How being vulnerable can significantly improve your life?

What is the first thought that pops up to your mind when you hear the word ‘vulnerable’?

Some people think about being defenseless. Some people’s stomach churn.

Some cringe. Some feel exposed.

Whatever it is, most people associate a negative emotion with it.

And I was no different. I wore an armor, a shield to ‘protect myself’ until a few years ago.

That’s why we all resist to be vulnerable, isn’t it? So that we can “protect” ourselves.

Then I found out how vulnerability can be a positive thing. And since I’ve started living by being vulnerable, my life has significantly changed — for the better.

And I want to do the same for you. 

Lets start by busting the most common myth, shall we? 

1. Vulnerability ≠Weakness

I know you’ve associated vulnerability with weakness since years.

Vulnerability does mean exposing your weaknesses. It requires letting everyone see your flaws out in the open.

It requires to be real. It takes courage to be so authentic.

And it might feel uncomfortable, icky and weak.

But allow me tell you something: Being vulnerable does not mean you’re weak. Period.

I don’t deny that being vulnerable opens doors for us to easily get hurt, heartbroken and disappointed.

But it also makes us more joyous, open and free.

I used to ponder for hours over something someone had said to me that hurt. I started overthinking. But I never even thought of saying it out loud.

Soon, when I found this to be harmful, I started giving myself a choice:
A. Shut up and put it all inside
B. Share, communicate and feel exposed

At first, I was petrified of choosing the second option. But when I did it, I could not have felt better.

I thought vulnerability feels like weakness, but it felt like courage.

When I simply put my feelings out in the open, my mental health improved. My relationships became better. And I started to feel happiness.

This is how exposing yourself to be heartbroken also actually makes you free.

To be human is to have insecurities, weaknesses, sensitivity and flaws.

Being vulnerable requires  more strength than resisting vulnerability. Having a wall up is easier than freeing yourself of cages.

And guess what? Vulnerability has a sly unexpected advantage to it apart from liberating you…

2. Vulnerability makes you attractive

It’s true.

In dating, in friendships, in relationships, vulnerability makes you likable. It makes you connect.

In the book “Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People” , Vanessa Van Edwards mentions several experiments that prove vulnerability is attractive.

One of those was a study conducted by Richard Wiseman where two actresses were supposed to sell smoothies to mall-goers.

The first actress was perfect. Flawless. She gave a yummy blender to the audience without a single mistake. On the other hand, the second actress “accidentally” forgets to tighten the lid and spills the entire smoothie over her.

A total loss of likability, right?

Wrong.

She sold more. She was also rated better by the viewers.

Why?

Mistakes humanized her. It increased her influence over the audience. Admitting to your weakness can do more harm than good.

So instead of trying to be perfect, just be yourself. 

And I know it’s hard to embrace your flaws and laugh at your mistakes. It’s not easy to love your insecurities.

So, don’t.

The problem isn’t that you don’t love your flaws, or don’t love your insecurities, the problem is you don’t accept them.

You don’t need to love that you’re anxious. You just need to accept it.

When you’re honest in your flaws, people meet you halfway. And that’s how you build relationships…

3. Vulnerability improves your relationships

In this TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown, a social worker who studies human connections, tells her story of finding the importance of being vulnerable.

She made two groups: first one had a really strong sense of love and belonging while the second one struggled with the mindset.

What was the difference she found? She found that those who had a strong sense of love and belonging believed that they are worthy of love and belonging.

Yes, it’s that simple.

But, they also demonstrated connection, compassion and courage. They let go of “what they should be” and instead became “what they were” . In this sense, they were authentic- to others and to themselves.

This group also embraced that what made them vulnerable made them beautiful.

They believed in the importance of saying “I love you” first, about doing something willingly even when there are no guarantees.

By letting others in, you’ll feel more connected, more confident and more cheerful.

You make deeper connections with someone when you tell them about your sorrows. You will feel more close to someone when you listen to what makes them cry.

It is through these little things, through these little vulnerable moments that you feel connected, these are the things that truly nourish your relationship.

And if you think that vulnerability only gives you a boost to your personal life, you cannot be farther from the truth…

4. Vulnerability makes you a better leader

People misunderstand that being a great leader is to have all the answers. But one of the critical components of leadership is the ability to be vulnerable with others.

I know it is easier said than done. Being vulnerable is not crying in the middle of a meeting. It is asking questions rather than always being the expert. It is accepting that you don’t know something. It’s taking feedback.

