25 Apr Vulnerability, Life’s Greatest Dare

vul·ner·a·ble: Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; Open to attack or damage; Susceptible to physical or emotional injury; Open to censure or criticism.

No wonder we spend a lifetime trying to protect ourselves.

As Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly points out we devote our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable. I don’t know about you, but I relate.

We’ve learned to wear our masks. To just suck it up and get on with it. To hide and run away. To shun the touchy feely emotional stuff.  Because it is easier to mask our feelings and emotions. As Brown points out, the perception is that vulnerability is weakness.

In her qualitative research, Brown asked people to finish the sentence: “Vulnerability is …” I decided to do a little investigation of my own. I asked a few people in my network to finish the same sentence. Here are the replies:

  • Strength.
  • Liberating.
  • Femininity and embracing love.
  • A state of mind. We have the power to choose our state of mind.
  • Beautiful opening of ourselves to another when in a relationship.
  • Trusting people.
  • Loving and giving unconditionally.
  • Our ability (real or perceived) to control our own destiny.
  • Necessary for being human.
  • That place that resides between the wound that remains eternally exposed and the opening of ones heart by the intense caring of prodding fingers that unfold the petals, one by one.
  • Not to be scared and be proud of who you are.
  • Is a state of existence in which one is open to outside influences, both positive and negative. Essentially, it is being ‘open.’
  • Setting boundaries, standing up for myself and not giving my power away.
  • Being totally and completely yourself. Taking off the many masks we wear and allowing others to see you as you are and being willing to have them love you that way.

Powerful responses (and by the way, Brown found similar themes). Being open, healing the wounds, standing up for yourself, or not being scared are not weakness.

Vulnerability is a daily practice that is about courage and ‘strength.’  ‘Taking off the many masks’ is not easy, but it can be ‘liberating.’


  • Andrea Henning
    Posted at 07:55h, 25 April Reply

    Vulnerability for me is willingly keeping an open, unprotected heart while walking into an open knife. It is possible at a point where we realize that any kind of self-protection has a too big a price down the road. The price of living only half a life, settling for less than the life that wants to be lived through us just becomes to high. There is a tipping point that the open knife, leaning towards instead of moving away from whatever life throws at us becomes more attractive than the alternative. That is when vulnerability becomes less and less scary and we can harvest the joy of the ever growing sense that life is ok, that we are ok. We actually starting to live our life instead of surviving it. Down the road I have learned to value the company of kindred spirits in my journey towards living my life from wholeheartedness. Because however we have to fly solo when it comes to vulnerability, it is such comfort to fly solo together.
    you can find kindred spirits on http://www.tiaracoching.com.

    Thanks for asking this great question Golnaz

    • Golnaz Golnaraghi
      Posted at 08:07h, 25 April Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment. Beautifully put. I love your reference to valuing the company of kindred spirits. I had my ‘aha’ moment when I read this sentence in Brown’s book “Vulnerabiity is about sharing your feelings and experiences with people who have EARNED the right to hear them.” A mutual trust and place of safety are essential.

      • Andrea Henning
        Posted at 08:38h, 25 April Reply

        Greatly put. Did you see her interview in Oprah’s super soul sunday? Probably. There she elaborates on this. We are planning at Tiara to have a teleseries on vulnerability. Maybe you are interested at some point to appear as an expert? I see a lot around this topic in your material.


        • Golnaz Golnaraghi
          Posted at 09:40h, 25 April Reply

          I sure did. Thanks for sharing the link for readers who may not have seen the interview.

          I’m interested in hearing more about your teleseries and the plans. I’m not sure I can speak as an expert, but certainly as someone in the “arena” negotiating my own identity and personal growth. Under the contact page on my blog, there’s an email option for connecting privately. Look forward to continuing this conversation. Thanks again, Andrea.

  • Tandar
    Posted at 02:51h, 30 April Reply

    Wow! Loved it! What I love about it are the specific definitions and meanings of the word to different people. Shedding light on different angles of the the word itself is most eye opening. Thanks Goli. Xoxoxox

    • Golnaz Golnaraghi
      Posted at 06:16h, 30 April Reply

      Thanks for taking time to read the posting and sharing your feedback. The diversity of contributions was amazing. It goes to show that we each create meaning in our own unique way.

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