I shared a survey with my friends recently, asking:
- For me, vulnerability is…
- Vulnerability feels like…
- I feel vulnerable when…
I got 13 responses, primarily female, ages 24-65. A small pool, and not at all representative of a larger population, except perhaps the one I surround myself with.
“For me, vulnerability is…”
- Loss of control of my feelings
- Sharing personal details, making stronger bonds
- Putting yourself out there without knowing how they’ll react to it
- Brutal honesty
- Being open with people. I’m usually closed off and reserved unless I really know someone.
- Being open to the chance of being hurt
- A sense of feeling hopeless (when the ego takes over)
- a state of mind in which you feel exposed
- being subject to outside influences and opinions, negative or positive
“Vulnerability feels like…”
- I’m crazy
- Loss of control. Drowning well no one help.
- Connecting with someone deeply
- Open to judgement
- Depending on the situation like you are helpless and it is scary.
- No control
- Scary. Makes me anxious.
- Being exposed
- Insecure, hopeless
- Scary yet somehow liberating, knowing that everything is “out.”
- Being uncomfortable in your own skin. Like who you are might not be good enough. A call to change. Change is usually uncomfortable whether good or bad.
“I feel vulnerable when…”
- I’m not in control
- I hurt.
- Tell them things about myself I typically don’t share with just anyone
- I let people look or listen to stuff I have created.
- I am truly honest with how I feel
- My health was bad and I had to rely on other people for things I normally did. Also, when I meet new people or I am in a situation I haven’t experienced before.
- Sharing personal aspirations and failures/losses
- I’m around people I don’t know
- In crowded places. With a lot of people around. Any public speaking. Expressing my feelings/needs/wants, even with those I’m closest too, including my husband and family members.
- I’m honest about uncomfortable feelings
- I’m uncomfortable with myself or when i put myself out there and get rejected. When my feelings get hurt.
- I make mistakes or face criticism.
- I am in situations where I feel everyone around me knows more than me whether work or social. When the way I look or think doesn’t match other people’s appearance or opinions. When I am asked to change.
You can see the common threads throughout the responses. I would summarize it as:
- For me, vulnerability is the scary feeling of being open, letting go of control, and being truly seen.
- Vulnerability feels like an uncomfortable, uncertain place where I am open to connection or rejection.
- I feel vulnerable when I am out of my comfort zone or when I share an important part of myself.
I’ll leave you with this (from Brené Brown of course!):