Even as simple as asking for help can do wonders to your professional life. You might always be reluctant to ask for advice from someone –they’ve got their own problems to solve– and it might make others think less of you.

But actually, asking for help makes you look smarter. 

Yes, that’s correct. When you ask for advice, you boost the advisory’s ego and he might think, “This guy is smart for asking advice from me.”

Just like in life, there is no guarantee for success in work. Instead of hiding behind perfectionism, allow yourself to be truly seen.

5. Vulnerability makes you say “yes”

It’s important to say “no”. It’s important to set boundaries. It’s important to spend your time wisely.

But it’s also necessary to say “yes” more often. Especially to the things you’ve never said yes to.

And you all know where the amazing stuff takes place, outside your comfort zone.

Saying “yes” to an opportunity is saying “yes” to vulnerability and saying “yes” to vulnerability is saying yes to stepping out of your comfort zone.

When you let yourself be yourself, you learn that you’re not indestructible. When you become vulnerable, you take the risk, instead of wondering.

Those thoughts that make you say no do still arise. What if I fail? What if I’m no good at it? What if I embarrass myself and others laugh at me?

But you take a deep breath, and you say yes anyway.

Vulnerability does not make you fearless.

It requires practice. It takes courage, every single time. You will still fear. But, that fear won’t hold you back.

When you do something scary, towards the end, you realize that it wasn’t that hard. It was the energy consumed in not being vulnerable that made it so hard.

How do you inculcate vulnerability in your life?

Don’t hold yourself back. Ask questions, express your opinion, confess what hurts you. 

Say “yes” more often. Don’t let the fear in you stop you from going at something you know you should do.

Is it easy? No, of course not. It requires uncomfortable moments, rejections, courage, patience and practice.

For the split of a second, it’ll seem like the hardest thing to do.

Like the scariest thing you’ve ever done. Like a terrifying nightmare.

But after that, everything will become simplified.

You will make better connections. Your relationships will be more meaningful. You will accept yourself and will truly embrace your imperfections.

There’ll be no “What if?”

What if you dropped the need to protect yourself? What if you accepted that all of us go through struggle, learning and growth? What if you believed that regardless of your imperfections, you are worthy to be respected, valued and loved?

Drop that shiny, sparkly facade of who you are. You’ll be glad you did.

Start here. Start now.

Answer in the comment section below, share, what holds you back from being vulnerable in front of others?

Fight Club Lessons: Why You’re Not As Special As A Snowflake?

You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You are not your fucking khakis. You are all singing, all dancing crap of the world.

-Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Or Tyler Durden.

All of you know this name from 17 years ago. The freedom Tyler taught us still live and exist as principles to liberation.

And, do you know what’s the greatest liberty? What’s the thing that Tyler Durden had and you don’t?

The acceptance that you aren’t special.

Tyler didn’t believe that he is a revolutionary stud to change the perceptions of any unnamed protagonist like Edward Norton.

Do you know the statistics of what your experiences or your pain matters after you die? 0%.

Sad? I don’t think so.

 

The Universe Doesn’t Give A Fuck About You

Do you know how the world started?

It all starts with a Big Bang and the energy that is released takes a million years just to cool down and form stars. Stars ignite, form clusters and become galaxies.

Finally, rocks collide and planets are created, including Earth.

And life on Earth doesn’t start until a few more billion years. And you humans? You are just 200,000 years old.

Do you think that the space and the not-so-tiny-twinkling stars give a fuck about why you cried last night?

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It has a life. It has too much going on. You’re too irrelevant to notice. You aren’t the center of the universe.

Not only you, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tyler Durden, Angelina Jolie, everyone you think is special – isn’t to the universe. They too are, just like you, another human that’s gonna die and decompose.

You have a nanosecond on the universal clock to do whatever you want with this life. Do you want a major part of that nanosecond whining?

Who are you complaining too, anyways? You might think people care, but…

 

Nobody Gives A Fuck About You

Sounds harsh, but it’s the truth.

Everyone has their own share of baggage to carry and cry about. They don’t give a tiny rat’s ass about how you’re dealing with your miserable life.

You may take every action of people personally, but it’s almost never about you.

Dushka Zapata, a top writer of Quora, explains beautifully how setting your ego aside helps you suffer less, get offended less and suffer less.

Paranoia is just narcissism.

Sure, you may have your family and some close friends that care about you. They help you whenever you need.

But they don’t think about you, as much as you think about yourself.

Why? Because they think about themselves, just like you.

