Upon reading the title of this, you may have thought, the beauty of vulnerability!? How is weakness beautiful?
But at its heart, vulnerability is not weakness. It’s a willingness to find peace, calm, and openness in the most volatile of situations.
So how has it come to be viewed as weakness?
The Vulnerability Conundrum
In her book, Daring Greatly, Dr. Brené Brown debunks some myths about vulnerability. The biggest myth being that vulnerability is synonymous with weakness. It’s actually quite the opposite.
Allowing yourself to be vulnerable requires incredible courage. For instance, think back to a huge life event that required you to be emotionally exposed. Maybe it was making the decision to have a beloved pet put down. Perhaps something less sad. Whatever the case, you were required to muster the courage to experience such raw vulnerability.
And it’s not just in the major life events. We experience vulnerability when we go to an unfamiliar place or try something new like a yoga class. Even asking a friend for forgiveness or sharing your feelings with another requires courage to face the uncertainty and risk of vulnerability.
The unstable sense that comes from vulnerability is often enough to make us want to avoid it. But when we push it away, it only reinforces the feeling. It gives it power.
By contrast, when we open up to vulnerability, we also open ourselves up to opportunities to experience great joy, empathy, belonging, and creativity. That’s a great trade-off.
The Yoga and Vulnerability Connection
We mentioned trying something new such as a yoga class above. Trying anything new can expose you to your vulnerability. But yoga is uniquely qualified to do so. That’s because it encourages you to go to those deep and untapped places. It asks you to be vulnerable and then to be with it.
The goal of yoga is not to absolve us of all of our sorrows and stress. Sure, a regular practice can lessen stress and depression. But at the end of the day, it actually brings you into a deeper connection with them. By going deep into the connective tissues and fascia, we release issues we hold in our tissues. It’s not unusual for practitioners to experience an emotional release and start crying in, say, pigeon pose.
Talk about vulnerability! But it’s also hugely cathartic.
Pushing Against Vulnerability
Moving the barriers you’ve put up to avoid feeling vulnerable gives you a direct inroad to the intimacy, creativity, and love that’s tied to it. Yoga allows for this to happen.
Many of us have mastered hiding our vulnerability behind a shield of work ethic, talent, or sheer competence. Maybe you express more anger than is necessary. Or perhaps you’re “too cool for school.” These are all avoidance tactics.
Unfortunately, when we keep employing these avoidance tactics to push against vulnerability, it can harden our resolve, strengthen our egos, and stunt our growth. It could even invite the very situations you’re working to avoid. For example, if you have a fear of abandonment, you may start behaving in ways that push everyone else away from you first.
And if you believe that vulnerability is someone else’s game and that you’re immune to it, think again. No amount of donating to causes that support those who are “truly” vulnerable – the sick, homeless, interned, addicted, etc. – will spare you from experiencing your own vulnerability.
Though it may not sound like it, this is actually a good thing.
The Beauty of Vulnerability
If it’s not yet clear, allowing for vulnerability also opens the door to the deepest forms of healing. And this is what makes it so beautiful. So even if you choose to keep avoiding vulnerability, it will eventually find you.
We don’t say this to be fear mongers. The reality is, most of us experience some form of disillusionment that shakes our foundation. It could be a major accident, an illness, or… a pandemic. Right?
Consider how the most recent pandemic would have turned out if we’d all opted for paralyzing fear and grief. Instead, to thrive amidst a sudden and life-changing challenge, we had to use disillusionment as a tool to move forward. In not closing ourselves to the extreme vulnerability we experienced, we had access to generosity, gratitude, compassion, and OPENNESS.
When we connect with our vulnerability, we are truly alive. We recognize the mystery of life in all its beauty, as well as in its inevitable tragedy.
And from that, we continue to grow.
Facing Vulnerability Takes Courage
If you’re interested in experiencing the beauty of vulnerability through yoga, contact us today.
By facing vulnerability in the safe space of yoga, you’ll learn effective strategies to let go of perfectionistic thinking, worry less about what others think, and simply breathe and be in the moment.
And we can bring the practice right to your place of work to make things that much easier. We look forward to hearing from you.