Understanding Vulnerabilities

We’re all familiar with the term vulnerabilities, but what do we really know about vulnerabilities beyond feeling that we’re at risk?

Three faces of vulnerability

Most of us experience vulnerabilities on three levels:

  1. Sensed
  2. Denied
  3. Confident

Sensed vulnerabilities

There are times when we sense that we’re vulnerable without really understanding what that vulnerability is. This type of vulnerability is often accompanied by anxiety or, in more severe instances, fear.

These emotions persist until we discover what our vulnerability is and how to cope with it. And, yes, you have the ability to cope with any situation you face. You’ve done so throughout your entire life so why should dealing with vulnerabilities be any different?

The key is to pause when feeling vulnerable and take some quiet time to explore what it is that is making you feel at risk. During this quiet time it’s helpful to:

  • Recall that you’ve found a way to deal with every challenging situation you’ve ever faced.
  • Ask your subconscious mind “What’s making me so uncomfortable? And how can I deal with it?”
  • Then allow your mind to drift. Your subconscious mind provides answers more quickly when your conscious mind is at rest. That’s because your subconscious mind does not interrupt conscious effort. Instead, it waits until your conscious mind is free to present ideas.

If you doubt that, recall a time when your conscious efforts weren’t producing a desired result. Frustration set in. With each successive failed effort your frustration intensified until you finally walked away from the effort. Within milliseconds, your subconscious mind offered a solution that enabled you to complete the task quickly and easily.

This occurs because your subconscious mind typically does not interrupt conscious efforts thus avoiding a conflict between your conscious and subconscious mind.

Denied vulnerabilities

At other times we know what our vulnerabilities are, but we don’t want to admit what they are. 

We deny them because acknowledging them means we have to do something about them or because we fear that admitting them publicly will make us look weak or inept. Whatever the reason, we choose not to acknowledge what we know to be true.

Unfortunately, denial increases the risk we face. By denying our vulnerability, by attributing it to some external factor, we actually increase the likelihood that it’ll be exploited. You can prevent this from happening by being open to admitting that you’re vulnerable. The reality is that we’re all vulnerable in some respect. None of us comes with the complete package. We are all weak and inept in some regard.

Once you open your mind to the fact that you are vulnerable, you’ll quickly learn what those vulnerabilities are and how best to deal with them. Awareness of your vulnerabilities will also enable you to quickly identify attempts to exploit them, affording yourself greater protection. As your awareness grows, you’ll achieve the third level of vulnerability…confident vulnerabilities.

Confident vulnerabilities

As you become increasingly aware of your vulnerabilities you not only become aware of how to better protect yourself, you are able to admit them readily to others. This openness is helpful in a number of ways, you:

  • Connect more quickly with others because your openness engenders trust in you. We enjoy being with people we know we can trust. Trust is comfortable and welcoming.
  • Exhibit confidence. By admitting vulnerabilities, you let others know that you are confident despite your vulnerabilities. Confidence is another attractive feature because it imbues others with confidence in themselves and their abilities.
  • Reduce your risk. When you’re aware of your vulnerabilities, the likelihood of someone taking advantage of them decreases dramatically. You can clearly see when someone is attempting to use your vulnerabilities against you. It’s easy to thwart these attempts because you are not only aware of your vulnerabilities, you know how to cope with them…without the emotional drain experienced by those who deny or only sense their vulnerabilities.

For you

When you sense that you’re vulnerable:

  • Pause.
  • Remind yourself that everyone is vulnerable in some regard.
  • Ask your subconscious mind, “What’s making me so uncomfortable? And how can I deal with it?”
  • Allow your mind to drift so that your subconscious mind is free to answer these questions for you.
  • Act quickly upon the answers you get from your subconscious mind.

In situations in which you see others struggling with similar vulnerabilities, share your story, and these tips, with them. By sharing, you attain the confident level of understanding vulnerabilities. You also help others allay their fears so that they can return to joyful living.

For our kids

Admit your vulnerabilities to your kids at times when you see them struggling with their own vulnerabilities. Let them know that everyone, without exception, is vulnerable is some regard.

Then share with them the process outlined above to help them deal effectively with their vulnerabilities. You and they will be amazed at how quickly they gain confidence with greater awareness of their vulnerabilities, how much easier it is for them to connect with others and how much safer they are as a result of being confident in their vulnerabilities.

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