On vulnerability

So, I recently had a conversation with a dear friend that left me in thought.
In his words,  friendship requires vulnerability.

Before this moment, I had subconsciously associated vulnerability with my 9-5. At work, our HSE mandate is  around resolving dilemmas, showing care, and vulnerability. People are often encouraged to be comfortable enough to be vulnerable. To admit you don’t know enough, that you need help or that you’ve made a mistake.

But the world teaches us otherwise. We are told to brave things, be resilient and not allow the world to see our weakness. And so, we live conflicting lives. We want to be described as independent, boss lady, alpha male, and all that.  We feel an overwhelming desire to show our best face and muster smiles yet, deep within, all may not be well

Don’t get me wrong, we could still be all that and still allow room for vulnerability. Like they’re not mutually exclusive or rather, they shouldn’t be.

exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.

Back to my discussion, friendship means able to let down your guard (at least a little) to connect with people. And because you are not in control of how people will treat you, there’s the possibility of getting hurt but there is also the possibility of having lifelong friends.

Friendship is about sharing life’s journey with those you care about; the highs, the lows, and everything in between. It could also mean being open to saying, help me, I’m struggling.

I’ve been blessed with the gift of amazing friends with whom I’ve shared my life journey. It hasn’t always been all rosy. There were times I made them angry and vice versa. And through it all, some have remained while for others, our chapter has closed. I don’t regret the times I shared with the friends I no longer communicate with. I cherish our memories and let them remain memories.

I guess the point of my “TED talk”  is to preach the gospel of vulnerability. Vulnerability doesn’t mean you’re weak but rather it shows you’re human.

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu from Pexels

  • Chinazam
    Posted at 00:04h, 08 July Reply

    ‘Vulnerability doesn’t mean you are weak, it shows you are human’. Re-echo!

    Sometimes I beat myself when I get hurt by people I trusted so much and let down my guards for. But I am learning to be kind to myself and know that I choose to be vulnerable because that’s part of what add values to friendship.

    So yea, the gospel of vulnerability doesn’t mean you are not strong enough. Well written!

  • Ruth
    Posted at 01:57h, 08 July Reply

    It was the last line for me. The question is usually, ‘what if I get hurt?’ but it could also be, ‘what if I get helped’?.

    Thanks for this beautiful summary of the need for vulnerability Chizzy. Truly we are all human and need each other.

    • Chizzy Nwokoye
      Posted at 07:00h, 08 July Reply

      Indeed. What if I get helped?
      I think the human brain tends to possible negative outcomes than positive ones.

      Thanks for stopping by Ruth

  • Chukwukadibia
    Posted at 05:37h, 08 July Reply

    It helps in building a good foundation for friendship. It creates the pathway to make personal transfers in relationships.

    As a personal development teacher/coach, I know the power of vulnerability. I give personal examples of how a weakness dealt with me and the understanding I had that made me develop strength for overcoming the weakness. If you present only positive stories, most people won’t connect with you. They will perceive you as someone covering something. But when you present a balanced view of things – positive and negative – people will connect personally with you.

    I wrote down in my diary something I have noticed in life, relationships, team work, and leadership: “coverups.” Most people coverup themselves with positive attributes. While people come to them because of the positive attributes, with time those people will just leave or they stay with you but there wouldn’t be a connection. Naturally, no one connects long term to people wearing mask. They must discover what the mask is covering. It’s better to be vulnerable than letting people find out themselves after you have shown so much “perfect you.”

    This is a very wonderful theme in personal development, relationships, team work, and leadership. Nice work Chiezugolum.

    • Chizzy Nwokoye
      Posted at 07:04h, 08 July Reply

      Wooooooooooow Chukwukadibia!

      This should be a blog post in itself. I have gained more insight on the topic by reading your comments.

      It made me do a quick self-examination to discover where and how I’ve been wearing a mask.

      Thank you for your contribution.

  • Nonye
    Posted at 08:16h, 08 July Reply

    Yes, as scary as it is, vulnerability can indeed help build stronger relationships.

    Part of why we refuse to be vulnerable and put up brave fronts is also the fear of being “judged”. Will I be accepted if I let someone know I felt a particular emotion, be it good or bad or will they think me a weakling, ungodly or evil.

    The best relationships remain the ones where both parties are vulnerable with each other. That’s how they can help themselves to grow and be better/stronger.

    • Chizzy Nwokoye
      Posted at 15:42h, 14 July Reply

      Thank you Nonye.
      Like you rightly said, it’s always beautiful if both parties can be vulnerable with each other.

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