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  • Writer's pictureKohei Yoshino

Simple Tips to Become More Vulnerable

VULNERABILITY

Thanks to the great work done by prominent figures such as Brene Brown, Adam Grant, and Simon Sinek, the word vulnerability has been popularized within the context of leadership and personal development in recent years. While there are many definitions and interpretations of vulnerability, I simply see it as an act of courageously sharing who we really are, what we really think, and how we really feel with others. Vulnerability is to say it hurts when it hurts, to admit something’s wrong when you want to pretend it’s okay, to ask what you are afraid of asking, and to be who you really are without wearing a mask to please others. As Brene accentuates, vulnerability requires you to be courageous enough to step into the uncomfortable space. Vulnerability, in turn, helps you to work through emotions and allows you to develop deep connections with others.


MY STORY


Like anything else in life, vulnerability comes more naturally to some people than others. Having grown up in a culture that deemed being emotional and vulnerable as weak, it was certainly never easy for me to fully open up and share vulnerably even with family and close friends. I remember having so much difficulty sharing the emotional pain, depression, and anxiety with others as I did not want to appear weak. I don’t know how many times I said I’m doing okay when I felt unmotivated to do anything and completely stuck in life. To this day, I still think about those moments when I wanted to ask for help but didn’t even know how.


Vulnerability is to say it hurts when it hurts, to admit something’s wrong when you want to pretend it’s okay, and to ask what you are afraid of asking.

Thankfully, I was fortunate enough to come across great resources (e.g., friends, therapy, support group, and meditation) over the years, which allowed me to develop my “muscle” to be vulnerable. Though it certainly has gotten easier to share my true opinions and emotions with others when I don’t have control over the outcome of the situation, I still struggle to be vulnerable. At times I’m still afraid of opening up and being completely honest because of my fear of rejection. My heart still beats fast when I try to communicate something that’s very important to me during conflicts.


MY TAKE ON VULNERABILITY

I believe that the journey to be vulnerable is never linear and is different for each individual. This also means that there is no right level of vulnerability and that simply because some can be more vulnerable than others, they should not be considered better or stronger. What it means to be vulnerable is different for everyone. For some, vulnerability looks like sharing that they are suffering in some way while for others it may seem more intense like breaking down in front of friends or family members. What’s really important is that they are gathering the courage at the moment, stepping into the awkward and scary place, and prioritizing being authentic despite the fear of rejection and potential pain.


What’s really important is that you are gathering the courage at the moment, stepping into the awkward and scary place, and prioritizing being authentic despite the fear of rejection and potential pain.

TIPS

There are no right ways or easy paths to be vulnerable. That said, here are three tips that I can share based on my personal experience:

  1. As you go through your day, pay attention to your thoughts and emotions. Whenever you notice some discomfort, try your best to explore and step into the discomfort. There’s no need for you to succeed at this every time but so long as you keep trying it will get easier to be more vulnerable.

  2. Learn from those who you consider vulnerable by talking to them or observing them. If you don’t even know where to start when it comes to vulnerability, first simply focus on learning as you would when you start doing something new. Just by staying curious and asking questions (to them or to yourself), you are developing your vulnerability muscle.

  3. Always remember to be patient and kind to yourself during your journey. When you catch yourself being hard on yourself as you think you are not as vulnerable as you want to be, please remind yourself that you are putting in the work and the change takes time.

IF YOU WANT SUPPORT


If you want a partner on your journey to be more vulnerable so that you can develop meaningful relationships in your personal or professional life, I am happy to offer you a complimentary call over Zoom to answer any questions you may have. There is no string attached to this offer as you may choose to not work with me (in fact I recommend seeking other resources if you don’t think we are a good fit):

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