Many of us are raised in families where vulnerability equals weakness. “Suck it up” we are told, “deal with it”. But in learning this lesson, we are deprived of the full experience that comes with leaning into uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. Social scientist and research professor, Brene Brown, has taught us that there is power in being vulnerable, where showing our true selves is actually a gift.
Nowhere is vulnerability more powerful than in conflict. Yes, vulnerability in conflict is a paradox. It’s the last thing we want to be when we are in conflict and want to appear strong and invulnerable. It is much easier to blame or attack the other person rather than express our feelings and needs. Yet, being vulnerable is precisely how we show our strength and leadership. Being genuine and authentic creates shifts in conflict, giving others the space to drop their defenses. It is the first step to building trust and genuine collaboration. It makes us relatable. Being vulnerable means honesty, clarity and truth.
“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they are never weakness”. - Brene Brown