If you live in a constant anxiety of how people are judging you, you live in a little ugly nutshell that you created for yourself.

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A big part of becoming an adult is realizing that people think about themselves, not about you. They think about how their workday went and how they’ll get that promotion, not about how brutally your boss scolded you today.

The opinions of people you’re worrying about don’t think ill of you. They don’t even think bad of you. They just don’t think about you, at all.

Now that I’ve successfully made you realize how you don’t matter at all, let me tell you why it’s awesome…

 

Being A Snowflake Sucks

Angelina Jolie was suicidal. J K Rowling battled depression. Lincoln suffered anxiety for years. Art Buchwald had bipolar disorder.

These are extremely successful people, who fought emotionally before fitting in your image as a perfect snowflake.

Those ‘special’ CEOs, have double the rate of depression than general public. This is despite their success. And sometimes, even because of it.

Being unique is nice, but it isn’t sufficient for a total well-being and happiness. It surely isn’t the answer.

Success has so many counter-intuitive effects that sometimes it can put people into mental instability.

Even if you get to become the most special of all, you will still be lonely. You will still be frustrated. You will still doubt yourself. You will still worry.

You think you could enjoy all the attention you get, if you ever become that perfect famous snowflake, but it’s not that pretty a picture.

If you don’t get pleasure in mundane activities, you won’t get it anywhere. Simplicity gives happiness more than anything ever can.

Everyone more or less, is an average human being. Thinking you’re born a rare endangered butterfly in the 21st century is just idiotic.

It’s not so bad, being regular. You aren’t entitled to being special. No one is. They just worked the impossible with a tinge of luck.

“You are not special. You’re not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You’re the same decaying organic matter as everything else. We’re all part of the same compost heap. We’re all singing, all dancing crap of the world.”

I know the world is SCREAMING in your ears about how special each and everyone is in the universe, but narcissism is just making you unhappy. 

There is one thing as loving yourself, treating yourself right, respecting yourself, celebrating your individuality and another as thinking yourself as the only lily left in the world.

A fine line, egocentricity and self-love.

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Taking yourself so seriously ruins the fun. If you’re God’s unwanted children, so BE IT!

Have you ever thought yourself as ‘too’ special and took things too personally? What was your experience?

I’d love to know in the comments below.

Is Positive Thinking A Pill For Curing Every Life Event?

Positive thinking is a just another staggering “feel-good” element today.

If you search Amazon for “positive thinking”, you are poured with numerous books to stay positive. The same goes for infinite articles on Google. And all of you know about the motivational videos that pop up on YouTube.

But the problem is: Positive thinking is junk food for the mind.

It might make you feel good now, but it’s going to make your mind unhealthy in the long run.

I know that the world has been preaching the perception of positive thinking since Norman Vincent’s “The Power of Positive Thinking”.

The thing is, it worked for the same reason Rhonda’s “The Secret” works in our generation: Making you feel airy-fairy good.

You might rub your evidences and fairy-tales on my face now, so I got this:

The Flaws In Positive Thinking Researches

Before you throw all your ambiguous studies about how positive people are healthier than others or live longer, I want you to know something:

These studies are correlation studies. They do examine statistical connection between two things but do not specify the cause and effect.

This means, that positive thinking might make you healthier or that eating healthier might make you think positively.

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Another interpretation: These correlations between positive outlook and longer lives might be the result of a third factor- say, being highly energetic or exercising.

The same reasons might also be valid for better job performance at work and lifting of depressed moods.

So, the researches that make you feel all rosy about positive perceptions might not be accurate.

Now, you might argue that positive thinking has led people out of the dark. It may have made them feel better about their life… Or…

The results might have been counter-intuitive.

The Negative Effects Of Positive Outlooks

Barbara Ehrenreich, in her book, “Bright-Sided: How Positive Thinking Is Undermining America” tells that “power of positive thinking” might not help us get happy, rich or cure cancer.

Being a patient of breast cancer herself, Barbara exposes the downsides of positive thinking with clarity and pissing-on-the-face honesty.

She argues that positive thinking is a force that masks unhappiness and poses dangers to the economy:

“Positive thinking promised them a sense of control in a world where the “cheese” was always moving. They may have had less and less power to chart their own futures, but they had been given a worldview — a belief system, almost a religion — that claimed they were in fact infinitely powerful, if they could only master their own minds.”

Ehrenreich also notes that while looking at the bright side of a bad situation may make feel one better on an individual level, but, it discourages any sort of collective action.

