7 Ways to Integrate Deeper Vulnerability into Your Life
All images are by Hannah Black Photography
Vulnerability is an amazing, life-changing thing.
It has the power to propel you out of your comfort zone and guide you into a stronger, more transparent version of yourself. But it’s also scary, nerve-wracking, and can be really, really hard to do on a regular basis. That’s why a lot of us have large, life-changing moments of vulnerability. We build up the courage, take the leap, and then settle back into our comfort zones for a while. But you know what that means? It means that we miss out on the opportunity to be vulnerable in our everyday lives. The moments where we introduce vulnerability into our routines - those are the moments that end up making the most impact. Those small everyday moments are the ones that help us realize that vulnerability doesn’t have to be hard. It’s how you turn happenstance vulnerability into a habit!
So if you’re ready to start taking small, tiny leaps into vulnerability, here’s 7 easy ways to add vulnerability into your everyday life!
1) Practice saying “I am” instead of “I am not.”
One of the most vulnerable things we can do is embrace who we are. As women, we are often told what we aren’t. “You aren’t skinny enough so buy this gym membership, you aren’t hairless enough so try laser hair removal.” But simply uttering the phrase “I am _____” allows you to settle into the greatness that is your innate self. So, rather than responding with all the things you can’t do or the things that you aren’t, try inserting a few “I am’s” into the mix!
2) Be honest about those sick days.
I’ve carried mental health issues in my life’s baggage for years, and my social anxiety causes me to bail out of situations a lot. As an adult, sometimes that showcases itself by not wanting to go into work or cancelling plans with friends. I used to “call in sick” to a lot of things in my life, faking a headache or an upset stomach. An easy way to be vulnerable is to be honest about those moments. Once I started telling my friends that I was just too anxious to go to a concert or a bar, it helped them 1) tweak some of our plans to make it better suited for my mental health, and 2) understand me a little bit more.
3) Share your struggles by using “I feel” statements.
One of my favorite ways to connect with other people is by sharing our feelings. Feelings are one of the most universal things out there, even more so than language. You could be in a room full of people from all different races, countries, and walks of life, but if you say that you feel happy, sad, lonely, or angry, I guarantee you that everyone in the room can relate. Sharing our entire life story with someone is a huge cannonball into vulnerability. Try dipping a small toe into the pool first by saying “I feel _______”. That opens up the floor to someone being able to respond with “I understand”, which is an incredibly powerful way to feel heard. Sharing your feelings helps build an immediate connection with other people.
4) Answer “how are you?” honestly.
While we’re on the subject of feelings, let’s talk about how very few of us answer the question “how are you?” honestly. If you’re like me, my responses cycle between “fine, thanks” and “I’m ok.” Now, spilling your guts to a polite stranger probably isn’t the best course of action. But confiding in a friend or coworker by expressing that you’re stressed because you’ve got a lot on your plate, or that you’re really excited about a new project in your business are great ways to add small vulnerability moments into your day.
And don’t forget - vulnerability doesn’t always have to be sharing something negative or tender. It can simply be inviting someone to witness a moment in your life, good or bad, alongside you.
5) Say “yes, yes I am!”
Negativity is one of the things that holds us back from being our truest selves. Negativity feeds fear, and fear stifles the vulnerability needed to embrace what makes us, us. My negative mind constantly tells me things that I am. Like “I am an anxious mess” or “I am overweight.” Sometimes fighting the “I am” statement with an “I am not” statement doesn’t do us any good. So instead, try affirming the statement. If it’s true, take ownership of it. Remove the negativity and simply accept it as fact.
So “yes, yes I am an anxious mess sometimes, and I’m overweight. And I’m also kind, happy, impactful, and free-spirited.”
6) Ask for help.
In a society that essentially screams at us saying that we need to be perfect, it can be really difficult to admit that we aren’t capable of doing everything ourselves. One of the best things we can do for our mental health and to build up our vulnerability tolerance is to ask for help. So, whether it’s asking a significant other to help more around the house, calling a meeting at work to discuss workload and how it can be spread out more evenly, or seeing if a friend can tag along to support you as you run some errands, reach out to someone and ask if they have a helping hand to lend you. Not only will you get a few things off your to-do list, but you’re also get a few things off your heart.
Related: How to Lead a Grace Filled Life
7) Confide in yourself.
They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery. Well admitting your faults, hangups, worries, or struggles to yourself is the first step to vulnerability. We often live in denial about some of the less “desirable” parts of our lives. And admitting our “sweep under the rug” or “cover with an Instagram filter” moments is a great step towards owning them. Whether it’s journaling, meditating, or having an honest conversation with yourself in the mirror as you’re brushing your teeth, don’t underestimate the power of confiding in yourself. Vulnerability can be scary, but taking a moment each day to embrace vulnerability, even just a small moment, can make such a huge difference to your wellbeing.
How do you integrate vulnerability into your life? Let us know below!
Asha is the blogger behind Adventures with Asha, a personal development blog for female entrepreneurs. She's on a mission to help women step into vulnerability, embrace what they find there, and use it to build their confidence and guide their business. When she's not working, she's daydreaming and manifesting her next big idea, petting a dog, or wondering if she should go to Target for the third time this week (the answer is always yes).