Our True Power Lies in Our Willingness to Be Vulnerable

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Are you afraid to be vulnerable? If so, you’re not alone.

We’re taught to believe vulnerability is weakness. We think being vulnerable makes us look foolish. We fear that if we get vulnerable with another person, we may get hurt and never recover.

In this post I’m going to invite you to see vulnerability in a much different way. But first, let’s talk about why and how we avoid being vulnerable.

How we avoid being vulnerable

Vulnerability is our willingness to expose our truth. This can be really hard, because the truth can be scary and shameful. Therefore, we do everything we can not to be vulnerable.

We try to avoid vulnerability in many ways. But the biggest way we do it is through judgment.

In many cases judgment has been our greatest defense mechanism. We have used it to defend against our vulnerability. We fear that if we let our guard down and act compassionately and lovingly toward one another that we’ll be taken advantage of and no longer be safe.

This is totally understandable given the traumas we’ve experienced in the past and all the new traumatic events in the world. We’ve built up a wall against the presence of love and instead grown to rely on judgment as our protector.

Tweet: We put enormous effort into hiding our vulnerability, but it’s our vulnerability that truly heals. @gabbybernstein

Our judgment of others has protected us from facing our wounds. But it’s also held us back from healing and growing. Our unwillingness to face the discomfort with self-compassion keeps us from experiencing miracles.

Press play on the video below…

We rely on judgment to avoid shame

Behind the wall of judgment lie our deepest feelings of inadequacy and shame. When we feel separate from others our shame is triggered. We feel alone, not good enough and unworthy of love and connection.

Shame is the most difficult emotion to accept and we’ll do anything to avoid feeling it. We resist it by projecting it onto others through judgment, and then we grow to rely on judgment as a way of finding relief from our wounds.

But when we suppress our shame and refuse to be vulnerable, we feel disconnected from others and out of alignment with our truth.

Refusing to be vulnerable can make us feel incredibly lonely, even when we’re surrounded by family and friends. When we don’t allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we can feel like we’re putting on an act for the world.

Our true power lies in our willingness to be vulnerable

We think being vulnerable is weak. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Being vulnerable isn’t weak. It takes guts!

vulnerability heals gabby bernstein judgment detoxWe put enormous effort into hiding our vulnerability, but it’s our vulnerability that truly heals. When we feel safe enough to expose our shadows, that’s when we become free. We don’t have to protect our shadows any longer. We can begin to dismantle the wall that separates us from real, authentic, fearless love.

Vulnerability is a gift we give others because it allows them to see us for who we really are. It lets us be authentic and truthful, which in turn allows us to create genuine connections and deepen our relationships.

All relationships benefit from our willingness to be vulnerable. When we expose our truth, we give others permission to do the same. In moments of authentic expression we release all the pretenses we’ve built up and let people in on who we really are.

Being vulnerable allows us to show up more fully in the world. Your authentic truth is your magnificence. Your willingness to let the world see you in truth is your greatest contribution. When we all get real, the world will heal!

Vulnerability is our greatest strength

Check out this beautiful clip from SuperSoul Sunday to see what I mean. This is a clip from Oprah’s talk with Dr. Brené Brown about how vulnerability is our greatest strength:

(If you haven’t seen Brené’s famous TED Talk on vulnerability, click here to watch it now.)

In the video clip above, Oprah says that vulnerability is the cornerstone of confidence. This couldn’t be more true. When we are vulnerable we are real. You’ll see how strong you really are and you’ll stand tall in your authentic truth.

Vulnerability is incredibly powerful. It creates genuine connection. There is nothing sexier than your authentic truth. When you let your guard down and become willing to be vulnerable, you invite others to do the same. You strengthen your relationships. You let others know it’s safe to be honest with you. You become a messenger for the light!

How to actually be vulnerable

The moment we are vulnerable is the moment we feel free. Being vulnerable allows us to let go of whatever false persona we’ve been projecting. Instead, we can step into our truth.

So how do you go about actually being vulnerable?

Vulnerability is a practice

First, it’s important to remember that vulnerability is a practice. The more you allow yourself to be vulnerable, the easier it becomes. Vulnerability feels good because you’re honoring your emotions and expressing them honestly. The more you practice it, the better you’ll feel!

Being vulnerable may be uncomfortable at first. That’s okay. There’s a great passage in A Course in Miracles that says that we have to be grateful for our most uncomfortable circumstances because those are the circumstances that show us what we need to heal.

Remember that. Because this is what we are here for. We’re not here to walk around being perfect, enlightened beings. We’re here on a journey of unlearning fear and remembering love. One day at a time we show up with the intention to surrender and then surrender some more.

