The first time I really started considering vulnerability to be something more than a painful experience that’s usually safer to avoid, was when I happened to watch Brené Brown’s TED talk. Hearing her describe vulnerability as something that you should feel courageous about was a totally life-changing experience for me.
All of a sudden, being tough didn’t mean building your walls high and hiding out behind them with netflix and popcorn, it meant the exact opposite.
This perspective of vulnerability as a super power has gotten me through countless situations that I would've otherwise described as uncomfortable and not my favourite. As a fitness instructor, for instance, I put myself out there a lot. I stand in front of a number of people who aren't always happy about what I'm asking them to do and though I try to distract with humour, sometimes my jokes are met with some pretty loud silences (I guess you have to expect a little retaliation when you put burpees on someone else's agenda.)
I know from experience, smiling during a tough exercise isn't necessarily everyone's natural response so even when my positive facial expressions at the front of the class aren't being returned, it doesn't change anything. Just like the moments of discomfort that really make the true difference when it comes to physical changes through exercise, the awkward moments in life push you beyond your comfort zone into a place of emotional growth.
I absolutely believe the most beautiful things happen when we let ourselves be vulnerable. We connect on another level, we allow other people to be vulnerable too, we surprise ourselves with strength we didn’t even know we possessed, and we grow into even stronger people.