Vulnerability is a secret superpower

By Alexa Hernandez | Social Media Editor

I first encountered the term “vulnerable” when I was 9 years old during my very first therapy session. Now, at almost 20 years of age, I continue to grapple with vulnerability.

In a society that encourages and praises strength, resilience and that “boss babe” mentality, vulnerability is often overlooked or viewed as a sign of weakness. However, beneath the surface, there is a profound power in being vulnerable.

While reading Brené Brown’s book on the power of vulnerability, it became apparent to me that practicing vulnerability creates a space for love, friendship and growth to occur. Embracing vulnerability is not about exposing ourselves recklessly. Rather, it’s about having the courage to be authentic, open and honest about our experiences, thoughts and emotions.

This, of course, is easier said than done. For example, if you asked me to go to class barefoot, I would definitely hesitate. However, the vulnerability I’m talking about is not the kind that embarrasses you but rather the kind that frees you.

As college students, we face numerous challenges daily. From mundane tasks like dealing with a messy kitchen to more intense obstacles such as navigating periods of mental health distress, I am confident that many of us have encountered such experiences.

Opening up about struggles can be hard. There’s something so daunting about showing someone the wounds that persist in your life and exposing that part of yourself. However, I have experienced such relief when I trust a friend with something that has been gnawing at me.

The average human was created for connection, and to have connection, you need to be vulnerable. It is the willingness to show up and allow yourself to be seen, even if success isn’t a guarantee. By doing this, you set the stage to give a voice to those who are a bit more apprehensive about opening up.

I’ve lost count of the times I’ve shared something tough with my friends, roommates or sisters, only to hear a quick response of “Wait, me too!”

Society can make us believe that we are alone in feeling the way we do. Thoughts of “You don’t have your life together because you don’t wake up at 5 a.m.,” “You are unhealthy because you don’t eat three salads a day” or “You need to be better at dealing with your emotions” can be pervasive. Whatever it may be, social media and the world around us have a way of making us think that we are the black sheep in a sea of white lambs.

Embracing the art of vulnerability is the catalyst that permits us to challenge stereotypes and offer encouragement to those facing difficulties, reassuring them that it’s normal and that things will improve.

We were never meant to journey through life alone — and certainly not by carrying heavy feelings and concealing them from everyone and everything around us.

This week, be vulnerable. Ask that classmate to coffee. Have a hard conversation with your roommates. Consider seeking therapy. Open up to a friend about the ins and outs of your life. I dare you to do this and watch your life transform.