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    How To Be OK With Showing Vulnerability

    Embark on a transformative exploration with our guide, delving into the art of embracing vulnerability. Discover practical insights and empowering strategies to redefine vulnerability as a strength, fostering genuine connections in personal and professional realms. Navigate the delicate balance between openness and self-care, paving the way for authentic relationships.

    By Liv Surtees / Jan 20 2024

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    Whether you want to become more able to share emotional details of yourself with someone you’ve just started seeing, you want to ask for support at work but you’re unsure how, you want to take a risk but you’re too scared to fail, or you simply want to be kinder to yourself, vulnerability is the answer.

    Vulnerability is the key to great relationships, a deep understanding of the self, and it can help you take risks and live an aligned life with purpose.


    However, it’s not often easy to practice. In fact, for most people, vulnerability is hard to not only come to terms with, but it’s hard to express to others too.


    If you struggle with being vulnerable or you simply want to improve your ability to show up in your life vulnerably, this article is here for you! We’re not only going to be sharing the fundamentals of vulnerability with you, but we’ll also share ways in which you can actively practise being vulnerable.

    what exactly is vulnerability?

    When we think of vulnerability our minds might suddenly jump to visions of people crying or opening up about every aspect of their trauma to someone else. Although these are definitely examples of being vulnerable, vulnerability isn’t actually about being “overly” emotional, although this may be a commonly held preconception.


    Obviously, there are two parts to vulnerability - emotional vulnerability and physical vulnerability. However, the two actually link together quite nicely! The physical definition of vulnerability is being “open to attack” or “capable of being wounded”. Whilst being emotionally vulnerable is clearly very different to being physically vulnerable, the concept is similar - being emotionally vulnerable means that you emotionally open yourself up to the risk of being hurt. 

    Whether it’s opening yourself up to the idea of love and risking heartbreak, opening yourself up to a coworker about your struggles at work and risking them going to your boss about it, or giving up on your 9-5 to start a business doing what you love and risking it not working out, there’s always a potential risk associated with vulnerability. 

    However, that’s absolutely not supposed to scare you away. In fact, vulnerability is one of the most important things you can practise in your day-to-day life.

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    why is vulnerability so important?

    Although there may be elements of risk associated with allowing yourself to be vulnerable, a life without vulnerability is a life without depth. 


    If you never allow yourself to feel deeply for someone and take the leap of faith to tell them, you may miss out on a wonderful relationship. If you never put yourself forward for that job you’re nervous about but truly want, you may miss out on the career you’ve always longed for. If you never allow yourself to open up to someone about what you’ve been through or are currently dealing with, you may never stop feeling hurt. 

    So yes, being vulnerable might come with a whole host of potential risks attached to it, but it may also provide you with a life full of depth, love, and true happiness. 


    There’s something absolutely beautiful about allowing yourself to fully open up to the human experience and put yourself out there, even when you know it means that you have to take a risk and things might not work out how you want them to.

    how vulnerability is linked to self-awareness

    Vulnerability is inextricably linked with having a level of self-awareness. Although the two definitely don’t have to exist at the same intensity or “level”, in order to be vulnerable and express your vulnerability with someone else, you will typically need to first understand yourself.


    Self-awareness is one of the most powerful things to master since it allows you to not only be introspective and get to know the ins and outs of your emotional state more deeply, but because it can also help you become more vulnerable with others and within your life as a whole.

    Being self-aware first allows you to get to grips with how you feel and become vulnerable with yourself. Then, by practising vulnerability with the outside world and others, you can create the life you truly want by taking the risks you need to in the hope that the things you want to do come to fruition.

    why is it sometimes difficult to be vulnerable?

    People can find it difficult to be vulnerable for a number of reasons. Some people may struggle with self-awareness, find it difficult to understand and express their emotions, or they may simply not have felt the need to be vulnerable in their life before. 

    However, one of the main reasons people tend to shy away from letting themselves be vulnerable is because they’re scared that they will be rejected (this is especially true when practising vulnerability in relationships). If someone has attempted to be vulnerable in the past and faced rejection, they may decide not to put themselves in the position of being hurt again. 

