I am a writer who blogs about being a highly sensitive person. I sit in my writing chair with my Mac and various beverages strewn about me, and write. It is very cathartic. I write about my emotions, feelings, thoughts, struggles, eccentricities, questionable habits, phobias, and anxieties. It feels so good to get them out. I finish my pieces and edit them for publication. I get ready to release them to the world. Then, as easily as they come, those cathartic feelings soon dwindle to just traces that quickly get absorbed by vulnerability.
What a word, Vulnerability. It doesn’t look nice. It doesn’t sound nice. It sure doesn’t feel nice. However unappealing the word is, vulnerability and I have been getting a lot closer lately. It’s not something I set out to do, like a New Year’s resolution:
- Make wise food choices.
- Unplug as a family and spend more quality time together.
- Feel vulnerable, exposed, and uncomfortable every day.
I can’t help it, this feeling. It’s an icky, lingering emotion sitting right under the surface all the time. I think I know why.
I have been working on my craft lately, studying the art of writing and what skills make up a great writer. There is a lot of really valuable information out there. Many experts and influencers share their different theories and thoughts about what it takes to create content that resonates with readers. I have researched the topic long enough now to see a common thread running through all their advice. The ability to be vulnerable is what sets you apart.
Vulnerable is the only way we can feel when we truly share the art we’ve made. When we share it, when we connect, we have shifted all the power and made ourselves naked in front of the person we’ve given the gift of our art to. ~ Seth Godin
Vulnerability is what makes you believable. It’s what builds trust between you and someone else. When writer lay everything out on the table, exposing the deepest parts of themselves, the reader begins to feel a sense of honesty and authenticity. Readers start to trust that you are telling your truth. But feeling vulnerable feels uncomfortable, raw and exposed.
Vulnerability pulls me way out of my comfort zone, and into a place of fear. It’s one thing to write for myself. But when I send all of my weaknesses, struggles, and confessions out into the world, I am letting strangers see the deepest parts of me. It feels like rejection waiting to happen.
Reader 1: “Wow, this one is a real nut job.”
Reader 2: “There is no way I would put this stuff out there, and neither should she.”
Reader 3: “Uh, no thanks. I would rather read about plumbing.”
It comes down to this. Writers don’t write to be read. They write because they have a message. And as uncomfortable as vulnerability is, it’s worth it in the end. As long as I am allowing vulnerability to flow through my creative process, I will always be able to connect with my audience. Though my fears of rejection are real, I know that the stories I make up in my head about how others will receive me are not real.
Being vulnerable is appealing to others. Think about it. When someone has opened up to you about something very personal, you probably didn’t tell him or her to stop talking and walk away. It most likely made you feel closer to the other person. Maybe you felt some empathy, or maybe it compelled you to open up and share something about yourself. You see, vulnerability encourages connection. It feels inclusive. It makes other people feel like they can relate to you. It exposes messy truths that everyone likes, because everyone has messy truths. It makes us feel normal.
The magic is the mess. ~ Brene Brown
As a writer, being vulnerable is beneficial to me. It allows me to build a trusting and authentic relationship with my audience. But are there any other times when being vulnerable is beneficial? If you are Brene Brown, the answer would be always.
Brene Brown is a leading researcher and influencer on the subject of vulnerability. She is most known for her popular TED talks series. Brown encourages us to embrace our authentic selves. She believes owning who we really are, and letting go of who we think we should be, is the only way to be truly happy. Brown wrote the book ‘Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead.’ Her massive success is an indication that we are ready to start changing the way we perceive the world, and ourselves.
Whether you are Seth Godin, Brene Brown, a writer, a CEO, a plumber or a monk, it doesn’t matter. Vulnerability will make you successful. It opens the door to a myriad of opportunities to connect. To grow. To evolve. To conquer. It invites success in love, compassion, fortune, happiness, and freedom. Even more, it invites you to just be you.
How good does that feel?
Vintage typewriter photo available from Shutterstock