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  • Writer's pictureKasey D.

Vulnerability is Currency

Something that I've noticed, and that has really caused me to deeply reflect is the current rise in popularity of vulnerability. I've witnessed it being advantageous in the work place, on social media, at school and so on. So much so, that it has caused me to realize just how much vulnerability makes me uncomfortable. And if you're anything like me you can relate to uncontrollably cringing from secondhand embarrassment when witnessing someone bare their soul for the world to see. So, as vulnerability becomes the norm or even a presumed expectation it's not unreasonable for me to then start evaluating whether there's something wrong with me for not "buying in".

The Traditional Notions of Strength

Traditionally, the status quo has been to suppress your emotions and vulnerabilities. To be strong was to be stoic and solemn. Vulnerability, on the other hand, was often equated with weakness, a flaw to be hidden away from the world. Vulnerability was seen as an admission of defeat, an acknowledgment of one's limitations.

A Paradigm Shift: Vulnerability as Currency

As I look around now, at my own life and environment I've noticed that the landscape has changed dramatically. Vulnerability is no longer synonymous with weakness; instead, it's recognized as strong. Vulnerability is now a form of transactional clout. Sharing to the point of oversharing is now seen as brave and heroic.

Kitchen table talk is no longer for the privacy of the kitchen table. Private discussions are now being broadcasted on podcasts. Social media is a tool for personal storytimes and confessions. And in the workplace you're on the outs if you don't tell Billy anb Barbara what you did over the weekend. At this point you're left with so many questions, but the main one is, "Why?".

Here are a few reasons:

Connection and Authenticity: We live in an era of hyper-connectivity, where authenticity is highly valued. In a world of curated social media profiles and polished images, genuine vulnerability stands out. People are drawn to authenticity because it fosters deeper connections. Sharing one's struggles, fears, and insecurities can create a powerful bond between individuals, which can be a valuable form of social currency.

Mental Health Awareness: Our understanding of mental health has grown significantly in recent years. Opening up about our emotional challenges and seeking help when needed is now seen as a sign of strength, not weakness. This shift has been crucial in breaking down stigmas and promoting emotional well-being, making vulnerability a currency for personal growth and resilience.

Leadership and Empathy: Leaders who are open about their vulnerabilities are often more relatable and empathetic. This, in turn, can lead to more effective leadership and better teamwork. The ability to connect with others on a human level, rather than projecting an image of invincibility, can be a powerful leadership currency.

The Limits of Vulnerability as Currency

While vulnerability can be powerful and is a transformative force, it's important to realize its limits. Not every situation or platform is appropriate for complete openness. There's a time and a place for everything. Vulnerability should not be exploited. Sharing is beautiful and precious which is why it is important to create safe spaces. In a world where vulnerability is celebrated, there is also a risk of superficiality, where people may share their vulnerabilities for attention rather than genuine connection.

Conclusion: Embracing Vulnerability

The concept that vulnerability is currency is reshaping our understanding of strength and authenticity. Embracing vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but a testament to our humanity. It is a valuable currency that can foster deeper connections, promote mental health, drive innovation, and enhance leadership. The key lies in finding the balance between vulnerability and strength, recognizing that true strength is not in the absence of vulnerability but in the courage to embrace it.

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