    A lot of people in this position try to turn off the vulnerability switch altogether. However, that only tends to lead to destructive behaviour, unhealthy habits and relationships, and a feeling of frustration and isolation.


    Whilst it can be confronting and difficult to open back up after experiencing some kind of rejection or negative experience after being vulnerable, it’s important to slowly try and open back up. Otherwise, you might miss out on all that this wonderful world has to offer!

    If you struggle to be vulnerable due to experiencing any type of rejection in the past (in relationships or otherwise), just try to remember this: rejection is just redirection. 

    8 things to do to practice being more vulnerable

    forgive yourself + past experiences

    If there is something that’s holding you back from being vulnerable, you need to work through that first. Aside from doing introspective work or working alongside a therapist, one of the best things you can do is practice forgiveness towards yourself and the past experiences that made you feel like you can’t be vulnerable today. To move forward, you have to first forgive (even if you only forgive yourself for the way you acted and can’t forgive the situation or person). This in itself may take some time, but being able to move on from situations that have happened in the past is a key part of being able to live in the present as a more vulnerable human being moving forwards.

    become vulnerable with yourself first

    One of the easiest people to practice being vulnerable with first is yourself! Are you feeling low? Are you feeling tired? Are you feeling like you really need to do something for yourself? Listen to yourself and ask for what you need from yourself. Taking care of your vulnerable needs is not only important for self-awareness and self-care, but it’s also a great way to build up a new thought pattern: you can be vulnerable, good can come from it, and you can have your needs met.

    feel your feelings when they arise

    For those that aren’t familiar with feeling or expressing vulnerability, one of the key things to work on is simply acknowledging when certain emotions arise within you. Taking a moment or two to check in with yourself when you feel something (positive or negative), is a powerful way to get more in touch with yourself and experience vulnerability, even if you don’t want to express these emotions outwardly just yet. 


    Top tip: journaling about how you feel can also help you to acknowledge your emotions and vulnerabilities if you’re not ready to express them to others just yet.

    start small + notice how it feels

    It’s not expected that you’ll feel totally confident in expressing vulnerability immediately, so don’t panic that you’re not ready to have a difficult conversation right now or open up to someone close to you. Instead, you can start to build your confidence by expressing vulnerability in small ways. For example, the next time someone asks how you are, try to answer honestly and open up a little bit. Every time you express vulnerability, no matter how small, make a note of how it feels and explore those feelings within yourself.

    work on your communication skills

    When it comes to expressing vulnerability, sometimes one of the hardest things to do is actually communicate that vulnerability clear to someone. If you find it difficult to be vulnerable when communicating, this could be a great time to practice your communication skills, speak to yourself in the mirror before you express things to someone else, or even let the person you are speaking to know that you find it difficult to discuss vulnerable things but you’re trying and they might just need to support you a little more right now.

    share how you feel with loved ones

    Expressing vulnerability with those who are your biggest supporters and always have your back is a great way to start opening yourself up in a safe, held environment. Call up a friend and be a little more open the next time they ask you what you’ve been up to, or even reach out to someone and tell them you’re struggling with showing vulnerability to a situation or person. The truth is, they will likely not only be able to hold space for you, but they may have even gone through what you are and be able to relate and maybe even give their own advice.

    trust that you'll be fine, whatever happens

    A huge part of being able to express vulnerability confidently is knowing that whatever happens after you do so, you will still be OK. Whatever the outcome of any kind of vulnerability you show, it’s important to understand that you will get through it, whether the outcome is what you wanted or not, because you’re a strong person who can take risks confidently and vulnerably.

    take the leap

    Then, the final thing you need to do when it comes to practising vulnerability is actually take some action. This is the scary bit, but sometimes you have to just push yourself (and by practising the tips above hopefully you’ll be ready to!). Whether it’s a solo trip you want to take or a serious talk you want to have with someone, you just have to take the leap into the unknown and be open to whatever happens - you’ve got this and you can be confident knowing that can both express and experience vulnerability! 

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