And psychology has found this to be true.

Having positive thinking fools your mind to believe that you have already achieved a goal, which makes you sluggish to actually work for it.

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Positive fantasies reduce your future effort.  In a study, students were asked to think about positive things that’d happen if the health crisis in Sierra resolved. Others were asked factual descriptions about what’d happen after crisis ends.

Afterward, these students were asked to donate money to the charity. They could give a small donation($1) or a large donation($25), which was a large sum for an undergraduate.

The results were: Positive thinkers almost never donated $25, while 25% of those who gave factual description were willing to donate.

Another study in the same context found that: Those who thought positively about the crisis were less likely to volunteer their time too, compared to those who factually thought about the crisis.

Hey, fantasies are good. So is envisioning your success. But, only as long as you’re ready to indulge in the real thing. 

And, about getting the depressed in the light, positive thinking doesn’t work so well there either:

Positive thinking actually has opposite effects on people with low self-esteem.

In a series of studies, participants (grouped in high self-esteem and low self-esteem) were asked to conditionally repeat positive self-affirmation statements, every 15 seconds in 4 minutes.

Another group of a mixture of high self-esteem and low self-esteem were asked to have no self-statements.

Clearly, the high self-esteem participants in no self-statements condition had yet higher esteem than their peers in low self esteem.

However, in the positive self-affirmations condition, repeating statements like “I am lovable” put low self-esteem participants in even a worse mood. Not only this, they had even a lower self-esteem than those of the no self-statements group.

The affirmation did the antonym of what it was supposed to do.

Why?

Because, what you resist, persists.

No, really. Thinking about not to think negative thoughts actually leads to more accumulation of negative thoughts.

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It’s the irony Dan Wegner told us on thought suppression. He asked participants to speak consciously of their thoughts for five minutes, while trying not to think of a white bear.

If it does come to mind, he told them to ring a bell.

Despite the instructions to avoid thinking about it, participants rang the bell more than once per minute, on average. 

It’s obvious, the paradox of unwanted thoughts:

A part of your brain does resist thinking about the forbidden, but another part also keeps “checking” that you don’t think about it, therefore, ironically, bringing it up.

So, the more you try not to think about negativity, the more you think about it. The same goes with happiness.

The more you try to become happy, the less you are.

I know that positive thinking does make you feel better. And yes, it might. Sure it will.

But in the long run, it will lead you to feeling more distressed.

In his book, “The Antidote: Happiness For People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking”, Oliver Burkeman highlights this.

When you think positively about the future, it results in you being less prepared now, and more worried later.

Worse, it leads to increased symptoms of depression.

Solution

I just want to clarify, I am not posing suffering in a romantic way.

I’m just telling to not see the glass half-full when it’s lying shattered on the floor.

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Accepting things not as our minds pose them to be but as they actually are is not dumping positivism out of our lives. It’s creeping in realism.

The solution is not to lay hopeless. It’s to not decline pain, suffering and failures. Because, believe it or not, these are the things that actually makes you grow and learn.

You need to understand, it’s okay not to be okay. Follow the radical acceptance theory, which tells to accept problems rather than denying them.

There is no sense either, in denying problems. Problems make you flourish and take you out of your comfort zone. They make you grow into a stronger and better person.

Instead of wishing for great rewards, wish for good problems. We all need suffering in our lives.

Think of the worse that could happen and stay prepared for it. If not, you might end up getting disappointed and unsuccessful.

Conclusion

While positivism is a great thing to intricate in one’s life, it’s effects can be counter-intuitive.

Researches have shown that excess of positive perception could lead you to laziness in achieving your goals and a lower self esteem in those with already low boosts of confidence.

Believing things are good as they are makes us resist to making them better.

Positive thinking is amazing. But let’s get real: Positive thinking doesn’t fix problems.

It just makes you ignore them.

What are your thoughts about positive thinking? How has it affected your life?

I’d love to know in the comment section below!

4 Myths About Not Giving A F*ck

We all admire people who don’t give a fuck.

“Look at Adam. He cheated on his wife by sleeping with our boss’ girlfriend. Man, that dude doesn’t give a fuck.”

And social media constantly reminds you too, right? Don’t care about your grades. Don’t care about having a social life. Don’t care about your health. Don’t care about flushing your shit out of public toilets.

Make memes out of it and laugh.

As much as I adore not giving a fuck, the new trends have attached certain myths to it.

