We live in a world where exuding confidence is the ideal thing. People are encouraged to face life fearlessly. Any form of weakness is a deal-breaker. Social media has painted the world with all forms of positivity. Of people ‘living the dream’. Like you are the only one who has not figured out life yet. This situation makes us feel vulnerable. We are imperfect. We are the ones that need fixing. We hate being vulnerable, especially when everyone else seems to have their lives set up. It just doesn’t feel great. If everyone won the lottery, why should you be the odd one out? Therefore, our weaknesses must be hidden from others.
Back in my childhood, I had the opportunity to be selected from a pool of pupils in my state for an academic exercise. What we are required to do at the time was miles away from my comfort zone. We are to interview key government officials on political issues. Mine was a simple one: ask the commissioner of women affairs what her thoughts were on the idea of girls’ only primary school in the state. To mention, everybody on the team sort of ‘knows their onions’. Everyone is a top student in their school. As the interviews progressed, we drive from a government office to another in the state capital. Being terrified was an understatement for me. But I could see that everyone else was calm and collected. Heck, some were even playing. No one must know that I feel fear inside. The entire time, I was replaying scenarios of me failing before these intelligent people. My entire energy went into worrying and hiding the fact that I’m not as confident. Needless to say, it affected my performance. If you have been in my shoe, you will agree with me that this is not a good experience to have. You will do everything to make sure it doesn’t happen again. You will try to stay away from situations that have the tendencies to put you out there. This may mean turning down that job or refusing that speaking geek. The option gives us temporary relief. It affords us not to feel vulnerable again. It ties us to our comfort zone. Bind us to familiar waters.
Sticking to our comfort zones and hiding our flaws comes with a price, though. So many things that will help us grow and become better sit on the other side of the fence. Crossing that fence unveils our imperfection, and that is something we are not willing to do.
At some point, I had to accept that I will never be perfect. I will never be able to hide all my flaws from people. This realization has opened my eyes to a beautiful side of life. I have come to understand myself better and appreciate life more.
Below I give you reasons you should acknowledge your vulnerability and leverage it to build strength and confidence.
You understand yourself better
Hiding our vulnerability makes us numb certain things about ourselves. It becomes difficult to know our strengths and weaknesses. Because we never allow ourselves to try out new things, we don’t know what we are capable of. As it is said, “He who conquers others is strong; he who conquers himself is mighty.” Allowing yourself to be comfortable in your vulnerability and not minding what others think, gives you a better understanding of yourself. It reveals a new version of you.
You grow and become better
Because you don’t care to be seen as vulnerable and not a superhuman, you don’t fear taking opportunities and getting yourself out there. This opens the door to growth and self-improvement. We suddenly become open-minded and willing to rethink and shift our beliefs. Why become fixed-minded when we know we are not perfect and could make mistakes.
You perform at your best
What affects so many people today is the fear of what people think of them. This fear runs through their minds and ultimately affects how they function. A presenter, for instance, is constantly thinking about how they come across their audience. They worry if people can see through them and know that they are not that confident. The hypothetical presenter wants no one to notice his fear otherwise he’ll be seen as incompetent. Almost all their energy is channelled into finding out what people think of them. If we are open about our fears, we won’t mind if others notice them too. This will help us perform at our best, not minding what people think. After all, we are not perfect and we’ve made the point clear, so what’s the point?
You help others grow
Acknowledging our vulnerability helps others see themselves in a new light. It tells others around us that they are not defective. At least, someone next to them is also inadequate in some way. A single light source can reflect objects around it which creates a much brighter environment.
You become authentic
Since you no longer need to hide who you are or what your fears are, you present your authentic self every single day. You speak your truth and accept constructive criticisms in good light. You are just out there being you with no apologies.
Next time you are out there, know that there is nothing wrong with you. Nobody is complete. We all have weaknesses. What we do in spite of our weaknesses makes the whole difference. Acknowledging this face goes a long way to boost our confidence.