vulnerability is a vital strength when accepted and positively used; leaders, for example, need vulnerability.

The Power of Vulnerability

Most people don’t readily see the power of vulnerability. But powerful it is. Vulnerability is not weakness. Indiviudally and collectively, we need to better understand and accept this emotional exposure. Illustration by Peter Wehrman.

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.

Crissi Jami

At first blush, it can seem incongruent that vulnerability is a source of power. But the straight-forward logic of Brene Brown can set you straight. I saw her on CBS Sixty Minutes and quickly recognized what vulnerability could do for me and my interests. Then I saw one of Brown’s books on the shelf, Daring Greatly. So, I was glad to get the message.

I learned about it at a point when I especially needed it. Coming to grips with vulnerability helped me connect-the-dots in a profound way, personally and in respect to my work with others. I was able to question and adjust my outlook; I am a suscriber to the power of vulnerabilty and suggest it can be a life influence.

Case in Point: Political Behavior

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Amy C. Edmondson and Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic signal strongly that Today’s Leaders Need Vulnerability, Not Bravado.

I see Donald Trump and Trumpism as extreme denial of vulnerability. For example, arrogance and disdain as regards law and order. I think this denial – and its promotion and acceptance into cultish behavior – constitutes a menace to American life and justice as we know it.

Another Case: Returning Citizens

Bravado and “above the law” like that demonstrated by politicians is one side of the vulnerability justice coin. Those who go into the legal system and then try to return to a productive free life might be the flip side.

Returning citizens (or ex-offenders or ex-cons) are a special case of vulnerability. Having failed or been judged before, these people have special challenges. No amount of “staying straight” can “make things right” without some layman’s appreciation for their vulnerability. I think there is a case for this.

As I see it, vulnerability has an intense tie to the shame (guilt) with which criminals/accused must contend. It’s interrelated with other quality-of-life challenges that ex-offenders must go through, upon release and then through their lives. Often there are trauma implications. This criminal justice concern is in turn linked to social justice at large.

The Power of Vulnerability
So, Consider Vulnerability

People and groups at all levels are contemplating the coming post-Trump post-Coronavirus changes America will undergo. Safety is a common denominator across all. Safety and all noble goals can be more productively addressed through the lense of vulnerability.

There is a universal and a personal side of vulnerability. Sometimes we need to break away from self-defeating behaviors. Examples include perceptions of success, and the driving force of perceived scarcity.

It can be helpful to be aware of simple basics of vulnerability. For example: you can better address your fears by realizing it is healthy and not a weakness. Did I mention the positive power of vulnerability is free and readily available?