We have all been conditioned to think about human vulnerability primarily in terms of weakness. As such, the experience of vulnerability is to be denied and avoided at all costs. We think to be weak is unacceptable. To be vulnerable is to be weak, therefore it is unacceptable.

Naturally, the problem with this way of thinking is that we are, by definition, vulnerable and therefore to the extent that we deny or avoid our vulnerability we create an untenable illusion about ourselves and others.

In the context of personal growth work, many find that a way out of this cognitive distortion is to learn to accept our vulnerability as a natural part of our humanity. Furthermore, we find it is more useful to think of vulnerability as a strength, instead of a weakness. It only takes a moment to think of examples from our own lives that illustrate how achieving worthwhile goals inevitably cause feelings of vulnerability. We are uncertain, scared, intimidated by what feels too difficult.

Perhaps we are lucky to have found a mentor who serves as a role-model for taking our problems seriously enough to face them with courage and conviction. Keeping our eyes open, facing our problems, and achieving our goals–despite the temptation to hide or deny them–is a strenuous process that ultimately leads to gaining wisdom and perspective. But it requires the strength to face our vulnerabilities.

If these ideas resonate with you, then take a look at an article written by our colleague, Allan Schnarr, PhD.