Heal your judgment

Compassionately witnessing someone in their darkness gives them permission to step into the light. | Judgment Detox by Gabby BernsteinThe most powerful way you can start embracing your vulnerability is by healing your judgment. The first step in healing our shame and letting down our guard is to accept that we are not the victim of the world we see. This is why the Judgment Detox process begins with witnessing your judgment (Step 1) and honoring your wounds (Step 2). These two steps bring you clarity and deep, deep relief.

Allow others to be vulnerable with you

Another big part of practicing vulnerability is to allow others to be vulnerable around you, too. When others express vulnerability to us, it is our job to be kind and compassionate. It takes a lot of bravery to expose your shame and be honest about your feelings. Therefore, we must hold others in their vulnerability and thank them for being real. The temporary discomfort we might feel is far outweighed by the stronger, deeper and more authentic relationships we’ll build.

My dear friend Lewis Howes has amazing insight into vulnerability, especially when it comes to men. If you’re a man who struggles with being vulnerable, Lewis’s advice in his book The Mask of Masculinity is indispensable. It’s incredibly valuable for women, too. Lewis will help you hold space for your partner so he can feel safe being vulnerable with you.

If you are having a tough time letting go of your judgment of another person, say this prayer.

Check out my free Judgment Detox Mini Course!

Free Judgment Detox Mini Course by Gabby BernsteinIn this FREE 3-part mini course, I guide you through 3 core practices of the Judgment Detox. Release judgment and feel good fast! Get instant access here. 

How to be vulnerable and authentic at work

Being vulnerable gives other people permission to do the same and opens up the possibility of real human connections. | Mike Robbins | Bring Your Whole Self to WorkOne of the situations where it’s hardest to be vulnerable is at work. We often think that vulnerability is unprofessional, especially in a more formal workplace. But in fact, being authentic and vulnerable makes us happier and more productive at work. And it makes for much stronger teams!

I’m excited to share that my good friend Mike Robbins takes on this topic in his book Bring Your Whole Self to Work. I highly recommend reading his blog post about what it means to bring your whole self to work.

Here’s an excerpt from Mike’s book:

Being vulnerable takes courage. Unfortunately, all too often we relate to vulnerability — especially in certain environments, relationships, and situations (particularly at work) — as something we should avoid. But it’s vulnerability that liberates us from our erroneous and insatiable obsession with trying to do everything “right” — thinking that we can’t make mistakes, have flaws, or be human. Embracing vulnerability allows us to let go of the pressure-filled perfection demands we place on ourselves.

In addition to liberating us, being vulnerable gives other people permission to be vulnerable as well; and in doing so, we open up the possibility of real human connection. The natural human response to vulnerability is empathy. And with empathy, we can create deeper trust, connection, and understanding with those around us.

Start your Judgment Detox practice with my free mini course!

Gabby Bernstein's Free Judgment Detox Mini Course

I made a free Judgment Detox Mini Course to guide you through 3 core practices of the book! When you take this course you’ll experience the promise of healing judgment right away.

Access the free mini course now!

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  1. I had told a friend when we last talked that he needed to learn to be more receiving and I told him I want deeper connections in my relationships, not romantic but in every part of my life and I need true friends. The way he talked to me wasn’t always nice and I was being honest. But that to be open and to be vulnerable was necessary for deeper relationships. I told him that to be open and receptive to people in every aspect is necessary for successful relationships and that it would be more authentic. We are not friends anymore but I know that it is a requirement for me and that is what I want in all my relationships.

  2. “Our judgment of others has protected us from facing our wounds. But it’s also held us back from healing and growing. Our unwillingness to face the discomfort with self-compassion keeps us from experiencing miracles.” – THIS. WOW. Got me deep in the sensitive part of my heart. Thank you for sharing -moved me to soften up on myself today.

  3. Dear Gabby,

    Beautiful and important words!
    It is a strengst! But often so difficult.

    Thanks for your inspiring words!

    With love,

  4. I just experienced; with fear made myself vulnerable to persons who have for long time walked on egg shells with to express my real feelings about situation (family related)and when have in past same happened now….there was no listening, just an ok…no willingness to share thought…it never changes…i always have to bite my tongue and it is painful…xx

  5. Gabby, your posts as always so thoughtful, chalk full of wisdom and peppered with useful nuggets. Thank you for taking so much care in the creation of your posts! We have little time to read so much these days. It’s a breath of fresh air to read such an informative post.

  6. Many blessings to you Gabby thank you for sharing the most important work in the world. So much love to you my friend!



  7. Hello Gabby
    Wondering if you could provide some insight. At my lowest and most vulnerable point I asked the Universe (through my late grandmother) to send me a strong message as I was struggling accepting the little messages I was receiving here and there (my symbol is a ladybug). The day after I walked into the backyard and my herb garden was swarming with ladybugs….never in 10 years has this happened! My question is are we more likely to receive messages from the universe when we are most vulnerable and raw?

