When is it good to be vulnerable?

Showing vulnerability - is it worth it?

Vulnerability or Coolness? We'd rather choose coolness. After all, we want to appear self-confident, capable and confident. It is precisely the vulnerability that can be the key to a life with depth. Even more: a life in which we feel connected to others is not possible without vulnerability.

"That they always cry," complained football expert Oliver Kahn recently during the half-time break of the Champions League final. For once, tears of offense did not come from Cristiano Ronaldo. It has always been built so close to the water that it was nicknamed “crybaby” as a child, as his mother once revealed in an interview. Vulnerability is a sensitive issue, and not just in football. We prefer to keep tears of joy or disappointment to ourselves. Because we prefer to be cool and confident and hide our need for help, insecurity or nervousness behind a joke or a flippant saying. It is quite possible that one day we will regret it.

Show feelings - better late than never

In her book, “5 things that the dying regret most”, the Australian palliative nurse Bronnie Ware reports that many of her patients end up regretting similar things despite the most varied of lives. For example, that they would have preferred to work less or indulge in more pleasure. Many of their patients also said:

"I wish I had the courage to express my feelings."


No plea for the poker face. And a confession that shows that it is by no means a sign of weakness when we reveal our vulnerable sides. On the contrary: It takes courage to stand by our vulnerable sides. At a time when perfection is very important, even a lot of courage.

Courage to be vulnerable

Nevertheless, the US author and social scientist Brené Brown has worked tirelessly for years to break a lance for our vulnerable sides, which we - unfortunately! - hide prefer modestly. Because in the course of years of research by Brené Brown, two groups of people emerged. Those who felt loved and connected to other people and those who just didn't.

The people who felt loved and said their life was fulfilled, stated that they did not need to shamefully hide their shortcomings or wear a mask of perfection. you demonstrated courage to be vulnerable with their courage to be imperfect. They not only faced the uncertainties of everyday life without a poker face, but also got involved in life, without a net and a false bottom. [1]Because if we're honest, the injuries lurk everywhere.

  • When flirting or small talk,
  • when we ask for help or forgiveness,
  • when we express our sympathy to a person,
  • as soon as we start something new,
  • or when we introduce a new idea.

Whatever we do, we risk being rejected, embarrassed, or ridiculed because we have no way of knowing how the other person will react.

Safe comfort zone and perfect facade

For fear of injury, we could leave all of this behind. We keep our feelings to ourselves. Do away with unrequited sympathy with a cool shrug, but no longer take the first step. We don't start anything because we want to be able to do it perfectly right away. Or only go public with what is in hand. In this way we make ourselves a little more unassailable - and less tangible for others.

Because where should you start when we seem to have everything under control, show neither fear nor doubt or weakness? Maybe we are admired for being so tough. Love or a sense of belonging can only arise if we do not ignore our vulnerable sides. Because: The more open we are to others, the more open they can be to us.

Why should we dare

The question arises: should we really take the risk of being hurt just to feel a sense of belonging or connectedness? If we ask Brené Brown, the answer is clear: yes. The US psychologist Emily Esfahani Smith turned in their investigations determined [2] that a feeling of belonging to other people is one of the pillars of a happy and meaningful life. But not only that ...

  • When we stand by our weaknesses and face the feeling that we are not good enough let us deprive it of the breeding ground. We no longer struggle with it quietly and secretly and that which grows wonderfully, especially in secret, often no longer looks so scary when viewed in daylight.
  • By the way, we will see that the world does not end because we made a fool of ourselves for a moment. Ideally, we just laugh along and take the wind out of the sails of the mockingbirds. In this way, we not only strengthen the bond with one another, but also our self-esteem.

Short and good: If we dare to forego perfection and fake coolness, we will find out that we are liked despite our weaknesses. Maybe because of that. Because it is the combination of our strengths and weaknesses that makes us unique and lovable. So let's always set a good example and show the courage to be vulnerable. Let's do it for ourselves. And for our fellow human beings.

[1] Ted.com: Brené Brown: "The Power of Vulnerability"
[2] Emily Esfahani Smith: The Power of Meaning. Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness (Broadway Verlag)

Photo credits: iStock.com/jacoblund