The Courage of Vulnerability

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by Coach Fatimah

Vulnerability is defined as the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. As I read the definition of “vulnerability” I suddenly was submerged in my own past moments where I met vulnerability at the fork in my own emotional road. A few words in the definition spoke to me. The word “attacked” or “exposed” in my own personal life I have given this word great power over me in the past. I saw being vulnerable as a sign of being weak. Maybe my upbringing had something to do with it. Being raised by two of the strongest personalities I had even met, my grandmother and grandfather influenced my thinking.  I have vivid memories of them hiding their emotions, with the exception of being angry. I never saw them connect with anything other than anger or frustration although happiness was sprinkled among the two from time to time. Moments of triumph lashed with moments of regret were all manufactured cautiously throughout their 38 years of marriage. 

 I had to be honest with my self and ask some really hard questions such as , “ Is this what marriage is supposed to look like? Are they the best examples for me to model my marriage after? And finally,  “Why is the word vulnerable supposed to be looked as wrong or weak?”  I didn’t understand why I felt as though vulnerability was a beautiful word, a word that could be something that signifies empowerment, not a word that should cause so much negative emotion. As I moved along in life, becoming a wife then a first time mother soon after, I began to question the negative connotation of the word vulnerable. As I began to discover more about who I was a woman, I began to construct brave declarations like  “It’s ok for me to be vulnerable with my loved ones because if they truly love me they will never use my vulnerability against me!”  Just because I was raised with a dysfunctional representation of vulnerability didn’t mean that I had to accept that model for my life. I gave myself permission to redefine what vulnerability meant to my personal life. 

Redesigning the feeling of being vulnerable was a goal I wanted to master. I set a new standard for the desired results of vulnerability being seen as weak. The results I wanted were clearly set on being brave and courageously moving forward. I wanted to open up to my loved ones so I set my emotional meter to “brave.” 

Extending my hand to others is not something I usually did easily, but upon recognizing that courage was packaged in vulnerability, I was willing to dig deeper. The strength to show more emotion gave me a sense of certainty that I never knew was in me. Unearthing your emotions and understanding that vulnerability can be an “act of courage” because you’re merging your authentic self with parts of you that you have hidden from others, is vital to personal growth. 

Perform a self-evaluation and ask yourself if “ I am I being my brave self or am I hiding behind a mask that is no longer serving me?”  Permission to open up and be that strong vulnerable “you” is granted by none other than you. Self renewal will shine a beautiful light on parts of your heart that may be emotionally fractured. Then you can begin to heal that which has temporarily defeated you. 

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” -Brene Brown

Watch our recent YouTube Livestream discussing Vulnerability and LOVE in Polygyny

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