  8. Couldn’t ask for better timing to read this blog as I got hurt in a relationship that was abusive toxic to me so I left the guy and let go of judgement seeing peace instead of hate. Thanks Gabby! Bless you.

  9. Hey Gabby, the article is really very nice. The points are very clear and relatable. The tips are very useful for me personally. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful article.

  10. Hi Gabby, this has completely changed my life. I had no idea that the reason I was so stuck with my childhood sexual abuse regardless of all the work I had been putting in was myself judgement which resulted in major shame.
    I am so grateful for your work, it has completely liberated me and allowed me to be vulnerable with the people that have been waiting to see me get this open with them.

    I feel like I have been woken up from a deep sleep. So thankful.

    1. I’m grateful that you’re connecting with this work and that it’s supporting you in releasing self judgment. One of the best gifts you can give yourself is forgiveness. Sending lots of love your way. <3

  11. My miracle is taking the time to read your book the Unierse has your back and this website.
    I am not doing well with my life right now. I am lost and trying to find the path back to my loved ones. Thank you

    1. Chris, taking time for yourself is a beautiful act of self care. Sending lots of love and healing.

  12. My husband is a very private person, but a lot of my story that I would love to share is around our marriage and my relationship with his daughter. How do you reconcile respecting the privacy of those close to you who are NOT big sharers with the nudge to speak your truth? Private Facebook communities are the only outlet I’ve found so far!

    1. Most of our stories do involve other people, so you are not alone in this. You do not have to reveal people’s identities. You can change people’s names, or you can get their permission to share their story if you have both healed that aspect of your relationship. If you are sharing about someone whose identity you can’t really hide, then there a couple of things to do as you craft your story. First, clean up your side of the street and do the personal growth work you need to do in order to heal that relationship, even if it’s only with yourself. Be honest about your part in things and take responsibility for your own actions and thoughts. If you haven’t yet healed something, you don’t have to share it. If it still feels very raw, work on it first. Second, you can share about others in an artful way that does not expose them or feel like a betrayal. Use the most generous and compassionate language you can. Gloss over certain parts of your story and focus instead on the LESSON you learned. You can share your story with some trusted friends and ask them for feedback. Feel free to workshop your story. What matters is that you are authentic. You don’t have to share every detail.<3

  13. Hi Gabby,

    Was watching a movie today called The Frame starring Tiffany Mualem. It was a mesmerising film, imho, searched Tiffany who was terrific in the film and found you through her Twitter feed.
    Ordered a hard copy of Judgement Detox after reading first 25 pages on Scribd. It resonated with me. Judgement pervades throughout my life, from/to others to myself primarily. So I feel my convoluted path to your book, like much in this life, will prove to be no coincidence.

    1. No matter how many twists and turns the path had, it led you here. I am so glad you found Judgment Detox and I hope it serves you. Thank you for sharing this.

  14. I love vulnerability. I think it’s difficult to show which is a reminder that it takes strength to do so. Vulnerability has provided an added bonus in my life in that it has helped me to grow closer to my friends who support and nourish me while showing me which friends take my vulnerability and use that moment to walk all over me. Now, instead of wallowing in the pain of those unsupportive friends’ choices, I can recognize those moments for the blessings that they are and let those friends go while wishing them well. Instead of feeling like I’m being dunked under water in my toughest times, I am buoyed more than ever before. Thank you, Vulnerability.

  15. Thank you Gabby

    I just want to express my gratitude for inspiring me to follow through on my dreams and you have introduced me to A course in miracles, which has profoundly changed my life.

    I have started writing, as you recommended, and allow myself to be a channel for the divine message. It feels so natural to align with my higher self.

    Thank you Thank you Thank you

  16. Thanks for this email in my inbox Gabby! I’ve been going through a difficult relationship break up for the last ten months, and over the last couple of days, I’ve been left feeling like maybe I’m lying to myself about my feelings. I’ve been trying to listen to my head, but after reading your blog, I’m wondering whether to give the relationship another chance.. I think I’m scared of the vulnerability that will bring, but now aware that I may not be truly content unless I do. Thank you x

  17. I am struggling with a decision on whether or not to be vulnerable in an internship work environment I recently started in. I am an empath and the man who is leading my internship seems to be unreasonable and irrational and I am starting to think narcissistic. I have been learning from Christiane Northrup and Judith Orloff about these types and I am trying to decide if engaging at all by being vulnerable will be helpful or if will open the gates to even more attacking and bullying remarks. Feeling stuck, sad and frustrated. And a bit victim-y… Thanks!

