By: Zenia Lei Cruz

In Daring Greatly, Dr. Brown  dispels the myths of everything we think we know about vulnerability. Based on twelve years of research, she discusses how to embrace vulnerability in order to live a courageous life. She explained that traits typically regarded as flaws and weaknesses are actually clear paths to engagement and meaningful connections. 

Here’s how she captures the importance of vulnerability:

On building better relationships 

You don’t always have the answers, vulnerability is about asking for help and working things out together. It is acknowledging that we are never meant to do things alone.

“Connection is why we’re here. We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.”

On fitting versus belonging

“One of the biggest surprises in this research was learning that fitting in and belonging are not the same thing. In fact, fitting in is one of the greatest barriers to belonging. Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be in order to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.”

On shame

Shame is a reason why most people aren’t willing to be vulnerable. The key here is that we have to look through our shame and see ourselves for who we really are. We  have to love every part of ourselves: our strengths and weaknesses, even our flaws. We should be able to love ourselves first no matter what, afterall, love is unconditional.

Rather than numbing the feeling of shame, it’s important to feel them and then self-reflect on where they are coming from so we can address the core issue rather than turning to a band-aid fix.

“If we’re going to find our way out of shame and back to each other, vulnerability is the path and courage is the light. To set down those lists of what we’re supposed to be is brave. To love ourselves and support each other in the process of becoming real is perhaps the greatest single act of daring greatly.”

On feedback

Without feedback there can be no transformative change. We need to have the courage to get uncomfortable with criticism. Though Brene, with great caution, reminds us to be careful who we take feedback from – not to accept criticisms and feedback from people who are not being brave with their lives.

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands.”

On loving

At some point, we all experience losing someone. To give someone your heart and say –  I know this could hurt so bad but I’m willing to take the risk-  is being vulnerable. Be someone who dares to love because some rather not know love at all than to know hurt or grief. 

It feels scary, right? It’s crazy how much energy we spend trying to avoid these tough topics when they’re really the ones that can set us free. But, knowing is never a guarantee that you are going to do better. That is the reason why we have to take action if we are to dare greatly. 

“I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. With that definition in mind, let’s think about love. Waking up every day and loving someone who may or may not love us back, whose safety we can’t ensure, who may stay in our lives or may leave without a moment’s notice, who may be loyal to the day they die or betray us tomorrow—that’s vulnerability.”

These are the things that can help us move forward:

Take breaks

While you seek out situations to challenge ourselves, you don’t have to do things that scare you just for the sake of trying something new. Be kind to yourself and check in with how you are really feeling if you are to go out of your comfort zone.

  And if you’re in the mood for a little motivation. We’ve got some articles you might like!

This one to motivate you to get active (like me!)
This one if you are trying to realign your purpose
This one if you fancy journaling

Be Accountable

Facing a challenge is even more difficult when you have to face it on your own. Whenever you’re trying to quit a bad habit, launching a business, or trying to commit to a sustainable lifestyle – surround yourself with people who lift you up.

Having someone in your online community as your accountability partner or trusting one close confidante with your massive plans makes a huge difference in staying on track. Last but not least, do not forget to be your own personal cheerleader. You don’t have to be loud about it to the world. Keeping a running list of small and big wins to remind yourself how far you’ve come is an achievement itself.

Have Courage

Be prepared to fall, and rise back up again.

If you are going to be brave with your life, you have to anticipate failure, heartbreak, rejections even.  It’s a conscious choice you have to make everyday to choose courage over comfort if you want to move forward.

It’s about making a few mistakes, getting hurt, getting lost along the way, yet embracing vulnerability while owning your own story. Whether it is getting fired or firing someone, saying I love you first, saying yes to a big contract you’re afraid to accept but will advance your career, or trying to get pregnant after a miscarriage. Each of us will definitely face roadblocks in life. It is after stumbling but still having the courage to stand up and be seen counts – not the defeat itself.

Believe in yourself and in your dreams, it is not far-fetched. If there’s a big goal you’d like to achieve, a new journey you want to take, or a new thing you’d like to try and you feel like a total newbie. It is all worth it. Have courage and take control. The best we can do is to embrace the inevitable shifts in our life; to know when to ride the tide and when to adjust the sail, and to find the valuable lessons along the way that will keep us steady and afloat through all these changes.

Zenia Lei Cruz
Zenia Lei Cruz
Zenia is a multipotentialite – a certified bookkeeper and registered cost accountant by profession and a creative and growth mindset purveyor by passion. She is independently insightful and creatively sensual. Her feminine side is her strength, a combination of delicate intellect and high class intuitiveness. Her toughness is neither loud nor provoking. She embodies sweet confidence –– truly charismatic with an aura that resonates quality and serenity.

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