Human beings are increasingly separated by our electronic devices. Posting our emotions on Facebook has become our way of connecting. With all of the technological advances it becomes harder and harder to express our feelings and inner most thoughts to other human beings without the aid of a device. Many people have mistaken over sharing with vulnerability. Just like there’s drunk courage there’s internet courage. People say things they wouldn’t normally say to others because it’s the internet. In some cases it’s anonymous (sort of), on other cases it’s just a blip on the screen of the reader. They can “like” it or move on.
I am quite new to vulnerability, at least in the way I’ve come to understand it in the last year or so. When I trust someone and have a deep connection with them I’ll share my inner thoughts with them in the way you tell you secrets to your best friend. It takes a long time for me to trust and once the trust is broken it’s very difficult for me to get it back. The new part of vulnerability I’m experiencing is sharing parts of myself with total strangers or co-workers. It’s one thing to share your thoughts with your girl from college who you’ve known for years, but why ever I would I do that with someone I work with.
It didn’t occur to me that you could be vulnerable at different levels. When I’m at work, as a leader I can show vulnerability to those around me. If someone is struggling with something I struggled with in the past, I do more than just empathize. I’m a story teller. A connection is created when I tell someone else about my colossal blunder and what I did to redeem myself. When I give a presentation I can be my authentic self to connect with the audience no matter how dry the topic. I don’t have to share my life story with people, but I do need to bring my authentic self to the table if I want to engender trust and a sense of community.
I’ve learned an important lesson that you can’t be vulnerable with everyone. I have to be wise enough to know who’s earned that right to see the inner space of my being. I do know when I’m hurt I lash out. I can build a wall that rivals the Great Wall of China. I’m protective of my feelings and my space. I have learned to drop those walls a bit and about being my authentic self. I can’t wait to see my progress in 12 months!