The V Word

Vulnerability is the new word on the block. Thanks to Brene Brown and her inspiring TEDtalk, (if you haven’t checked it out yet then jump on board: the word vulnerability is finally being understood and accepted for its authentic meaning rather then the condemning it has received in our culture for so long.

vulnerable
/ˈvʌlnərəbəl/
adjective
Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt

To be honest, I experienced a moments hesitation to include the dictionary definition of vulnerability in this article for fear of scaring people off in the first paragraph. But I recognised that to truly honor this article I must include it, because although the fear was trying to shove me back into my little nest of safety, I intuitively felt that it was important to include it. So there it is. And that, right there my friend, is vulnerability.

Recently I was discussing the V word with a dear friend and when I mentioned how practicing it on a daily basis was empowering me, her eyes glazed over with doubt. Finally she said that she had always understood vulnerability to be a weakness therefore it seemed a contradiction that I was feeling stronger through practicing it. Her honesty in that moment was a perfect example of how vulnerability has received such a bad rap over the years, The V word is right up there with the F bomb. People recoil from vulnerability from the understanding that it is showing weakness, therefore as a defence most of us have learnt to armor up to prevent being wounded. But as we know, it is the scars that we learn the most from and which make for the most interesting stories. A cliche ain’t there for no reason – what doesn’t kill us only makes us stronger.

I know this defensiveness this first hand, I wore one hell of a silver-plated-breast-plate over my heart for years. It was impenetrable. I put it on after a relationship break up and this armor represented me as a “strong independent woman, I don’t need no man nah-ah” which kept any and all levels of intimacy in far reach from my heart. I now recognise that this armor of not needing ANYONE was actually my fear of opening myself to being wounded again. Because let me tell you, behind that solid wall that I had built was a heart that longing for connection and intimacy.

It is through practicing vulnerability that I have learnt of the healing power of connection. And it is only through vulnerability that we connect. Truly connect. It does seem like a contradiction that speaking our truth cultivates stronger bonds with people since sometimes there is the risk of hurting the other person, but its seems to be the law of the universe, because it just works, you simply have to try it to believe it. This is why the premise of all Hollywood block busters include the hero’s journey – the protagonist having to face his or her fears – slay the dragon, face the high-school bully, climb to the dark depth of Mordor – they are all opening themselves up to wounding but end up winning the girl, slaying the dragon, saving the world…

Way of the heartSo what the heck does practicing vulnerability look like you say? Vulnerability is being honest. Its there in those moments where intuitively you want to say your truth but instead you say nothing either for fear of hurting someone, being ridiculed, misunderstood, or just not being heard. Or you tell a little white lie, a manipulation of your truth, suffocating your authentic voice into the dark depths of doubt and insecurity. Therefore to practice vulnerability you must practice speaking your truth. And this can be really tricky as it is not something that a lot of us have been taught to do in a conservative culture of manners. But what I understand from depression and anxiety (from first hand experience and through my clients) is that it can manifests from repression of truth, holding back on emotions, swallowing down hopes and dreams.

Therefore, practicing vulnerability is good for our health! Why? because it cultivates connection. Humans crave the truth – this is why celebrity mags – stars without make up! – fly off the shelves and rock star autobiographies are so popular – we all crave to know the truth behind the super ego of Hollywood, we drool over pages of photos of celebs at their most vulnerable moments. We resonate with truth as human beings. Truth is the universal language.
You are worth being heard, and the reality is that you might be wounded along the way, although at least you honored yourself in the process and that is where true healing begins.

A wise man once said “do something everyday that scares you”. This is how we grow. This is how we learn. Mine for today was posting this article.

I would love to hear about yours and what came of it.

Be honest. Speak your truth. Challenge yourself to be vulnerable. And welcome the surprising reward of connection that follows. You deserve it.

Written by Laura Griffin

Laura Griffin offers Trans-personal Counselling sessions from Kundalini House on Tuesdays from 9:00-6:00pm. To book, contact Laura on 0402179377.

2 Comments

  1. Ghyslaine July 8, 2015 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    Laura, what a beautiful post, Thank you. This is me being vulnerable right now, I have never left a comment or anything on the net where it can be traced back to me, always private email which thinking about it I always delete thinking they would not want to hear from me anyway. This post punctured little holes in my armour that I wear and have always worn; little tears dripped down these holes. Please forgive me if this does not make sense I am very ill and my brain does not function they way I would like. One of my greatest friends and teachers once said to me “the greatest gift you can give the world is your truth” I believe it is so true, however, I get confused by these truths or laws of universe, as sometimes I want to be rawly honest where it does not serve how do you walk this line how do you know when to speak up and when to accept that this is another person choice and truth and you must accept that for that and not go saying something, which will just create harm , so what do you do ? i always put my needs second because I do not want create harm. if you have some wisdom Laura on how to walk this line of honouring yourself and another I would love to hear. With gratitude.
    Blessings

    • kundalinihouseblog July 14, 2015 at 9:50 pm - Reply

      Firstly, I want to thank you for your bravery in posting your truth and allowing yourself to be heard. I was so excited to receive a reply which is an example of how truth can bring such joy to another!
      I understand the action of putting others needs before your own, I did this for so many years and used to wonder why I often felt compromised, taken advantage of and depleted in energy. It was when I started to practice speaking my truth that I began to feel heard, respected and energised from people.
      You have asked thought provoking questions that I will answer from my perspective. I feel that the intention behind words and the delivery of them are most important, although it does take mindfulness to understand the underlying reasons of your communication with others. Your truth can be different from an emotive reaction. Therefore, having a mindfulness meditation practice allows you to really hear your authentic truth, rather then defensive reflexes we can often use when communicating. When you are living from your authenticity – your heart space – then your truth will be spoken with compassion and purpose. So if I can impart any wisdom it would be to begin a regular mindfullness based meditation practice.
      I think it is important to respect other peoples unique point of view and to accept it as their truth, even if it is different from ours. Although this shouldn’t stop us from offering our unique points of view. There also comes a level of responsibility when speaking your truth, so it takes strength and courage to stand confidently in ourselves and own all that is ours including our words. This practice cultivates confidence and self-respect, which others can be inspired by.
      I hope this helps to shed some light on your question.
      Laura Griffin

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