By Isabela Collins ATC
Vulnerability: Probably one of the hardest qualities to obtain; and to most people it is probably a negative quality to have. In my opinion, I think it is one of the greatest assets a person can have. So, what exactly is “being vulnerable”? To me, being vulnerable is being your most authentic self, no matter what situation you are in. To expose yourself emotionally and show your true self.
You are probably thinking that you do that all the time, but look deep down and really ask yourself, is that a mantra you live by? If the answer is no, don’t worry, you are not alone. Being vulnerable is a lot harder than it seems and it is especially for women because we are constantly criticized for how we look and act. Society has us pictured a certain way for us to live by, but in reality we are all different and there’s no rule book to follow. We are our own worst critic, always comparing ourselves to others and how we perceive their lives (majorly through social media).
We are always trying to act and be the way we think society and others want us to act. “Not being 100%” is uncommon or frowned upon. That puts a toll on our mental health, self esteem, and our body in general. Changing our mindset and trying to be vulnerable is a job in and of itself. You are opening and exposing your true light…which is scary because others may not perceive it the same way as you; but it is a leap that should be taken to make great human connections.
I did not always think this way though. I was a very self conscious individual, always worried about everyone liking me and changing myself to fit in with the people I was around. I was on social media comparing myself and thinking I would be happier if I had what they had, but never thought to search within myself and observe what I had and what I was taking for granted. I felt lost. I had graduated from college two years prior and thought I had to live my life a certain way to be accepted into adulthood, I was not happy with my day to day lifestyle, and was always looking to Instagram to envy the life of my followers. I didn’t know who I was, there wasn’t anything defining or interesting about me. I developed depression and anxiety and could not figure out a way out.
I had the opportunity to attend Camp Kulabunga: a camp put on by Grant Kwiecinski (aka GRiZ) and his friends in Michigan that focuses on self empowerment and community. This retreat changed my life and how I live it. I realized what I wanted to do with the rest of my life and feel complete once again. One of the biggest takeaways I learned was the positive outcomes from being my true self: being vulnerable to others and how to shed that light to others around me. I met the most genuine people that turned into family and made the most authentic connections I have in my lifetime, even though it was only 4 days. I was able to open up without the fear of being judged, and in turn was able to hear other people’s stories.
Being vulnerable is like a domino effect, once you can be vulnerable to someone, they in turn will feel more comfortable to do the same. It is taking that leap to start it and see the ripple effect. In most cases, you are not alone. During my time at Camp Kulabunga, I heard so many stories that I related to and made me realize that my insecurity or fear is very common among others. It was so nice to talk to someone with the same issue and work through it together and to know I have someone to fall back to if and when i needed it. It’s ok to not be ok!
“Being vulnerable is like a domino effect, once you can be vulnerable to someone, they in turn will feel more comfortable to do the same. It is taking that leap to start it and see the ripple effect. In most cases, you are not alone.”
-Isabela Collins ATC
Once you are vulnerable with someone, it connects us on a deeper level. Once I started exposing myself emotionally to friends I have known for years, our relationship flourished. I noticed how close we got in the last couple months than we ever had been in the 5+ years we have known each other. I appreciate our friendship and the relationship we established because of how deep it goes. It’s not all small talk and going out/drinking, it’s about being there for each other and seeing each other flourish and grow.
There are so many positive aspects of vulnerability that we don’t realize because of the negative stigma it has to the name. Being vulnerable takes courage, but the outcome outweighs the risk. Next time you are having a conversation with someone and they ask you how you are, try not to say “good”, show yourself and have that meaningful conversation I know you are dying to have!
Note: “Camp Kulabunga is not a music festival. It is a sober, tech free event for personal exploration and community. To check out GRiZ and more information on Camp Kulabunga, visit @griz and @campkulabunga on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.