that vulnerability is “letting it all hang out.” Not only is that not true, oversharing can be a way to avoid true vulnerability when it is used to deal with unmet emotional needs or simply to get attention. It is about sharing our feelings and experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them and in so doing increase connection, trust, and engagement. Who are people who might be receptors of our vulnerability? They keep our secrets. Tell us their secrets. Remember special details about my life. Make sure I’m included in fun or special events. Know when I’m sad or not myself. We all might have different markers for how to build trust but it’s important we realize trust is built one small step at a time. And often it is lost that way too.

A final myth is that we can do it alone. If we want to succeed in a whole-hearted way we all need help because vulnerability, love, connection, and courage are all attributes that require others.

For reflection:

  • Describe a time in your life where you operated under one of these 4 myths.
  • How do you determine who is worth your emotional exposure?

Register to attend our November 12 Dinner FORUM, where we will continue the conversation with other business families!

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