Vulnerability as a Journey to Growth and Change
Theresa Polley
May 1, 2019
September 11, 2023
Be Inspired

Vulnerability is frightening, but I've found a life lived with vulnerability is a life worth living. I view my vulnerability as a journey to growth and change. And even though I've been afraid—afraid to be hurt or to be taken advantage of—I believe the risk is well worth the payoff.

Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage. ~Brené Brown

Keeping my guard up, not allowing my heart to open, is the seemingly "safe" option when faced with the opportunity to be vulnerable. What I know now is that it’s a fear based excuse that leads to a less connected existence. That's not what I want! I know its scary, but I want to live and love with my heart wide open, embracing that vulnerable side of me on a daily basis. Living with my heart wide open, Living intentionally in the present moment, is rewarded with adventures and freedom.

What about you? Are you ready to open your heart to the possibilities of vulnerability?

The safe and sacred space of Retreat in the Pines is the perfect place to dip your toe into vulnerability. Many guests, whether they come to a retreat on their own or with someone they love, feel out of their comfort zone, another word for vulnerable. View our upcoming retreats here

What Does it Mean to Be Vulnerable?

I believe we are fearful to be found defenseless, so we keep our guards up and our hearts closed down. It's terrifying to let someone see us as we truly are, where our desperate needs and raw emotions lie exposed. But to live a deeply connected life, our vulnerability must come out into the open where we can grow and change; finding a place where we allow ourselves to breathe deeply and open up to the joy of endless possibilities that surround us in each passing moment. And though it may be scary, as with anything else, you can start with baby steps.

We asked you what vulnerability means to you. Thank you for opening up your hearts to us! Here's some of what you shared:

Vulnerability is

  • Putting yourself out there by opening up your heart and mind, regardless of your fears.
  • Where real truth begins!
  • Being less judgmental and controlling. Instead, opening my heart to become a more empathetic, caring and insightful person, willing to take chances despite the risks. Breaking down hard, protective walls built up over life's hard become a better human being not only for myself but for everyone around me.
  • Vulnerability is to lower our walls. Not only with people but with ourselves.
  • Allowing yourself to experience something that may be uncomfortable, be it an emotion, new relationship, or simply a self reflection that creates a stir...
  • Sitting in a straight backed chair on an elevated stage, with people all around you. The lighting is low and it's sunset. Each seated person gets to ask you whatever they want. You in your straight backed chair have to answer with absolute truth.
  • Having the courage to live from the heart and allowing for the same in others.
  • Sensitivity and a true opening of the heart. It allows us to love fully.
  • Open to all possibilities!

For an inspiring (and funny) talk on vulnerability, see Brene Brown's Netflix Special. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. I had the honor of seeing Brene a couple years ago in person - what incredible energy. And she's an introvert too! Here's also her Ted Talk which is a great watch.

Vulnerability: An Adventure

Since 2004, I've had the privilege of meeting so many amazing women at the retreats I've hosted. I've witnessed incredible changes in women's lives, I believe coming to a retreat opens up a door of possibility for the women who are ready for it. Willingness to be vulnerable creates a richer retreat experience.

As I observe diverse groups of women gathering together in the intimate setting of Retreat in the Pines, beginning or continuing their journey of lowering their walls, I am truly humbled by the connection and healing that occurs. It has been my experience, the women who are willing to open up and share with one another and allow themselves to be vulnerable, go home with a renewed perspective on life.

‍Practice Vulnerability

I believe vulnerability - like kindness, gratitude and mindfulness - is a practice. I'm not sure if it ever gets easy, but the more you allow yourself to be vulnerable, the more you can settle yourself into a routine of vulnerability, where it begins to feel familiar. I wouldn't recommend walking up to a perfect stranger and sharing your secrets! Start with a close friend and share something you may not have shared before.

‍Seek Vulnerable Moments

Share your struggles with a friend. Stop pretending everything is ok. Tell someone how you really feel. Do something that completely terrifies you - whether it's a blind date, skydiving or talking in front of a group.

Vulnerable moments, no matter how terrifying and no matter the outcome, are the sweet spots in life when we begin to open and even change.

Get Vulnerable at a Retreat

If you're looking for an opportunity to get vulnerability, surrounded by a community of supportive women, we invite you to join us for an upcoming retreat.

This blog is intended to provide helpful suggestions for self care and overall well-being. I am not a mental health professional. If you’re struggling I encourage you to seek the help of a professional. Find a Mental Health Professional | National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline: Dial 988

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Theresa Polley

Theresa believes ALL women have the right to live life on their own terms. In 2004, she created Retreat in the Pines to give women a safe space to be their authentic selves without apology while finding the healing and renewal they deserve.

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