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Pages tagged "Vulnerability"


Vulnerability Isn't A Sign of Weakness, Despite What You May Have Been Taught

All my life, I’ve been taught that you have to “be strong” either for yourself or for the people around you. Showing emotion made people look at you with pity and treat you like you were a child.

“Awww, look at Alishia crying again.”

“You’re always so dramatic.”

“If you want to get ahead, you have to be tough and not let people know they got to you.”

“Why can’t you just let it roll off your back?”

I know I’m not alone in hearing these things. In the 2016 election, we heard time after time about Hilary Rodham Clinton’s temperament and whether or not she was friendly enough to be President. The assumption is, she’s a woman and all soft and squishy, she can’t be strong enough, be “professional” enough to be an effective leader. The assumption is that showing vulnerability at all is a weakness. Well, my friend, if you haven’t heard this before, let me tell you that being able to show vulnerability is not a weakness. It’s a strength.

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Coming back from failure

Last year, I was asked to present a workshop session on social media for the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits Essentials Conference.  I couldn’t have been more confident. I had presented before, knew social media marketing well, and overall felt like it would be a breeze.

And then the session happened. 

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Creating a culture of vulnerability

main.jpgWe've all been there. Our anxiety goes up while we scroll down on Facebook. We think "Why is everyone else's life so perfect, while I'm a mess?" One friend just got her MBA ("I don't think I could pass the GRE"), another posted a whole album of photos of him and his boyfriend in Las Vegas-smiling and laughing in all of them ("Me and my partner are bickering a lot lately, is she the wrong person for me?"). A cousin just posted about their 7-mile jog around the lake ("I haven't worked out in 3 weeks, I'm so lazy").

Facebook updates are symptomatic of a broader cultural truth: vulnerability is not rewarded. Revealing our weaknesses and shortcomings is not wise. What we're taught to do instead is hide our faults, embellish our positive qualities and try to one-up everyone.

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