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Vulnerability Means Embracing Courage and Authenticity

Updated: Mar 27

The other day, I heard someone say, “I appreciate your vulnerability,” when the person was sharing a particular personal challenge they were going through. It was said with the best of intentions and in a supportive and caring way. And it was well received. The person clearly had an emotionally intelligent and aware friend to connect with.

Thought Provocateur Social Media Series post about how being vulnerable means embracing courage and authenticity
Thought Provocateur Social Media Series

Why have I been thinking about it all day? Because, as I heard someone say recently…. “it bugs.”

Here’s the definition of vulnerability from Psych Central.

“Vulnerability could be defined as a willingness to take a risk to show emotions and provide honest expression despite fears.”

So, that is the common definition of what it means to be vulnerable.

Vulnerability means Embracing Courage and Authenticity

As a society, we have framed sharing feelings and personal challenges as “taking a risk.” Doing so is better described as being authentic.  Even courageously authentic. To be vulnerable means embracing courage AND authenticity.

Why?  Even if unshared, everyone has challenges, struggles, etc. Each of those challenges is laden with emotions: fears, regrets, insecurities, shame, embarrassment, etc.

While sharing of those - real - experiences is often framed as being “vulnerable,” I would argue that the act of doing so is better described as Real. True. Honest. Transparent.  It's an act of authenticity. Having challenges is not a flaw or a personal defect. They are features, rather than bugs, of the human condition. 

As Brene Brown says, allowing yourself to be truly seen is an act of amazing courage. It’s a sign of true strength. 

So, I propose that “being vulnerable” is better said as being “courageously authentic.”

Thought Provocateur Social Media Series

The inspiration for the Thought Provocateur Social Media Series is that I love it when I encounter questions or bits of wisdom that stop me in my tracks. These insights stay in your head for more than five minutes and may come back later to revisit you. It’s when the signal outweighs the noise. You tend to remember them because they touch something deep inside of us.

About The Nexus Initiative

The Nexus Initiative is a boutique executive coaching firm whose mission is to develop emotionally intelligent and mentally agile leaders and teams. My approach leverages real-world operating experience, multi-disciplinary thinking, industry-leading certifications, and a Wharton MBA.

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