by Koyo Do
Team 9 of Knowmads
“It’s very important to be vulnerable and to show the things you’re afraid and ashamed of to everybody—not just to people you love but also to the public. That way, we have a connection. We create trust. ”
- Marina Abramovic, a world-renowned performance artist.
I always acknowledged the power of vulnerability in art. Art has helped me understand that I am not alone in this world, and that there are people out there who are also going through the same struggles, the same sorrow, and the same joy. Art brings us together. Take music, for instance. That one song is so relatable, it could have been about you. Just to realize that, probably whoever wrote that song has been in your shoes too.
But vulnerability is not exclusively for art pieces. What about vulnerability in daily life?
Vulnerability as an Invitation to Truly Connect
Being vulnerable, or exposing yourself, takes a lot of guts. It means that you have already accepted the fact that you run the risk of being ridiculed, being judged, and being hurt in search of that deep connection. For me, it is the kind of connection where everyone is accepted for being who they are - without judgement, without masks, without bullshit.
Realistically speaking, being vulnerable doesn’t magically bring true friends. In fact, true friends are pretty darn hard to find because we are all unique with unique experiences in this so diverse world. But when we finally establish a deep connection: We might have found a friend who we can share a long meaningful journey with, and we are making our lives fuller keeping relationships that really matter.
Vulnerability as an Instrument to Nurture Growth
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. This quote by Nietzsche is a bit cliche now, but nonetheless it is still a beautiful mentality that might help you pull through this unpredictable and intense experience we call “life”.
Being vulnerable is of course not a magic tool that automatically makes everyone around you vulnerable and authentic towards you. I still get hurt from time to time, but I ask myself: Is it fair to expect something from other people? Instead, why don’t I think of vulnerability as an opportunity for myself? It is an opportunity to get to know myself better through social interaction, to learn what is important to me, and to establish healthy boundaries.
Vulnerability as a Medium to Construct an Everlasting Team
At Knowmads, I had a chance to practice deep listening with a group of strangers.
We always start and end our day with a process called “check in” and “check out”. It is a ritual where we listen to each other without judgement, without interruption - just respect and understanding. That’s when I realized how powerful vulnerability truly is: We can all facilitate and be part of a community where everyone has each other’s backs.
When we all can empathize with each other, I certainly believe that we can walk through anything together - it’s us vs. the problem.
Something we can Ponder Together
According to a research on trust by Mekong Development Research Institute, a whooping 42.57% of the surveyed people in Vietnam states that they rarely let their guards down in any interaction with others.
What has happened to them and caused them to lose faith in others?
Will we have healthier relationships when we all open our hearts to one another, and give each other a chance?
I do not have the answer to those questions. But I do know that, since I’ve started opening my heart and opening my mind, my world has become richer and richer everyday.
What about you? Which beautiful side of you are you going to show a stranger today?