What does it take to be vulnerable? When I am in classes with kids or speaking to men and women. I ask the question "What does it mean to be vulnerable?" The first response is always "To be soft or weak!" This is an unfortunate truth about our viewpoints and the way we see our emotions. It's a very sad thing to hear a father tell his 4-year-old child to "stop crying you ain't soft." It breaks my heart to see a mother say it even more. We allow little girls to get a pass at this softness but when they get older, they look for a man who is "Not soft." In other cultures, it is just as evident. Men being made told to hold in their emotions and "be a man!"
Let see how this has affected our entire species with false beliefs and ideas. You have women that look for this in an Alpha Male to protect her and be strong. Yet, he has been taught to be that man and uses no emotional as you are not a woman. But what underlining principles are at play here? How twisted is our culture that denies children the capacity to feel? They are forced to push down emotions as an adult and show no weakness? How ignorant we are to forget the most powerful tool of conscious development. Feelings and awareness of those feelings.
Let's get back to vulnerability and what it truly is. When groups of soldiers were asked, could you have vulnerability without courage? The soldiers sat for a second to think about it. One stated, "no sir, you can't, you can't have courage without vulnerability." This statement is true and vise versa. You cant have vulnerability without courage. Now let's take a good look at this. Take moment and think about when you have a moment that you were vulnerable. Did it take extreme courage to step out and be vulnerable? Or maybe a time when you needed to step up and be courageous for someone or ideas in a moment. Did you not have to make yourself vulnerable by being the one to step up and out?
As we know today with our science and medicine, the human body is made of many chemicals, proteins, peptides, and amino acids. It's a system to synthesize emotions (chemicals) and adjust the system based on the effect of the chemical reaction. So we are built to feel emotions. They are also a system that if habitually used you can harm or heal the body. We also understand that a frequency had a direct effect on atoms and our DNA that transform the behavior of our cells.
When you really identify the process of vulnerability you have these three base reactions. The first is fear, then your sympathetic nervous system is triggered and your heartbeat increases. Then there are subconscious patterns that play in the background of your feelings and thoughts. Rationalizing why you should not do this. Falling more into fear. Then there is our choice. This is where the power lies. When we chose to stay bound by fear we always feel little and incapable, insignificant, we experience a lack of self-confidence and self-worth. This is extremely unhealthy for our mind, social intelligence, and cultural nuances. It breeds competition and division that feeds the ego.
Now in my personal experience choosing to be vulnerable and open up about certain things in my past actually catapulted my growth and capability to heal and let go. How so? Well because first I had to be aware of the fact that I was afraid and holding on to so much tension and anger. I was afraid to allow people to see this side of me because I had to "keep my shit together." So one day I decided to face the fear and speak about it and address it. It was like a weight was removed from my chest and shoulders. I felt so light and free of the shame of those emotions and thoughts. Not only did it help me to change my perspective but it also allowed me to be a better man to myself, my wife, my kids, and my friends and family. I realize that we are all out here hurting. I could then see in other people the things they build to hide that shame and guilt.
We see that when we allow our mind and bodies to process the action/feeling of being vulnerable. We will produce hormones that stimulate parts of our brain and body function that stimulate growth. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We learn and adapt or evolve.
Let us recap. When we step out or up to be courageous it makes us feel good and impacts our mental and emotional growth. When we show vulnerability it stimulates our empathy and emotional intelligence/brain capacity. So its a win, win.
That's all it takes is a choice. start with being courageous for yourself and vulnerable with your inner thoughts. Then practice with your community by trusting your gut with who and what you can be vulnerable about. It is not always talking. It could be listening or an action that is taken. The take away is to gauge how you feel after you take such a step.
Thanks for spending part of your day with us,