Vulnerability as a Catalyst for Personal Growth

Let the World See us as We Are

Isioma Ononye
4 min readMar 12, 2023

Photo by Prince Akachi on Unsplash

When you think about the word “vulnerability,’’ you can often associate it with negative connotations such as being weak or emotional.

I used to associate vulnerability as a form of weakness but I’ve come to accept and embrace my vulnerability.

I’ve also learned that being vulnerable does not have to be a form of shame but it can be a superpower in your growth journey.

Here is how to use vulnerability as a catalyst for your development.

Vulnerability Helps You to See Yourself Clearly

I’ve gone through moments of sadness and disappointment in my life. I’ve gone through moments where I’ve felt not good enough. Moments where I didn’t feel seen and it almost seemed as though my life had no value.

Being vulnerable helped me to get out of those dark moments because then I got to question myself. Question my thoughts.

I got to question where I’ve gone wrong and what’s needed for me to do better.

Being vulnerable led me to admit I was not okay. To admit I needed support which led me to therapy and to understand myself better. To understand how my flawed perception of myself was affecting every area of my life.

Being vulnerable is not easy but sometimes, it is needed for you to get to clarity.

If you are not feeling okay, admit it. If you are sad, that’s okay. Be sad and get some help.

Emotions Can Be a Guide towards What Matters Most to You

Photo by Belle Maluf on Unsplash

When I’m vulnerable with myself, I admit where my passion is. When I’m vulnerable with myself, I admit what I care about most.

I remember in college wanting to put “women’s studies,’’ as a minor and someone said, “why, don’t they all just sit around and complain?”

Back then, I felt insecure about my love for feminism.

Even when I was hosting events on campus, some people would say “who cares?’’ Then, I didn’t know how to respond. I said nothing but now, I can tell you that I Care.

When you are vulnerable, you are okay with doing what matters to you even if it does not make sense to anyone else because deep down you know where your heart is at. You know where your joy is at.

Admit to yourself where your joy is at and then go after what lights you up.

Being Vulnerable Fosters Stronger Connections and Support

When I’m vulnerable, I connect with those around me because of that level of honesty and transparency, especially with my immediate family.

When I can admit the areas I’ve struggled with in my life such as loneliness or career setbacks, then I can better connect with others because my family is that emotional support that can encourage me. They remind me of who I am when I can’t see who I am.

Even apart from my family, being honest about my pain points through writing opens me up to connecting with like-minds and this is needed for connection. This is needed because we are all human and it matters for us to know we are not alone in the world.

I state this because sometimes what hinders our personal growth is that we don’t have the right connections and support system.

Vulnerability strengthens your connections and support system because of the bond it creates when you can be real with others.

Take baby steps to tell parts of your truth you are comfortable with to others.

This should be with people you trust and see how that can foster a sense of connection in your life.

Being Vulnerable Encourages You to Do Better

When you are most vulnerable with yourself, you can see where your shortcomings are and that helps you to know the areas in your life where you need to work on yourself.

Being vulnerable encourages you to take the steps needed to improve.

For example, when you are vulnerable, you can admit your bad habits.

Some of mine include being late, not keeping up with fitness goals or not making smart financial decisions.

Acknowledging and admitting your shortcomings enables you to figure out how you can make a change in the right direction.

Final Thoughts

Being vulnerable is difficult. It’s like having a wound or scar and opening it up for someone else to see.

You don’t know what their reaction will be like and it’s scary because the outcome could be painful.

Yet, I’m learning that being vulnerable also leads to beautiful moments.

Beautiful moments enable you to see things differently. Beautiful moments allow others to truly see you. To be there for you.

Beautiful moments lead you to connect in ways that are meaningful.

Moments for you to cry, laugh out loud and simply give yourself a break.

Go ahead. Be vulnerable and peel the layers off yourself.

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Isioma Ononye

I write about self-esteem, faith, mental health, women’s issues, social media & 🎥TV + Movie Reviews. 🗞️Newsletter: https://substack.com/@isiomaononye