Madeleine L’Engle once wrote, “When we were children, we used to think that when we grew up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is vulnerability. To be alive is vulnerable.”
When we are vulnerable we often feel inadequate, but in fact, we are often strongest at that point. It is seen as courage to others, as Brene Brown wrote in Daring Greatly.
Vulnerability is probably another name for honesty. It is a precursor of intimacy, and very good writing is intimate.
Also from Brown: As children we found ways to protect ourselves from vulnerability, from being hurt, diminished, and disappointed. We put on armor. we used our thoughts, emotions and behaviors as weapons, and we learned how to make ourselves scarce, even to disappear.
Obviously, becoming scarce and disappearing can be a cause of writer’s block. To write is the opposite of putting on armor. It is taking the armor off and writing about what you truly care about.
I think I need to become more vulnerable. Knowing it can feel like I am inadequate, it comes across as strength. It will help with friendships, leadership and my writing.