While many speak about vulnerability from a philosophical standpoint, practicing vulnerability is more challenging for most of us. Vulnerability requires courage, repetition, and the ability to manage one’s own discomfort as well as that of others who are impacted by our vulnerability. That being said, the result of living a vulnerable lifestyle is deep alignment with others, magnetism that drives new opportunities, and strength of character that can influence the entire ecosystem around your life and work. Like other new practices, I recommend that you begin practicing vulnerability weekly until it becomes a daily habit, and then a lifestyle.
1. Find a Safe Space
A safe space refers to someone you trust who can hear the real you and reserve judgment.
2. Set the Stage
Let this person know you are asking them to reserve judgment and listen without interrupting you. Give them a chance to negotiate a time and place where they can be present with you.
3. Build Your Confidence
Once you’ve practiced vulnerability with an individual who feels safe to you, next find someone you consider slightly less safe and lean into the same process.
4. Create a Regimen
Vulnerability is like a muscle that needs strengthening. As soon as you are comfortable lifting a certain weight, push yourself toward more repetitions (greater frequency of sharing), or more resistance (courageous sharing with people who feel less safe).
5. Honor Your Growth
As you are rewarded for your vulnerability, your desire to reach for deeper vulnerability will naturally increase. Track your progress by noting when vulnerability shows up in your interactions and pay attention to the resulting rewards and consequences of your courage. Because the results are often profound, you also might notice that vulnerability is contagious; your willingness to share yourself will make you a safe space for others to do the same. Honor their desire to grow with you.
6. Reserve Judgment
Be aware that people will start seeing you differently. Some are going to become raving fans of the new you. Some will push back because how you’re showing up will be unsettling for them. Try your best to reserve judgment for those who are reacting to the change in you.
7. Close with Dignity
Allowing others to see the real you will force them to check their alignment with how you are evolving. Natural endings will occur for those who are not comfortable with the authentic you that is emerging. Meeting those people with understanding and love will lead to healthy closure of relationships, ensuring continued admiration and respect on both sides.
8. Open Your Eyes
As those who are not in alignment distance themselves from you, those who are in alignment will be hungry for your time and energy. Remain open to new opportunities and see where they lead.
9. Take Care of Yourself
Vulnerability leads to transformation. Living more vulnerably means renegotiating your identity in the world. Eat well. Sleep well. Exercise. Rely on those who support the new you and lean on them as needed.
A vulnerable lifestyle demands awesome courage. Celebrate that you’re one of the rare individuals who has decided to enter the arena.