Authenticity Through Vulnerability - Creation.begins

Authenticity Through Vulnerability

open hand receiving a floating feather beside a body of water
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open hand receiving a floating feather beside a body of water
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16 April 2024
close-up of buds on stems
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Authenticity Through Vulnerability8 min read

Being vulnerable is a vital tool to have in the self-development and healing journey, and yet it is something that scares a lot of people. Vulnerability simply means being open and honest about your feelings, even the ones that might make you feel scared or sad or angry. It’s about seeing the real you, warts and all, and not hiding who you really are.

Needless to say, this challenges people who think that who they are isn’t who they want others to see, and in their attempt to hide themselves usually with a mask of a version of themself who they think people would like. And over time who they are becomes lost in who they present to the world, and that’s why so much of the world is craving authenticity.

When we’re vulnerable, we admit that we’re not perfect, and we have things we need to work on. It’s like saying, “Hey, I have some weaknesses, and that’s okay.” Embracing vulnerability helps us grow and learn, and it makes our relationships with others stronger and more special because we can connect better when we’re honest about our real selves. The trick in this is, of course, being vulnerable in a safe enough space until you are secure in yourself to expose the real you to the greater world.

While life and people may continue to throws curveballs our way, by embracing vulnerability we are committing to a path of personal growth and authentic connections. Let’s explore how accepting our emotions, weaknesses, and imperfections can transform our lives for the better.

Silver and black microscope with a sample slide

Examination and Observation

Observation and Analysis

It would seem to me that vulnerability means being able to observe and analyse ourselves objectively, and, in so doing being able to then address any weaknesses or imperfections that we may be able to develop. The ability to self-reflect and objectively analyse ourselves not only allows us to identify areas of improvement, but it also enables us to develop resilience and a growth-oriented mindset.

It takes courage to confront our imperfections, but this act of vulnerability ultimately leads to personal transformation and a more authentic, fulfilling life. In essence, vulnerability serves as both a catalyst and a compass on the journey of self-growth and development. That could be said of anything that elicits challenging emotions. First we realise that there is something we are not happy about, and then we realign ourselves with a path that could lead to a happier scenario.

Life’s challenges bring to light aspects of ourselves that may need attention or improvement. These moments act as wake-up calls, urging us to re-evaluate our path and make the necessary adjustments. By embracing vulnerability, we become more aware of our emotions and weaknesses, enabling us to work through them and foster that growth through education and support.

This journey of self-discovery is very much a solo journey but not entirely a lonely one. The supporting cast of people who will help mentor, coach, educate, guide, and hold you on this journey are vital. As you grow, these people will change and you will continually graduate to better support as you outgrow the previous ones. Not only do we gain newer and sometimes better insights, information, and advice from our supporters, but we also get their perspectives of us.

Too often we get lost in our own limited perspectives of ourselves so much that we cannot see our blind spots nor be aware of the gaps in our knowledge and maturity. It is only through exposure to experiences and perspectives outside of our own that we can get a better picture of the universe and a better picture of ourselves.

photo by Shane Rounce

Connecting with Others

Authenticity plays a crucial role in establishing genuine connections with others. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we give people a glimpse into our true selves, building trust and empathy in our relationships. This openness creates a foundation for deeper connections and a stronger support system, allowing us to navigate more of life’s challenges together.

Establishing and maintaining our boundaries are an important part of this process, especially while we are navigating different levels of empathy from the people around us. If you have spent a long time in your mask, surrounding yourself by people who only know you by your mask, it will be a huge step towards being vulnerable in their presence. You will have to start small, exposing your true self only to your therapist at first, and coming out of your closet to your trusted friends only when you feel secure and ready. During this time, depending on how much you are seeking safer spaces, you will likely be meeting safer people with whom you can reveal more of your true self to.

While we all strive for a certain level of perfection, as we have defined it for ourselves, we must also accept that perfection in itself is an unattainable goal, and striving for it can lead to frustration and self-doubt. By accepting our imperfections, we give ourselves permission to keep learning, growing, and evolving. Embracing imperfection encourages a growth mindset, enabling us to view setbacks and challenges as opportunities for development rather than failures.

Since we are all imperfect beings all striving for different levels of betterment, we can all relate to being real people. And real people are attracted to other people being real. In other words, being more vulnerable is alluring to other people allowing themselves to be vulnerable.

Ironically, the more one embraces vulnerability, the less vulnerable one will feel. This is because the scariness of vulnerability isn’t actually in being vulnerable, it is in the unfamiliarity of being real. And, like with anything, the longer you are being yourself, the more accustomed you become to being yourself, and the more secure you feel in being yourself. Which makes the act of vulnerability more of a gateway from the version of yourself that isn’t authentic to being the version of you that is.

human in pink swimsuit jumps of wooden pier into vast lake

photo by Erik Dungan

The Process

It starts with accepting and acknowledging our emotions, weaknesses, and imperfections. Bit by bit, this opening up allows us to connect more authentically with others and grow as individuals. It is about being real about the parts of ourselves that could do with improvement.

Open communication: As we open up and share our feelings, thoughts, and experiences with trusted friends, family, or therapists, we get better at communicating our needs and how we perceive the world. Communicating openly allows us to connect with others on a deeper level, and receive better support and understanding. As with everything, this does go both ways, and the more openly we learn to communicate, we will find ourselves engaging more with other people who have learned and practiced open communication, and less so with the people who are lagging in that skill.

Self-reflection: Take time to reflect on your feelings and why you may be afraid to be vulnerable. Understanding the root of your fears can help you overcome them and become more comfortable with opening up. Some fears may be unwarranted or outdated, while others may be genuinely valid. You will need to determine for yourself whether your fear is hindering you or protecting you. Part of this process may also mean spending more time in safer environments where you can be more vulnerable as you navigate these feelings. A good therapist or coach or mentor would help with all of this.

Practice mindfulness: Being present and aware of your right now feelings and what is causing them help you determine which version of you is dominant currently. Meditation, deep breathing exercises, and engaging in grounding activities can help you become more aware of your emotions in the present moment and feel more at ease with your vulnerability process.

Embrace imperfection: Accept that making mistakes and experiencing failures are natural parts of the human experience. Instead of being ashamed or afraid, view these moments as opportunities for growth and learning, and then take the bounce so that the next attempt has more chance of success. Everything in existence has gone through its trial and error phases. Even the most accomplished humans had to figure themselves out at some point in time. We learn by learning by doing. Fuck around and find out as much as you need to find out to fuck around some more.

Set boundaries: While vulnerability can deepen connections, it’s important to establish boundaries with others to ensure that you feel safe and respected. Since the other side of vulnerability is being your most real self, establishing an environment and community who love and support your real self is going to be part of this process. You won’t need to start anything from scratch; the chances are your people are already out there and they will find you as you be more you. You have only to look out into the world to see that birds of a feather do indeed flock together. Secure people hang out with secure people. Accomplished people hang out with accomplished people. Insecure people hang out with other insecure people. You attract your tribe through your vibe, and the vibe you will be transmitting on the other side of vulnerability will be far superior.

Embracing vulnerability paves the way for personal growth and authentic connections. By acknowledging our emotions, weaknesses, and imperfections, we open the door to self-discovery and transformation. So, the next time you face a challenge, remember the power of vulnerability, and let it guide you toward a more fulfilling, connected, and authentic life.

human wearing t-shirt with text love who you are

photo by Sharon McCutcheon

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