My name is Katy and I’m the writer behind Journeyofsmiley blog. Last month I shared my story about going back to the gym after over a year on my Instagram account. It wasn’t easy to share the story, as I felt vulnerable regarding my weakness in front of others. It was bad enough to show my feelings in front of the gym instructor, so you can imagine how hard it was to share them with others on a media platform. However, the response I received was overwhelming. It made me think that perhaps showing raw emotion in front of others is not as bad as we believe. What if our vulnerability isn’t a weakness, but rather a sign of strength? Considering this, I wanted to write this guest blog post for Pastor Natalie on letstakeamoment.com
What if the vulnerability that I felt so ashamed of as I shed tears in front of my gym instructor was just honesty? What if I was only being honest with myself and the gym instructor, trying to help me get to where I once was? Being back at the gym after over a year was overwhelming. Before my accident, I used to come to the gym regularly and could do so much more than I can now. Accepting reality is not always so easy. Even if we acknowledge how far we have had to come and how hard we are trying, it can be often bitter. We may miss our previous life, and we can sometimes grieve it. The mixed feelings can come out as tears. I couldn’t hold them any longer and suddenly burst into tears. The feeling of being overwhelmed took over and made me feel ashamed.
I was so ashamed of myself for showing my emotions. I was appalled. “Surely, I passed this stage already? I’m ok with how things are now,” I was telling myself. And I was so embarrassed. I didn’t expect to show my vulnerability on my first day back at the gym. As I walked home from the gym, I was deeply embedded in my thoughts. Why is it so embarrassing to show our feelings in public? Why are we so scared to let our emotions take over in front of others? How often did we hear as children, that strong girls don’t cry? And it was even worse if you happened to be a boy. Are we telling the same thing to our children too?
But then, what are we trying to teach our children? Do we want them to grow into empathetic human beings or cold superhumans and without feeling robots? I definitely know I am not a superwoman. I shared my weakness with people I didn’t even know. I didn’t only shed a few tears in front of the gym instructor; I also shared the story with others. I made myself doubly vulnerable whilst being honest. But then, isn’t honesty something we should value?
When being honest, we also hope that others won’t judge us. And my gym instructor didn’t do so. Instead, she told me that she understood and that it was ok. She also said that there was no need to apologize for my tears. My vulnerability didn’t mean that I had overshared and offered up every detail to a stranger for their consumption and judgement. Although she knew it, I needed to know it as well. I needed to know that I don’t have to be afraid to embrace who I really am and pretend to be someone I’m not. Even though vulnerability may not be comfortable, it makes us resilient.
Vulnerability doesn’t always feel comfortable. It often makes us feel weak. But that’s only an illusion, our belief. The reality is it enabled me to be myself. It allowed me to be my authentic self. I could have frozen, swallowed the lump in my throat and held back the tears until I’d walked home. But I didn’t. I let myself feel what I was feeling and then picked myself up and finished the exercise. And if this isn’t courage, then what is it then?
Sometimes it takes courage and strength to show how you really feel. So, if you ever catch yourself showing and sharing your vulnerability with others, think of it as a sign of strength. Don’t be afraid to be honest and feel life as it is. In a world where insecurities are often masked, and people tend to hide behind personas which they have created for themselves, being honest can be rare and beautiful. A strong human being can be both beautiful and vulnerable at the same time.
Katy Parker is a wellbeing writer and mental health advocate based in the UK. She has worked hard to overcome her trauma and writes about her experiences to help others in similar situations. She continues to share her journey on her Journeyofsmiley blog
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22 thoughts on “COULD VULNERABILITY ACTUALLY BE OUR STRENGTH?”
Love the honesty in this post. Being vulnerable is so hard to do these days especially if you’re a very sensitive person. I try to remind myself that you can’t leave life and not be open. Not everyone will judge you.
Thank you so much! Indeed, we can’t live life hiding our emotions every time we think they may not be appropriate. Who is there to judge us? I hope that the article will be an encouragement for those who feel weak when showing their raw emotions or struggle to open up. Blessings!
Hope that this helped you to attain strength to move forward . Yes, vulnerabilities can become the strength. It was awkward for me to discuss about my mental health issues with a psychiatrist in front of my cousin. But thankfully she didn’t judge.
Thank you for sharing! Yes, not everyone will judge us and those who will, who are they to judge us? Vulnerability and authenticity are so rare nowadays. But then, rare is often beautiful. Many thanks!
Vulnerability is definitely not always comfortable but it helps us accept ourselves and show up authentically. It also helps us connect with others on a deeper level.
Indeed! Things that are worthy often are hard. Thank you for reading!
Thank you so much for sharing my post on Examine This Moment. I hope that it will help those who are in similar situations and encourage them to show up as they are. Vulnerability is not always comfortable, but whilst authenticity is often rare, it is beautiful. And we can be strong and vulnerable at the same time. Blessings! @journeyofsmiley
There’s certainly nothing wrong with sharing your vulnerable side. I think a lot of people can learn from this, because too many people are scared of sharing their vulnerability even though it might be the best thing for them
Vulnerability shows a strength that is beautiful and smart. No one should be scared to show it!
An amazing post. I believe there is nothing wrong with seeing your vulnerability. We should be showing it more. Thank you for sharing.
Beautiful post! I am such a mental health advocate and I have to admit one of my biggest issues is being vulnerable with others, even with my family. I grew up looking up to my father who kept to himself even if you was going through hell and I vowed to become like him, losing myself in the process. Very nice post, made me feel like it’s ok to be vulnerable, it DOES make you stronger!
i love how honest you are tbh being vulnerable is tough & takes alot of courage. i’m so happy for you
It’s sad that we were taught to be strong and not cry. Crying is a wonderful way to release all the pent-up emotions and should be encouraged. I’m glad your instructor was as caring as she was during this very vulnerable time in your life. Thanks for sharing.
Not everyone has the capacity for vulnerability, so I certainly see it as a sign of strength. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing.
I was raised to believe that showing feelings is a sign of vulnerability. But, now I am learning how to be more vulnerable with others and get out of my comfort zone because I agree, it could actually be our strength.
There is strength in vulnerability. Otherwise, how can we rise after we fall?
Letting strangers see your vulnerability is difficult. However, sometimes that’s when people rally around you the most. I’m sure this article will help so many people.
I absolutely believe that our vulnerability is our strength. It helps others feel connected to you and valid in their own feelings. It can definitely feel uncomfortable at first but after a while, vulnerability becomes as unapologetic as breathing. It’s necessary. Thank you for sharing your story!
I went to the gym for a few months and couldn’t go but started a home gym. Thank you for sharing your story with us!
This is such an open and honest post and that is sharing raw and vulnerable experiences I think is important. Thank you for sharing.
You have nicely said, Vulnerability isn’t always a pleasant experience. It frequently makes us feel helpless. Our belief, however, is really an illusion. The truth is that it allowed me to be myself. It gave me the freedom to be myself. I could have frozen, swallowed the knot in my throat, and kept my emotions at bay until I got home. I, on the other hand, did not. I allowed myself to experience what I was experiencing before getting up and doing the activity. And, if this isn’t bravery, then what is?
I love you honesty in this post lovely, it’s really relatable! Being vulnerable isn’t always a nice experience but it’s something that has actually allowed me to be myself and to be okay with showing my emotions. I try and take strength from my vulnerability and it’s something I’m working on everyday. Thank you for sharing this with us! Really enjoyed reading it Xo
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