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Power of Vulnerability

Vulnerability has a power that often throws individuals off their guard. A research paper on Brene Brown’s book “The Power of Vulnerability” provides insight into how vulnerability plays on both the worst aspects of an individuals emotional intelligence and the best aspects of their personality. Brown highlights the following points regarding vulnerability:

  1. Connection to others and the world is man’s reason for being
  2. This connectedness is scientifically proven through neurobiology
  3. The connection most often associated with vulnerability is shame

a. Shame is the fear of vulnerability

b. Shame reveals our struggle for worthiness in the world

Power of VulnerabilityBrene Brown asserts that one must embrace vulnerability to be authentic. If one isn’t authentic, the connectedness that man searches for is unable to be accomplished. Despite the pain and discomfort of vulnerability, it is necessary. Brown puts a soul to the aspect of vulnerability and illustrates why it is imperative in our culture today. She outlines the shortcomings of humanity and how these shortcomings often take over the self to view the world through these lenses. Thus Brown makes a call to action so that one doesn’t embrace an unauthentic life and instead, allows for discomfort and vulnerability.

Inherent in the study of personality traits is the notion that personality appears to be stable with regard to time. In other words, individual traits once established endure over time without significant change. Most research supports the notion that personality traits, by definition, are rather immutable under typical circumstances. Longitudinal research regarding personality trait stability also concludes that there is little change over time. Thus, there is some interaction between one’s personality and the environment. However, at best, it would be difficult to determine in which direction these changes were typically manifesting themselves. The individual may make subtle changes in order to adapt to the environment in constructive ways, rather than the environment changing the individual personality without that person’s awareness of the change process. Additionally, there may be a hierarchy with regard to the stability of personality traits. In other words, some traits may be more stable than other traits. Interestingly, whether or not traits fluctuate in response to the environment may involve selective personality traits that also impact the individual’s overall mental health. That is to say, individuals who seem to adapt to environmental changes may have personality characteristics that encourage those changes, with the ultimate result being the development of greater resiliency to stress and more positive features related to overall good mental health and well-being.

The successful path to positive mental health status in adulthood is undoubtedly a complex journey, especially given the multitude of stressors that may occur during a lifetime. As a result, many of the recommended programs for increasing vulnerability attempt to assist or intervene in reducing negative behaviors, and more importantly, in the creation of positive skills that contributes to positive indicators of mental health within the personality of an individual. Brene Brown stresses the need for specific vulnerability coaching and a bright light being shone on the importance of this valuable emotion.

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