    1. You don’t have to open your energy around everyone. If someone has very negative energy, then I recommend setting the intention to close your energy around them and clearing your energy with a prayer or meditation when you leave their presence. Simply asking the Universe to retrieve any positive energy you may have lost and lifting any negative energy you may have picked up is enough. If you don’t feel safe to be your authentic self at this internship, you may decide it’s not the right environment for you, or you may decide to talk to a trusted coworker or mentor about how to handle the man leading your internship. You may even want to talk with him directly, in an honest and compassionate way. I recommend checking out a couple of other posts (and listening to the experts you have been learning from!)…

      How to be positive around negative people
      4 easy ways to bring more spirituality into your work
      How to release the story of victim

  18. Oh wow, this post is spot on and perfectly timed! I’ve been learning about vulnerability and shame through Brené Brown and her books and oh, it’s been a journey, definitely not an easy one, but so worth it. I really liked the SuperSoul Sunday video you added, cause as it’s said there as well – you cannot get to courage without vulnerability. And the very fact that you are willing to be vulnerable, facing the music, even though it can leave you, in some situations, heartbroken, sad, devastated even, and if you’re willing to do it over and over again, facing the uncertainty of how the other party can react, who is not maybe that prone to vulnerability… if this isn’t courage, I do not know what is 🙂 And what you shared from A Course of Miracles, that our most uncomfortable circumstances are showing us what we need to heal – that’s my current journey right now.
    Thank you Gabby!

    1. What a beautiful journey to be on. I know it isn’t easy. It requires your commitment and faith. But you will experience miracles. Thank you for sharing your story.

  19. Thank you for this! There is so much content in this email from your vid to Brene Browns Ted talk and super soul sunday. Wow! I really needed this! I had a discussion with my manager and and started crying. I was feeling quite embarrassed but after reading your email…Im feeling fine! Going to order your book now.
    Ps. Im on day 6 of the kirtan kriya yoga 🙂

  20. Thank you!! Your blog came just at the right moment, when I needed it most. The part were you mention “A course in miracles says we have to be grateful for our most uncomfortable circumstances because it teaching you what you need to heal” is happening in the very moment. I pre-ordered your book some time ago but not got round to reading it yet, maybe it’s a sign I should…Wishing you love & Peace Ella Seki

  21. When I started to judge myself at work today; I placed my fear and judgments in the care of great healing. By letting each exercices filling me in, I’ve seen myself and others floating in a space of good vibration, empathy and so so much vulnerability…

    Thank you Gabby Bernstein.

  22. “When we feel safe enough to expose our shadows, that’s when we become free. We don’t have to protect our shadows any longer.” so my issue is; when you are knowingly (b/c they tell you) a comfortable space that others…can make themselves vulnerable;they are safe; they feel there is listening and response with compassion…what do you do when they don’t do the same for you???? you don’t feel safe; you feel judged and just get responses that are clearly not at all supportive whether they agree or disagree in a constructive, learning/growth way?

    1. When you feel judged, make someone else feel loved, and see how quickly it will shift your energy <3

  23. Very timely discussion. I have always believed vulnerability is a strength. I do not always practice it. I am currently going through a circumstance which calls me to vulnerability and I must say it is a little scary. I recognized the need to let it be what it is and made the phone call I needed to make to start that healing process. Then I came to my computer to do some office work and I started by reading my emails, which brought me to this discussion. It has reaffirmed my action jto vulnerability and has strengthened my resolve to walk through it in love, not judgement. Thank you.

  24. I just got back from part one of two job interviews and strangely enough my thoughts during the interview are similar to yours. I mentioned love, spirituality and mindfulness as part of my work ethic and it was well-received; I felt quite brave!
    Thanks Gabby for your very insightful thinking!

  25. Thanks Gabby, I am watching your Judgement Detox videos/ course and have the book. It is not an instant fix for me. But each time issues, thoughts emerge I am so much more aware of how I need to work through them. For me I think it will be a long process. Very helpful for me. Thanks again.

  26. Love this post! Thank you Gabby <3

    I had an Achilles' tendon rupture some weeks ago and the usually very active me is stuck with crutches, a cast and an indefinite recovery time. This might not sound so bad and in some ways it isn't because it gives me time to rejuvenate and ground myself and, what's equally important, I have to ask for help all the time, including help with opening the door to my apartment building. And for someone who is used to doing everything by herself this is a great practise at being vulnerable. Also not judging myself or the changes my body is undergoing while I'm less active or struggling.

  27. Thank you so much. This is something which scares me the most. I hate it when I have to reveal my truth or be open in front of my loved ones. Thank you once again.♡♡♡♡♡

  28. Ms GB

    Thank you so much for this reminder. I have been in sobriety since about when Brene started becoming famous as the Shame and Vulnerability Nut.

    I am now breaking out of my comfort zone and writing online about how to be happy and sober, (or sober and happy).

    I’ll certainly read Lewis’ book, because there are so few men in the Vulnerability Arena.

    I hope with the work you are doing and Brene and Lewis and the like, we can help the world heal from Judgementism.

    love alwaz

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