Be Brave, Be Vulnerable
We often hear the word “vulnerable” being used in a negative light. Being vulnerable, meaning to put ourselves in a position that has a chance of hurting us, is not inherently bad. Being in any relationship or friendship requires a certain amount of vulnerability, as you have to share your thoughts and feelings with another person and risk that that person may not always be in our lives. Though scary, it’s important to change the narrative of what being vulnerable means, especially to our girls. As Brene Brown has said, “Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy – the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.”
Imagine that your daughter comes home after school one day with a new friend, and both of them are so excited to have met one another. The new friend is a girl that just moved to your town from another city, and she has parents whose job forces them to relocate frequently. Your girl has already developed a connection with her new friend, and they share many of the same interests. While it’s so nice to see your daughter happy, she quickly learns that the newest addition to her life may need to move again at the end of the year. Knowing this, she is apprehensive about the friendship, and almost angry with her friend because she knows it may not last. Though you know how much it’ll hurt for her, and for you to watch her hurting, when the friend eventually moves away, how can you teach her that it’s worth pursuing the friendship?
No matter how frightening it can be, being vulnerable means being able to give some of the best parts of ourselves to another person, no matter how it’ll end. Teaching your daughter that staying friends with someone even if it ends in pain will rely on your daughter learning how to become vulnerable. In a situation like this, you could ask your daughter to talk about all the good things about her new friend, and to talk about all of the fun they have had in this short time. Now ask your daughter if she wishes that she had never met her friend. She will likely say no, because she has already made so many new memories. Now remind her that she will probably feel the same way a year from now, when her friend has gone away. Despite the distance they will have still made lasting memories and shared so many laughs and experiences, and nothing can take that away from her.
Being vulnerable takes a lot of courage. The most important thing to remember when embracing vulnerability is that you need to trust your heart. When your daughter learns to trust her heart, she can enter new friendships without worry about whether they will end, or if her friends will end up turning their backs on her. Instead, she will be the girl who beams positivity and is willing to be friends with everyone, because she knows that friendship and love are worth the sacrifice of vulnerability.