Vulnerability not only allows us to make connections, it is an essential building block for strong and enduring relationships.
To be vulnerable in front of someone is to expose ourselves. Vulnerability is what allows us to be truly seen for who we are and make honest connections with others. If we deny our vulnerability, we deny allowing ourselves to make these connections; it is the glue that holds close relationships together.
Admit it or not, the source of this disconnection is fear. When we take the safe option and numb ourselves to being vulnerable, we numb ourselves to feeling joy, happiness, to connecting with others and the world around us and to experiencing new opportunities.
So, how can we learn to be vulnerable? We can learn vulnerability by practicing gratitude, understanding, and appreciation for others and ourselves. Think of your vulnerability as a gift to others. Give more by creating the space for others to be vulnerable with you. Let go of who you think you should be and have the courage to be compassionate to yourself and others. Vulnerability allows us to explore our world together. It is the birthplace of innovation and creativity. To put something that is a part of you out there for others to see, takes courage. As a creative writer, I need to embrace vulnerability and allow myself and my work to be seen. It is worth it. To have someone connect with my work is to, in a way, connect with myself. I have stopped viewing vulnerability as a weakness and embraced it to make it one of my strengths. I am able to put myself and my work out there; ready to trust and make a connection with someone.
As humans, we need connections in our lives. Vulnerability not only allows us to make connections, it is an essential building block for strong and enduring relationships. This may come naturally in friendships and family relationships; the people that are there for us through thick and thin, who have seen us at our best and at our worst. These are the relationships that we often look back on as the most meaningful, the most fulfilling.
Rather than competing with one another, hiding mistakes, allowing cold conflicts to escalate, perhaps we could build trust. We could be open with one another, encourage each other, ask for help when we need it, take creative risks and support one another when we fall. Most of all, we could enjoy friendship. Imagine if you had the type of friendships at work that you have outside of work, think of the fun you could have, relaxing, knowing that your colleagues have your back. This is the environment you can create by lowering your guard, showing your true self to those around you and creating space for them to do the same.
Stop and think of a moment; can you recall a time someone showed you that they were vulnerable? When did someone let their guard down and let you truly see them? It makes us feel special and accepted, when another person trusts us enough to really show themselves to us. But when was the last time you let your own guard down? When did you last let someone truly see you? When was the last time you said, “I just don’t know the answer,” or “I need help”? Vulnerability is not a weakness; it is the strongest tool we have to build connections with others. Lean into it. It is a frightening, but truly amazing experience that only makes us, and those around us, stronger.
If you're interested in embracing vulnerability to build trust in your workplace, have a look at some of our trust building games .