Once we’ve mastered our ability to show compassion and kindness to ourselves, the next inevitable step in our personal growth is allowing ourselves to become vulnerable. This involves susceptibility to: rejection from others, judgments as unworthy by others, and experiencing pain because of others. For me, personally, such a vulnerability might be one of the scariest things to confront in this world. When you think about it, much of life’s suffering stems from our fear of vulnerability. We are lonely and become depressed because we feel disconnected from others, disconnected because we are afraid to be our authentic selves. We become anxious because we have become vulnerable to criticism and the uncertainty of what the future holds. Dr. Brene Brown, a researcher-storyteller conducted a phenomenal TED talk related to this topic of conversation. Stuck in an ever-perpetuating cycle of fear and avoidance of pain, we choose to push away and cloak our vulnerability in order to avoid being hurt by others. However, when we remove ourselves from today’s society and its impossible standards, we can see it as clear as day – life without pain is a life free of fulfillment and meaning. Without pain, we cannot grow organically and in a meaningful way. Instead of stretching ourselves to truly grow, we choose to replace wealth and riches for our “growth.”

It might be deafeningly frightening to allow ourselves to expose our vulnerabilities, but hang tight – you’ll see that choosing vulnerability over forced smiles is quite liberating and the only way we can truly light up the world. What are some ways that we can choose to be vulnerable?

  1. Choose to be goofy. Dance as if no one is looking, or as no one cares.
  2. Share what you’re passionate about with your friends and coworkers.
  3. Acknowledge mistakes! They’re opportunities of growth, not reflections of the lack of “skills” or capacity.
  4. Ask for what you want, even if you think the answer is a no.
  5. Be unapologetically YOU.