Vulnerability a gift!? I know, this might be a hard one to swallow, but let's at least explore the possibility.
First of all, let's talk about what it means to be vulnerable. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as, "being in a situation where one is lacking protection or where one may meet with harm".
Synonyms include; exposed, open, sensitive, susceptible, disarmed, unprotected, weak.
Antonyms include; covered, guarded, protected, screened, sheltered, fortified, armored, strong.
Whether or not we agree with the above definitions, synonym and antonym lists, I think most of us would agree that when we feel vulnerable, it is a rather uncomfortable feeling. And yet, if we want to feel anything at all, if we want to engage with anything or anyone at all, do we not have to allow ourselves to be somewhat open, sensitive, susceptible, exposed, disarmed and unprotected? Do we really feel a sense of satisfaction when we engage with our world and others being covered, guarded, protected, screened, sheltered, fortified and armored?
It is no typo that I left off the words weak and strong in the above. Because from my experience, it is by far the opposite. Being willing to be vulnerable takes GREAT STRENGTH! My favorite definition of courage and bravery is that we are shaking in our boots but walking forward anyway. Allowing vulnerability takes strength, not weakness.
Brenne Brown speaks about vulnerability as the birthplace of love, belonging, joy and empathy and that in fact, one cannot access empathy without vulnerability.
So experiment a little and try this out. Start in places, situations and around people where you feel some sense of safety (we don't have to start with the tallest diving board). Lean into where it's just a little uncomfortable and see what happens next.