The Power of Vulnerability

by | Posted October 7th, 2013


“Vulnerability is not weakness. And that myth is profoundly dangerous.”(Brene Brown).

In this article over at Thought Catalog, Cat Tu writes about the myth of vulnerability. She gives examples where it is seen in the lens of that myth, as a weakness, and some counterexamples where it is a strength. Her examples of vulnerability as weakness often involve situations where we worry about labels; situations where expressing yourself can get you seen as a drama queen, or asking for  help can come off as needy. Most of the strength examples involve vulnerability in the context of relationships – such as admitting when you’re wrong, or sharing your emotional needs –  and that is where writing comes in. Writing is all about connections.

There’s a famous quote, sometimes attributed to Hemingway, that goes something like this: “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

That quote speaks to the same concept in a different voice. In writing, vulnerability is strength. Making connections inevitably opens up points of vulnerability – places where it is possible to attack the writing, or the writer. At the same time, these vulnerabilities are often what gives writing its strength. Metaphors, for example, can be a powerful way of illuminating a concept. But they are almost always imperfect in some way, and can be torn apart at their imperfect points. Many of the tools we use in writing are like this – both powerful and flawed. What’s more, many of those strengths and flaws cannot be teased apart from each other. The vulnerability is simply part of the equation, and very possibly an integral piece. It is certainly an interesting piece to explore.