Vulnerability has long been seen as a sign of weakness, but VALLEY is changing the notion of what it means to be vulnerable.
Mental health has been on the road to being de-stigmatized for quite some time now. Within friendship and family circles, people are more open to conversations about personal struggles than ever before. As college students mature, they may find new ways to deal with the emotional whirlwind of adulthood through practicing vulnerability.
Renowned social researcher Brene Brown, in preparation for her infamous 2010 TEDTalk, evaluated two groups of people. In one group, she found that they believed they were all worthy of love and embraced vulnerability. She called this group the “whole-hearted” group.
Whether it felt comfortable or extremely painful, the whole-hearted group knew it was necessary. The other group did not. Brown shares that the whole-hearted group “believed that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.”
Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” is the bible to navigating improved happiness, honesty and authenticity in life. Check it out:
Since being uploaded to YouTube the following year, Brown’s widely known 2010 TEDTalk, “The Power of Vulnerability” has garnered over 17 million views. Throughout the comment section, viewers had said they found the video because their therapist told them to watch it.
Vulnerability isn’t a revolutionary practice. It’s been around for a while, but it’s highly underestimated and it often gets overlooked. In the realm of mental health and personal relationships, being vulnerable can be extremely valuable.
Brown gives prime examples of what it means to be vulnerable: being the first to say “I love you,” willing to hear the results of a medical examination and giving your all into a relationship that may fail. Doing something without any guarantee that it will go your way is vulnerable.
Being vulnerable means showing strength and courage rather than feeling weak.
Here are Brown’s steps towards embracing vulnerability that VALLEY readers can start to incorporate into their daily life:
Let yourself be completely seen.
Become an open book—be honest and transparent. True human connection starts with vulnerability.
Love with your whole heart, even when nothing is certain and there is no guarantee.
Brown gives the example of being a parent and not always receiving reciprocated, unconditional love from her children. College students, on the other hand, can take this piece of advice when it comes to familial relationships, romantic relationships or close friendships.
Practice joy and gratitude.
Even in anxious and fearful moments, remain grateful. Recognize when you may be “catastrophizing” a situation and put an end to it. Tell yourself you can be strong and push through it.
Believe that you are enough.
Be kinder to yourself and those around you. Brown says that this is the most important step. Telling yourself that you are enough will ease the anger and frustration over trying to make everything perfect, especially since life is meant to be flawed and imperfect. You will be more satisfied and whole when you tell yourself that you are enough.
How do you practice vulnerability? Let us know on Twitter @VALLEYmag!