Basking in Strength and Wonder at being Vulnerable


Estimated reading time: 4 minutes, 26 seconds. Contains 889 words

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I’ve been revisiting the concept of one’s “self-identity” recently, and came upon the concept of being in-sync in with one’s vulnerability – which sounds very much like a paradox, really.

Aren’t vulnerabilities bad? It makes me uncomfortable. (It does!)

Why would somebody want to be in-sync with their vulnerabilities?

As I began probing deeper, I realized that accepting, displaying and working with (not merely on) our vulnerabilities helps to open up a new world to us.

Our fears to approach what we deem as unlikely, impossible or even likely to fail, are acknowledged, are embraced – we say to our fears, “thank you very much, but I’d really like to try that out, in spite of failure, (hurt) and embarrassment…” We get out there and try them out anyway – and often surprise ourselves with we what we see and find: freedom and even exhilaration.

No doubt, the feeling of fear, nervousness (pardon my language) sucks. But like many other great things in life, it’s the courage to stand up, the experience having gone at least once, and the subsequent successes that makes life such a memorable roller coaster ride.

Even the pain of initial failures, the falls, that we took once, fades away – and we realize, “Hey – that wasn’t so bad after all.”.

I am a big believer, that as we lie on our beds looking upon our lives during the last days of our days – we will regret more the things we didn’t do, than the ones we did… and the fears we faced in the past will pale in comparison to the pain of not having lived.

So, will it be the pain of security, or hope in possibilities?

It all depends on embracing your vulnerabilities.

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Having discovered these, and upon lots of self-reflection, I told a friend that I’ve built up such a strong professional identity in my 10 years in business, that I’ve neglected to learn and invest in my personal identity – which really goes beyond the former.

But why is a strong personal identity important?

Let me attempt to answer that by drawing a comparison between that and a strong professional identity.

As an entrepreneur with a firm grasp of what he stands for in business, what he can do, and what he can deliver, I am extremely comfortable conversing and expressing my thoughts. I know what I’m talking about, be cause I have delivered results. I know my values, and I stand by what I say.

Whilst other’s opinions and my business reputation are important, I know I cannot please everyone, and so I don’t set out to do that. If I can’t please somebody, I simply move on to finding and serving somebody else.

Sometimes it hurts, but that’s inevitable part of business – you get rejections.

The same applies to life (beyond business) and one’s personal identity.

It is essential to know what we can do, what makes us happy, what we stand for, and even what we suck at – because that’s who we are. That does not mean, of course, that we stay the way we are, and stop working on becoming better.

Far from it.

Recognising our weaknesses and taking personal accountability for them helps us become better – and I believe the feeling vulnerability exists in us to drive us to improve as people.

Every emotion has a purpose.

That said, I do not think one can ever truly “run away” or “cure” that sense of vulnerability. Some hide it well. For awhile – but it will eventually show and that’s when we’ve to decide whether to hide it again until a later date, or choose to acknowledge it and work with it.

I believe that acknowledging our vulnerabilities helps us manage ourselves better as people. It also frees us to focus on what can be done by the person in control – us. Because we cannot control anybody else, we are the only people who have greater say in influencing an eventual outcome.

I say eventual, because not everything will go our way, but how we choose to react will often lead to a positive outcome.

Acknowledging our vulnerabilities, also sets us free on displaying our strengths.

Because we no longer fear getting hurt (as much), we are free to express ourselves, our abilities – thereby truly achieving what we can do with our natural talents and abilities, which we’ve so often hidden away because we are afraid of what people might think of us.

And that sucks.

I’ve learned in my life, professionally mostly, that for every thing we do – there’s going to be somebody who loves it, and somebody who won’t. Rather than spending time fretting about the latter, I’d rather spend my time serving the former – and that’s what serving up with our strengths really mean.

So I pledge today, to embrace my personal vulnerabilities. I pledge today to share my personal vulnerabilities, to acknowledge my flaws and open up to potential failures, and to acknowledge my strengths and abilities.

Because it’s my life, and it’s my responsibility to make it beautiful.

That much, I know is true – and I’d like to welcome you on board on your journey with vulnerability too.

Sincerely,

Gary Guwe​

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“Vulnerability is courage in you but inadequacy in me. And don’t for a moment think this is only for women. Men carry the burden of being strong and never weak, and we pay a heavy price for it.” —Michael Bungay Stanier on Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly

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