Vulnerability can mean open to attack (as in software or war) — those kind of vulnerabilities are to be avoided. In human life, vulnerability can be uncomfortable, but is also an important part of person growth and of the full experience of life. Vulnerability allows us to be open to learning, and to more authentically connect to others. Some in life take advantage of our openness and vulnerability, to manipulate or control or abuse, so having boundaries is still important. Yet without vulnerability, we won’t experience the depth of love and authentic self.

Living in a city shouldn’t make you cynical and living in a village shouldn’t make you vulnerable.

— Amit Kalantri

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center, of meaningful human experiences.

— Brené Brown

When we spend our lives waiting until we are perfect or bulletproof before we walk into the arena, we ultimately sacrifice relationships and opportunities that may not be recoverable. We squander our precious time and we turn our backs on our gifts- those unique contributions that only we can make. Perfect and bulletproof are seductive but they don’t exist in the human experience.

— Brené Brown

Shame resilient cultures nurture folks who are much more open to soliciting, accepting, and incorporating feedback. These cultures also nuture engaged, tenacious people who expect to have to try and try again to get it right – people who are much more willing to get innovative and creative in their efforts. A sense of worthiness inspires us to be vulnerable, share openly, and persevere. Shame keeps us small, resentful, and afraid. In shame-prone cultures, where parents, leaders, and administrators consciously or unconsciously encourage people to connect their self-worth to what they produce, I see disengagement, blame, gossip, stagnation, favoritism, and a total dirth of creativity and innovation.

— Brené Brown

Worrying about scarcity is our culture’s version of post-traumatic stress. It happens when we’ve been through too much, and rather than coming together to heal (which requires vulnerability) we’re angry and scared and at each other’s throats.

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center of meaningful human experiences.

— Brené Brown

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.

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.

— Brené Brown

The greatest casualties of a scarcity culture are our willingness to own our vulnerabilities and our ability to engage with the world from a place of worthiness.

— Brené Brown

Faith minus vulnerability and mystery equals extremism. If you’ve got all the answers, then don’t call what you do ‘faith.’

— Brene Brown

True belonging is not passive. It’s not the belonging that comes with just joining a group. It’s not fitting in or pretending or selling out because it’s safer. It’s a practice that requires us to be vulnerable, get uncomfortable, and learn how to be present with people without sacrificing who we are. We want true belonging, but it takes tremendous courage to knowingly walk into hard moments.

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.

— Brené Brown

Vulnerability should enhance our relationships, not take advantage of them.

— Caity Alice, Gentle Revolution

To practice Extreme Self-Care, you must learn to love yourself unconditionally, accept your imperfections, and embrace your vulnerabilities.

— Cheryl Richardson

Africans believe in something that is difficult to render in English. We call it ubuntu, botho. It means the essence of being human. You know when it is there and when it is absent. It speaks about humaneness, gentleness, hospitality, putting yourself out on behalf of others, being vulnerable. It embraces compassion and toughness. It recognizes that my humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

— Desmond Tutu

Own our imperfections. Own our vulnerability; it becomes our strength. Whatever the challenge is, own it. Owning it is the first step to everything.

— Diane von Furstenberg

What replaces fear? A capacity to trust the abundance of life. All wisdom traditions posit the profound truth that there are two fundamental ways to live life: from fear and scarcity or from trust and abundance…. We come to believe that even if something unexpected happens or if we make mistakes, things will turn out all right, and when they don’t, life will have given us an opportunity to learn and grow.

— Frederic Laloux, Reinventing Organizations

I believe in cultivating opposite, but complementary views of life, and I believe in meeting life’s challenges with contradictory strategies. I believe in reckoning with the ultimate meaninglessness of our existence, even as we fall in love with the miracle of being alive. I believe in working passionately to make our lives count while never losing sight of our insignificance. I believe in caring deeply and being beyond caring. It is by encompassing these opposites, by being involved and vulnerable, but simultaneously transcendent and detached, that our lives are graced by resilience and joy.

— Fritz Williams

There is something in you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in other people. And if you can’t hear it, then you are reduced by that much. If I were to ask you what is the thing that you desire most in life this afternoon, you would say a lot of things off the top of your head, most of which you wouldn’t believe but you would think that you were saying the things that I thought you ought to think that you should say.

But I think that if you were stripped to whatever there is in you that is literal and irreducible, and you tried to answer that question, the answer may be something like this: I want to feel that I am thoroughly and completely understood so that now and then I can take my guard down and look out around me and not feel that I will be destroyed with my defenses down. I want to feel completely vulnerable, completely naked, completely exposed and absolutely secure.

— Howard Thurman

Above all is the centrality of love at the heart of vulnerable faith. Vulnerability will thrive only where love abounds—a love that is generous, gracious, patient, compassionate, humble, curious, joyful, and full of hope. In the absence of fear and the bondage it inflicts on us, love will put down roots, grow, and extend its reach far beyond our expectations or natural capacity. Love we once reserved only for those closest to us can be offered even to those who would persecute us. Enemies are transformed into sisters and brothers and friends.

— Jamie Arpin-Ricci

Respecting a child teaches them that even the smallest, most powerless, most vulnerable person is worthy of respect. And that is a lesson our world desperately needs to learn.

— L.R. Knost

We are vulnerable, not fragile, but our desire to go through life without feeling pain makes us feel fragile.

— Luigina Sgarro

There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.

— M. Scott Peck

To be a good human being is to have a kind of openness to the world, an ability to trust uncertain things beyond your own control, that can lead you to be shattered in very extreme circumstances for which you were not to blame. That says something very important about the condition of the ethical life: that it is based on a trust in the uncertain and on a willingness to be exposed; it’s based on being more like a plant than like a jewel, something rather fragile, but whose very particular beauty is inseparable from that fragility.

— Martha Nussbaum

As soon as you remove the sense of finitude and vulnerability, you remove the vitality of any possible love relationship.

— Martin Hägglund, This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom

We aren’t as solid as we once thought. We’re embodied but we’re also networks, expanding out into empty space, living on inside machines and in other people’s heads, memories and data streams as well as flesh. We’re being watched and we do not have control. We long for contact and it makes us afraid. But as long as we’re still capable of feeling and expressing vulnerability, intimacy stands a chance.

— Olivia Laving

We are cursed with the blessing of consciousness and choice, a two-edged sword that both divides us and can help us become whole. But choosing wholeness, which sounds like a good thing, turns out to be risky business, making us vulnerable in ways we would prefer to avoid.

— Parker J. Palmer, A Hidden Wholeness: The Journey Toward an Undivided Life

We often think that vulnerability is a kind of weakness, but there’s a kind of vulnerability that is actually strength and presence.

— Ram Dass

Here I am showing you the ferocity of my hunger. Here I am, finally freeing myself to be vulnerable and terribly human. Here I am, reveling in that freedom. Here. See what I hunger for and what my truth has allowed me to create.

— Roxane Gay

One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.

— Shannon L. Alder

Be vulnerable. Be honest. Be open and show your heart. That’s the best way of telling your heart that the tigers are no longer in the grass.

— Stefan Molyneux

To be vulnerable means to be open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. To be open to the wounds of life is to be vulnerable. To be open to the pleasures of life is to be vulnerable. To be open to the wounds and pleasures of life is to be alive.

— Stephen Russell

Creating an enemy imparts a sense of control—we feel superior, we feel right, we believe we are doing something about the problem. . . . Yet if we lash out with hatred and violence . . . we generate more fear, reactivity and suffering. Freeing ourselves from this trance of fear and alienation becomes possible only as we respond to our vulnerability with a wise heart.

— Tara Brach
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