To what may be a surprise to some, throughout my entire life a big fear of mine has always been addressing that girl I have feelings for.
Now maybe some of you agree. Maybe some of you think that is cliché, and still others think it is a dumb thing to be fearful of. And well, you might be right. But think about it— there are so many things that have to match up and time up perfectly when it comes to relationships that there is certainly a chance of blowing it completely if you’re just one step ahead or dragging a step behind.
Yet when it comes down to it, the cause of my fear can be summed up by one simple word, an adjective that many people have a hard time understanding: vulnerability.
I recently saw a video that featured Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, discussing vulnerability. In her talk, which I would recommend everyone should watch, she discussed a study she had done on people over the course of six years that allowed her to compare the characteristics of people in terms of how vulnerable they were. She found that those who were most happy were able to fully embrace vulnerability and that these same people believed whole-heartedly that what made them vulnerable as a person made them beautiful as well. But even more importantly they knew that being vulnerable was necessary.
Immediately for me, a light bulb turned on.
The only reason that fear even exists for me is because I have never allowed myself to be nearly as vulnerable as I should. I have never fully embraced the challenge of making it work out or the risk of it not. I’ve always just done what was comfortable and easy. I used to numb vulnerability, like most of us do, and sit back and hoped for the best. But see, relationships (and life in general) don’t work like that. Vulnerability is necessary.
No one should ever be afraid to put himself or herself in a situation where they might fail or have to step out of the comfort zone.
Break down those barriers that say not to express yourself and to just follow the status quo, and rather, be yourself and let the world see who that is.
Being vulnerable certainly isn’t easy. I mean, it’s taken me until now to fully embrace and understand what it means and how to allow myself to do it, but I am. I’ve come to grips with the fact that I need to be vulnerable to be willing to achieve anything, and especially to be able to really express who I am as a person, particularly to those I am closest with.
By putting yourself out there on the line, and being proud of who you are, any worries you have, big or small, just simply won’t matter. Win or lose, acception or rejection, failure or success, you can look at yourself and know you were vulnerable; you gave it a shot; you were yourself, and you still are. On top of that, you can probably learn something about yourself in the process.
The bottom line once again, is that vulnerability is necessary. The sooner you understand that it’s okay to be vulnerable and lay it all on the line, the more you can interact and understand other people and their beliefs as well as yourself and yours. You’ll be willing to go for something even if there are no guarantees. You’ll be more willing to take a leap of faith. And you’ll be more confident in yourself.
So now … do it! Here’s your chance to be vulnerable.
And for me, well, the way I see it as a senior in college, there is no better time for me to conquer my fears.