Benefits of Vulnerability
Watch it here! https://youtu.be/Ebqwb-uSj7w
Welcome back to our series on Vulnerability.
Last time we talked about Why and today we continue that with part 2, discussing the benefits of being vulnerable. I’m sure there are plenty more benefits to being vulnerable than I am going to talk about, these are just some of the benefits I’ve experienced.
The first benefit I want to talk about is deeper, more meaningful relationships. One of the things I’ve found as I’ve started opening up to people is that those relationships mean more to me. I may not have let my walls down completely, but I can honestly say that by letting them see the real me a bit more and not have them reject me has been a big win. I’m more comfortable being my real self, authentic, not wearing a mask where I don’t have to. Each time we do this it reinforces the bond, makes that connection stronger, builds our confidence, and draws us deeper together.
Another thing I’ve found beneficial is the emotional release. If you’re anything like me, talking about the things most personal to you can be terrifying. What I’ve noticed though is that when I do have conversations with people about the things that are stressing me out, or that are burdening me internally is that it lightens the load. When I’ve been stressed at work and talked about it with those I needed to, they were also able to put plans in place that helped reduce that stress. Still, just talking about what is going on can be beneficial because you understand you’re no longer walking that road alone – someone is there to help carry that burden and to support you.
As I’ve walked down this path, I’ve found that I’m not alone. The more I’ve opened up, the more others have opened up with me. The opposite is true too. Sometimes it’s taken others being willing to be vulnerable with me before I was willing to open up to them. I have a group of guys I do life with – amazing men who are willing to be vulnerable with each other and do life together. I’ve watched this group transformed by our willingness to be vulnerable, to stop and understand someone when they talk about what’s going on in their life. Some of the guys in the group I’ve been friends with for over 20 years and I’ve learnt so much more about them and seen those relationships deepen so much since we went down this path. By being vulnerable with others I’ve found a place that I can belong and make a difference.
When I first started on this journey of self-discovery, I had no idea what was wrong with me. I started talking with professionals and when I learnt that they not only knew what was wrong with me but had techniques that could assist with it I was amazed. But more than that a load was lifted off my shoulders because I knew I wasn’t alone any more. Knowing these things, finding places to belong, having deeper relationships and having that emotional release don’t solve our problems completely. Heck, I still struggle with it all on a daily basis, but it goes a long way to helping.
As an example, over the last few weeks, I’ve really been struggling mentally and emotionally. The turmoil inside has been intense, and I’ve certainly found that some of that chaos has been affecting my family. Early on, my family used to refer to it as, ‘walking on egg shells around me’. It caused quite a bit of tension between my wife and I. The last while as things have been going backwards for me, we’ve been able to talk about it and, instead of it causing division between us, it’s been bringing us closer together because she understands me more than she did back at the start.
I guess this is the last point I want to make. As we open up with people, it becomes easier for them to accept us and us to accept them because we understand each other better. When we know why the kid with a grumpy attitude at school is acting that way, it’s easier to look past the behaviour and to the person behind it who needs help. When we can do that and start accepting people as they are then we go a long way to building stronger more vibrant communities where people feel like they are accepted and can belong.