What It Means to Be Vulnerable

No matter whom you talk to, one of our greatest fears in life has always been failure. For years, we’ve heard inspirational words of wisdom about what is and what isn’t considered failure. But throughout the years and from a personal aspect, it has always seemed to be a formative experience. Because truth be told, we will all fail at one point or another in our life and it might be one of the scariest things we’ve ever experienced.

Like the icing on a cake, failing gives success great substance and significance—makings that help us to understand our identity and ability. While many might attribute such a feat to being courageous and having a brave heart, there’s also another aspect that many overlook partially because it can be painful.

Scholar, public speaker, and author of Rising Strong, Brené Brown believes being vulnerable can make our life so much better. In an interview with Forbes, Brown says that vulnerability is an emotional exposure stemmed in uncertainty and risk. Being vulnerable and sharing that deepest part of you with the world or another person can be excruciating. In so many ways, it seems like it can set you up to fail when you open up that part of yourself.

In Brown’s book, the physics of vulnerability are simple. If we are brave enough often enough, we will fall but it is in how we get up that gives us the strength to understand ourselves. Brown goes on to share through essays and nuggets of wisdom that whatever disappointment, failure, or heartbreak we experience, there is a power in each of these elements that sets a clear path to deeper meaning, perception and hope.

Earlier this year, I received a letter from someone I love, but who broke my heart. Over and over. While I wasn’t sure at first of their identity while reading the letter, it was soon after I realized it was him and what this letter really meant.

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