What's My Impossible? Being Vulnerable
Being open with others can help you identify what you’re really feeling on the inside.
What do you think of when you hear the word vulnerability? I think of a newborn. A baby that can’t do anything on its own and depends on others for all of its necessities. But when you think about it, we are all vulnerable. We’re all human, which means that we are susceptible to feelings of pain, loss, sadness, and grief. And the thing is, we all tend do whatever we can to avoid feeling vulnerable when what we should be doing is allowing ourselves to be who we truly are.
And that thought used to scare me to death.
If you’ve been paying attention to the news, or even your neighbors, it’s hard not to notice the growing number of social problems that are affecting society. More people are suffering from debilitating addictions and according to research, one in five Americans experience a mental illness each year.
Why is this?
Our natural desire to numb negative emotions and feelings of shame might have something to do with it.
Nobody likes to feel angry, hurt, sad, or ashamed—especially me. And when those uncomfortable feelings hit me hard, it’s easy for me to isolate myself and turn to a whole tub of ice cream to numb the pain. But no matter what I do to escape those emotions, if I don’t take the time to acknowledge and accept them, I’ll keep burying them deeper and deeper until my mental health starts to suffer.
I’ve witnessed this pattern in my life while witnessing someone close to me deal with a decade-long battle with drug addiction. And for so long I hid strong emotions and an anxiety disorder under a false, happy mask because I didn’t want my anxious mind to be a burden on anybody else (or to be seen as weak).
But after hiding for years, I was finally able to be vulnerable and be open about the challenges I’ve faced. And my perspective has changed. Now I know how much we need to allow ourselves to be seen—to really be vulnerable.
Being vulnerable means opening up about the hard stuff—the things you don’t want anybody else to know about you because you think you’ll be perceived as weak. In reality, being vulnerable is the strongest form of courage because it says high praises about your character.
Showing people who you truly are can be terrifying but doing so allows others to connect with you. It allows people around us to be aware of our authentic emotions and allows others to empathize with you. And that connection and empathy is what can give you the strength and support you need to carry on in acceptance and feel peace about your life.
Don’t believe me? Look around you. Look at the positive connections you’ve made with others. They truly bring good vibes and hope into your life. Being vulnerable with others can allow you to truly connect and be understood by someone who cares, and that can open doors to positive changes.
Yes, being vulnerable can be completely terrifying and mortifying. But without vulnerability, I certainly wouldn’t be in the good place I am now. I’m no longer hiding behind my insecurities, and I’m able to see the imperfections in myself and accept them—all while knowing that I am truly enough.
Without vulnerability and connection, we’d be too afraid to love, too afraid to dream, and too afraid to be ourselves. If you’re struggling or hiding behind something difficult and you haven’t sought help, have the courage to be vulnerable and tell a loved one about your experiences. And if needed, reach out to a mental health professional. There is help and hope for you. And the courage to be vulnerable is where it starts.
Select Health may link to other websites for your convenience. Select Health does not expressly or implicitly recommend or endorse the views, opinions, specific services, or products referenced at other websites linked to the Select Health site, unless explicitly stated.
The content presented here is for your information only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, and it should not be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease. Please consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.