Sure, don’t give a fuck about what other people say. Don’t give a fuck that the receptionist had a bad day and took it out on you. Show a middle finger to your coworker who wouldn’t stop complaining about you.

But hey, give a fuck when your relationships are sliding down the treadmill because you’re an asshole. Give a fuck when you’ve not exercised in weeks and are gaining grams by minutes.

In this article, I’m going to clear out certain misconceptions about this hyped approach to life:

1. You Shouldn’t Give A Fuck About Anything

I have often seen people making jokes out of how they have absolutely zero friends, how their couch is “the one” for them, how they’re disturbing their minds and how they forgot to wipe their assess after they took a shit.

I’m all in for laughing at yourself. It’s a healthy sense of humor.

But, if you laugh at how much your life sucks and you don’t do anything about it, you’re just a lazy potato. 

It’s important to care for your health, if anyone didn’t tell you that already. And it’s a dark sense of humor that allows you to not have friends, family, or a social life.

I’ve seen my friends laughing at how they never get shit done, how they cannot wake up early and how night owls scroll Instagram all night, and how much of “uncool” I am to not relate to them.

If that sounds familiar to you, go ahead and be uncool. Be unsexy. Care for yourself. Try your best to maintain a life full of purpose and meaning.

But don’t give a fuck if you fail. Laugh at how you were unsuccessful. Get up and start hustling again.

Do you see the difference?

2. Don’t Give A Fuck About What People Say

Me and my friends went to a restaurant for lunch. Soon enough, this gang starts singing loudly, hurling abuses at the speed of light and having a “good time.”

When I asked them to keep it down, I was told “Girl, don’t give a fuck about what other people think.”

Would you say the same to the shithole who’s ruining your weekend lunch?

Giving a fuck is your responsibility if what you do is harming other people.

I bet you’ve heard this a million times. Quit your job. Pack your bag and travel the world with no money. Cheat on your partner. Don’t give a fuck about what people think.

Your mother has been yelling at you to get up from that sofa and go for a walk. But don’t give a fuck about your health. Your friends kept telling you how alcohol addiction is harming you. But don’t give a fuck about what your peers say.

And then five years later, an obese alcoholic is crying in his therapy sessions about how no one ever gave a fuck.

If someone who cares about you says you’re doing something wrong, give it a thought. They care for you. More often than not, it’s for your own good.

3. Not Giving A Fuck = Being Indifferent

How many times have you pretended to “not give a fuck” in a relationship?

I’m guilty of it myself.

Trying to act all cool, like you don’t give a tiny rat’s ass whether the other person is okay. But, you know, secretly peeping into their social media and their friend’s to see what they’re up to.

People also show this “I don’t give a fuck” when something disappointing happens to them. Instead of accepting that they’re hurt, their ego tells them “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we pretend like this isn’t painful, at all? Others will admire as us strong people.”

And so you mask your tears using Snapchat filters.

Acting indifferent is almost always considered equivalent to not giving a fuck. But actually indifferent people are the ones who give the most fucks about everything.

When I acted like I don’t give a fuck about this relationship, it didn’t last long. And I was the one crying because I didn’t make enough efforts. I actually gave the most fucks about it.

It feels like you’ve been holding your breath but you’re refusing to let it go. You want to accept and exhale, but you pretend it’s all cool and balloon up your face.

Because what if I’m not cool enough? What if I seem like the guy who “cares too much” if I fight for what I believe in?

If you watch something wrong happening in front of your eyes and you don’t give a fuck about it, you’re not cool. You’re just a coward who isn’t courageous to stand up for what he believes in.

When you don’t give a fuck, you stand up for anything wrong happening to you and face the adversity of your choices and decisions without giving a fuck about what people say.

Now, that, is admirable.

4. When You Don’t Give A Fuck, You Don’t Have Any Problems In Life

The ones above acting indifferent are believed to have their life sorted out. If they have any problem, they have the ability to show up their finger.

Bust this myth right out the window. No one’s life is absent of problems. Especially those, who pretend they don’t have any problems.

And the truly “not give a fuck” people don’t actually pray for no problems. They know that problems are the things that keep life and interesting, motivated and meaningful.

They pray for better problems. Fuckworthy problems.

Not giving a fuck is often synonyms with confidence and success. But while that attitude helps, it doesn’t ensure absence of difficulties.

Don’t pray that you don’t get any problems at all. Pray that you get good problems. Problems that deserve your fucks.

What are the problems you’d pray for? What are the problems you’d show a middle finger to? Tell me in the comment section below!