Vulnerability is a muscle we need to use and build to practice true authenticity with those around us. However, the courage needed to step out as our true selves doesn’t always come naturally. It’s hard. It’s uncomfortable. It may feel scary. Journaling can be the first step toward that larger leap of vulnerability.
Why Practice Vulnerability?
I firmly believe that vulnerability is an act of courage. Though we tend to think of it as a sign of weakness, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Dr. Brene Brown says in her now-famous TED Talk that connection is what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be truly seen – to be vulnerable.
If only it was that easy, right? Shame gets in the way of vulnerability as it tells us that we will be rejected for who we are.
In Brown’s research, she sought out people who were willing to be vulnerable. A distinct pattern emerged, which she described:
“What they had in common was a sense of courage. The courage to be imperfect. The compassion to be kind to themselves first then to others. We can’t have compassion for people if we can’t treat ourselves kindly. They had connection as a result of authenticity. They were willing to let go of who they thought they should be in order to be who they were. You have to do that for connection.”
Journaling - The First Step Towards Vulnerability
As with any act of courage, it can be difficult to dive right into being vulnerable. Journaling can be a first step to practicing vulnerability and has the added benefit of self-care. Research has proven numerous emotional and physical benefits to expressive writing.
Not only are you taking the time to name your innermost thoughts and feelings, but also practicing kindness to yourself – which happens to be Brown’s first step to vulnerability.
I’ll admit: I’ve had a love/hate relationship with journaling in the past. It’s one of those things I know I “should” do, but sometimes it falls to the bottom of my priority list somewhere after “reschedule daughter’s voice lessons” and “pick up shampoo and dog food.”
Like so many things (exercise also comes to mind), journaling is a practice that becomes more meaningful the more we do it. It’s also something that can take five minutes or fifty minutes -- it’s up to you. Start small, enjoy the clarity and insights it brings, and build toward consistency. It can be truly transformative.
I've put together a quick download for you with 30 journal prompts to help you get started in your journaling practice. These are written to be reflections at the end of the day, but they can easily be altered for a morning journaling session.