The Power of Vulnerability
Positive Self Help

The Power of Vulnerability


Kaira’s character from the movie ‘Dear Zindagi’, played by actor Alia Bhatt, is seen at the beginning of the movie as someone who has a guard up and is scared of showing her real self to those around her. But throughout the movie, we see her become increasingly vulnerable- this sets the tone for her journey of self-discovery and emotional healing. Kaira’s vulnerability is laid bare during her therapy sessions with Jug, played by Shah Rukh Khan.

She opens up about her fears, insecurities, and past traumas, revealing her innermost thoughts and emotions. Through therapy, Kaira confronts unresolved issues from her childhood, including her strained relationship with her parents and feelings of abandonment. This process of introspection and self-reflection highlights her vulnerability as she comes to terms with her past. Like Kiara at the beginning of the movie, we too often find ourselves afraid to open up to people; for fear of being judged.

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What is Vulnerability?

Vulnerability can be defined as the state of being exposed to the possibility of harm, whether it be physical, emotional, or psychological. It involves a sense of susceptibility or openness to potential risks, threats, or adverse outcomes. It is the readiness to expose oneself to the world. Being vulnerable means not being afraid to show the world your true self, and being open about your emotions and thoughts without needing to hide behind a screen.

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Through our experiences with the world, we learn to put our guard up. Being bullied by peers, not being accepted by our loved ones, and facing harsh criticism at an early stage- experiences like these condition us into building walls around ourselves. We start to believe that if we expose ourselves, we are bound to get hurt. To save ourselves from this pain and embarrassment, we learn to stop being vulnerable.

The Benefits of Vulnerability

Despite what we may condition ourselves into believing, vulnerability can be a strength.

  • Fosters genuine connections: When we are open to revealing our true selves to people, it fosters genuine connections. People look for connections where the other person is open and honest. We all look for someone we can trust and be carefree with. In the movie ‘Dear Zindagi’, Kaira learns to build friendships and relationships while being open. She realises that vulnerability is not a weakness but a strength that allows her to connect more deeply with herself and others.

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  • Builds trust: Vulnerability helps build trust. By being open with people, you are inviting them to let their guard down too. It creates an atmosphere of positive regard; of acceptance which we all crave. We often find ourselves searching for people who are confident about who they are because it makes us feel good about our true selves too.
  • Promotes empathy: Vulnerability also promotes empathy. It makes you sensitive to what other people may be going through. You learn to approach and understand people in a way that you would want to be understood- free from judgment.
  • Relieves stress: Constantly being on your guard and being afraid to show your true self can also be very tiring. Having the willingness to show emotions can also be a great mental relief. Building walls around yourself constantly can take a toll on your mental health. Being open with your loved ones can provide the space to let go of this stress.

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  • Boosts emotional intelligence (EQ): Allowing yourself to display your emotions, whether positive or negative, makes you more in touch with yourself and your feelings. Research indicates that being vulnerable gives way to higher levels of emotional expression.

Overcoming Fear and Resistance

As noted above, it is important to view vulnerability as a strength rather than a weakness. As we move towards an increasingly individualistic society, we lose track of our culture and our values, which tells us to live in a harmonious and trustful relationship with those around us. To make us stand out as an emotionally mature human being, it becomes essential to be open and honest about our feelings, thoughts, and experiences, even if they may be uncomfortable or difficult to express.

Emotional vulnerability allows for deeper connections and intimacy in relationships. While vulnerability is often associated with feelings of weakness or insecurity, it can also be seen as a courageous act of authenticity and openness. Practising self-compassion becomes the first step- you can only be vulnerable around other people if you are truly accepting of yourself. Finding supportive people also aids us on our path to self-discovery. Only in an environment of acceptance can we fully thrive. A good social support system that helps us deal with overwhelming emotions without being judgemental about them and without holding them against us is essential.

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