From the Blog

Debunking the 4 Myths of Vulnerability

Our marketing team is reading Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly as part of an employee book club. We’re working with COURAGEworks, Brené’s online reading community, to help transform the way we lead. Hear what our team learned in Chapter 2 and how Brené’s research relates to them.

4 Myths of Vulnerability

What’s vulnerability? Brené Brown defines vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be alive is to be vulnerable. There are many myths of vulnerability that are driven from what our culture tells us. In our marketing team book club, we dove deeper into why those myths of vulnerability are not true.

MYTH #1: VULNERABILITY IS WEAKNESS

“Vulnerability is the core of all emotions and feelings. To feel is to be vulnerable” (p. 33)

For many of us, it’s hard to be open with our feelings and emotions. We’re told to “be less emotional.” We shut off emotions because we’re afraid of what people may think of us — that we’re weak. But as Brené says, to live without emotions is to not fully live. We need to embrace the strength of vulnerability because “vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy and courage.”

MYTH #2: I DON’T DO VULNERABILITY

“When we pretend that we can avoid vulnerability, we engage in behaviors that are often inconsistent with who we want to be” (p. 45).

A lot of people love reading books on personal development in order to grow. Some people may overlook Daring Greatly because they might feel the topic isn’t relevant to them, as they “don’t do vulnerability.” But if we don’t embrace our courage by being open and honest, we won’t be able to become the best version of ourselves. We all need to “do vulnerability.” 

MYTH #3: VULNERABILITY IS LETTING IT ALL HANG OUT

“Vulnerability is about sharing our feelings and our experiences with people who have earned the right to hear them. Being vulnerable and open is mutual and an integral part of the trust-building process” (p. 45).

Trust plays a significant part of being vulnerable. In order to be vulnerable, we need to feel trust. Growth in relationships requires two people to open up and share with each other all of who they are, not just the good. This requires trust. Taking down the walls, and being vulnerable, opens us up to having beautiful and meaningful relationships — in and outside of work.

MYTH #4: WE CAN GO IT ALONE

“Nothing has transformed my life more than realizing that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands” (p. 56).

We love this quote from the book. Brené talks about how our culture holds people who are independent in high regard. But as many of us know from personal experiences, only doing things by yourself can be lonely and depressing. We need bravery to ask for support — and that means we need to be vulnerable. The quote above resonates because we’re all so focused on what people think of us. But Brené is right: The true friends in your life will support you and be there with you no matter what the outcome.

To learn how to create and measure engagement activities for your employees, check out the Limeade Engagement platform.