When I talked with my volleyball girls this week, their go-to definition of vulnerability was a weakness, which is accurate if you’re engaged in warfare. However, in human interaction, vulnerability is a magical strength.
It’s as simple as leaving behind your social shields of coolness or snarky judgement to show up with truth and curiosity for what is really happening in every human interaction. I said it was simple, not easy. It takes courage to be vulnerable with others, and especially to be confident in your vulnerability. Owning your own feelings creates a confidence that you are important, just as you are, regardless of what others think.
This kind of vulnerability is miles away from the forced helplessness that is often mistaken for vulnerability. The “Oh woe is me” attitude is actually victim-hood, not vulnerability, and it’s a time and energy suck. I’m advocating an honest evaluation of your feelings, a recognition that those feelings are valid, and a clear communication of what kind of help you need or are willing to offer.
In the gym this week I asked who was feeling great and who was feeling kinda’ crappy. When I had hands raised for each end of the spectrum, I offered the solution that the stronger help the weaker players on and off the court. Because, next practice their feelings could switch. If everyone is looking out for everyone else, the team plays more honestly. They connect clearly, and their communication improves. They got right to it as soon as I was finished talking, and I immediately saw a deeper level of cooperation—Huzzah!
If you have an endeavor with more than one person involved, cooperation is vital. But you can’t communicate properly if you aren’t honest about where you are and how you feel. If we can all be confident enough to trust that our feelings are valid AND vulnerable enough to communicate them to our teammates (in life or volleyball), we can accomplish remarkable feats together. And the journey will be so much more enjoyable.
So, next time you’re considering a barrier of toughness to hide your doubts, ask for help instead. Or when you’re feeling sassy and powerful, seek out someone who needs a little oomph and share. Together we rise. Together we can pool our strengths and foibles to create a better life.
And if you need a little help with confidence this holiday season, join Dr. Jenn Gaddy and me for our Facebook Live Serene Season chat on December 13th at 8 p.m. on the Girl Power for Good Foundation Facebook page!