Owning Your Vulnerability

When I take the time to reflect and try to be objective about an experience that I’m having, it gives me the opportunity to explore what’s below the surface. When I first learned about the feeling wheel, I really was amazed at how we can describe various emotions in such detail. As part of the Life Skills Coaching practice, using the wheel to break down & dig deeper into what you are experiencing can be really beneficial. It comes down to asking questions and being curious and compassionate, with yourself or whoever you are speaking with.

Change can be a big trigger for all of us. When we are first presented with the change, there can be a lot of emotions stirred up below the surface. Digging into these emotions, and using tools like journaling, can be very helpful to reduce the chatter and bring feelings of anxiety back into check. For me, I am sometimes surprised to discover that the root of most of my emotions in these situations is fear, that fear is usually the common denominator.

A friend gave me a book a few years ago called “Love is Letting Go of Fear” by Gerald G. Jampolsky. The essential message of the book is that there is only love, and anything that moves away from love is actually fear. I really appreciated how concise his message was and I often come back to it when thinking about my triggers and root causes of my emotions.

While the root of my fear might be slightly different depending on the situation – maybe shame or guilt – what I’ve truly come to appreciate and understand is the power of owning my vulnerability. Growing up, I never really learned about vulnerability. It wasn’t a topic spoken about in school or in my family. As a result, I think I defaulted to believing that vulnerability was equal to weakness, as I saw it conveyed through stories and other people’s behaviour.

A few years ago while I was taking my Life Skills Coaching education, we started to explore vulnerability as part of our process for revealing things to ourselves & each other. I was immediately surprised by effect that declaring my vulnerability had. In the past, keeping my vulnerability hidden & private seemed to be the logical thing to do. I reasoned that if no one knew my vulnerabilities, then my weaknesses wouldn’t be perceived – I would appear strong. Changing my perspective on this had an immediate effect on my outlook.

When I own my vulnerability – I’m honest with myself, accepting and not judging myself – I truly understand that no one can hold that over me. I’m not self-deprecating about it, but I’m honest about my abilities and where I can grow. It also helps me remove any comparisons or judgment from the process. This also makes it easier for me to dismiss any feelings of shame or guilt or not “being enough” from this process. Recognizing where I can grow helps me truly adopt a growth mindset.

As an analogy, when I view my vulnerability as a liability, I adopt a view of myself that is from someone else’s perspective – like someone examining me critically through a microscope. When I see my vulnerability as an asset, I instead look outward at the world from my perspective, like looking through a telescope at all the possibilities.

Flipping the narrative on what vulnerability is can have a profound empowering effect. It has made me realize that I can get in my own way, and how owning my vulnerability can actually be one of the most powerful steps I can take for myself. I thank you for the time you’ve taken to read this and hope it has resonated with you in some way.

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