Why An Introvert Needs The Dreaded “V” Word: Vulnerability

“V” is for Vulnerability.   Most of us are conditioned to shield ourselves from vulnerability, especially as Introverts.

The fear is that if we open ourselves up, we will invite unwanted criticism.  This is a real possibility but more likely is the opposite:  Praise or at the very least understanding.

Here is an example from my own life.  I used to get really frustrated by the assumptions people made about me, especially at work.  “She’s so quiet” or “No one really knows who she is”.  You see, I happily wore the social mask of reserved but professional (and don’t come any closer please).   This worked well for the most part because I worked with a lot of people who wore the same mask.  Not showing emotions was implicit and to do so invited possible peril (as in “there’s no crying in baseball!”)

One day, out of pure exasperation and quite possibly anger, I came across this article that changed every thing for me.  The title is “Revenge of the Introverts” by Laurie Helgoe, Ph. D.

I actually saw this a few years ago on the cover of Psychology Today magazine when I was in the grocery store   Reading this article was confirmation that there was in fact, nothing wrong with me and a lot right with me.   This illumination was only the first step.   The next step was the harder one which was me deciding to share this information with my coworkers, in a meeting, as a speaker.   Sigh.   Not my favorite venue but I was willing to open myself up, to be vulnerable so that I could finally be heard and hopefully understood a bit better.  The result?   I saw something click in the audience.  It was more than polite nodding of heads.  I could feel resonance in the air.   The door to understanding was opening if ever so slightly.

This simple act gave way to a stronger sense of confidence in myself.   I began to push against the extroverted dogma that dominated my work environment and began to speak up more and more.   This increased my “visibility” and got me noticed.  I was given more responsibility, a lot more in fact because I cared enough about myself to show who I really was and without apology.    

This is why Introverts need to be willing to be vulnerable.  If you want change, if you want to be understood, you have to open yourself up, in increments if you have to.   I know you may feel that you shouldn’t “have” to and you honestly do not.  However, I truly want more of us to be understood.  It’s been my experience that vulnerability can be a good thing, when you are ready and if you want to realize lasting change.

Please share with me in the comments ways in which you have or are willing to be vulnerable.

All my best,

Christian

Christian Marie Herron is and Executive Coach and Personal Development Strategist.  She is the owner of The Introvert Ideal and specializes in helping introverted professionals build success by embracing and leveraging natural strengths.  http://www.christianmarieherron.com/

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. I must confess when I was reading this is was like reading about me. It took many years before people began to understand me and I how to help them understand me. Great post!
    Geek Girl recently posted…Careline Home Safety Telephone SystemMy Profile

  2. Pat- thank you so much for allowing me to guest post on your site! I admire your work.

    Geek Girl- so glad my post resonated with you! It’s up to us Introverts to let people in on who really are. It takes a willingness to be vulnerable and the result is that we stand up for ourselves. :)

  3. I can relate. That was me in my former life. I pushed my self to speak up, even when it felt very uncomfortable. That alone pushed me up the ranks to VP several times. Now, I’m in a different arena, blogging. I speak with my true voice and it does feel good.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Super Easy Chili: RecipeMy Profile

  4. Susan,

    Thank you for confirming the benefits of sharing your true voice! Others will read this and be encouraged by your willingness to speak up for yourself. For me, the first time I did this was so scary but it totally paid off.

    I believe people truly want to understand us better. :)

  5. Christian,

    Thank you for posting this article. I can relate immensely. When I first starting working at my current job, I kept to myself all the time. I would entertain a few people with the dreaded small talk, but I just wanted to keep to myself mainly in fear of having to open up and be judged by people I practically lived with. Then, I had a break. Work was getting extremely stressful and everyone was on anxiety over-load. It was a time to reach out to everyone for help. I took it upon myself to start sitting with people, one on one, and learn a little more about the role they played in the grand scheme of work. By doing this, I learned invaluable information that has saved me on many occasions. I also opened up and made some great friends along the way! Now, I have kept my job since I can be a support role in case individuals are away, as well as work productively with everyone when we are on a tight deadline. I wish I read this earlier because it has made such a profound difference in my work-life now. Also, it opens the door for more effective communication which we all need.

    I always refer back to the quote which I believe is from a movie, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of courage, and I promise you something great will come of it.”

    Sometimes that 20 seconds of vulnerability will change your life.

    Best,
    Megg

  6. Thank you Megg! I love your quote of “20 seconds of courage”. That’s really all it takes but those 20 seconds can be agonizing for some introverts to even contemplate.

    I am so glad you discovered strategies that helped you with work. It’s so, so helpful to hear/see other introvert’s stories.

    I appreciate all of your comments very much.

    All my best to you,

    Christian

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