Of course, when you look up “Vulnerability” you inevitably will be reading research by Brene Brown… it’s kinds her thing, as you may already know.  Years ago, Brene set out to “outsmart “ vulnerability when she researched shame.  Well, hundreds of interviews, six years of research and thousands of pieces of data later she discovered something about a certain type of person that actually allowed, in fact even welcomed feeling vulnerable.

These people believed that vulnerability was necessary and it “made them, and life “beautiful.” These individuals  all had a sense of worthiness ( a sense of love and belonging). They saw in these vulnerable-and-good-with-it people, a willingness to engage when they may not know the outcome;  For instance, entering into a love relationship, or waiting patiently and even joyfully going about your day, while you await a doctors call with test results.

So, feeling worthy helps us embrace vulnerability, which is great to know, because vulnerability is the birthplace of creativity and innovation.

But there is a problem.  Many people do not have that magical sense of well-being that allows them to think they are worthy.  Why is that?

Ladies, most of the data is on you, not the men in our lives. Perhaps because of traditional thinking, men are not willing to participate in such research as much as women.

Let’s face it, we would probably never say, “dang you’re an idiot!”  to another human being we are friendly with, and yet we think nothing of saying that to ourselves!  If we treat our voice inside our head as if it were another person (ok I know that sounds insane, but just go with me for a sec) we would NEVER actually choose to accept language like that. (At least we wouldn’t as long as we know better.   I say that because if we grew up with abusive behavior affecting us, then we may continue that pattern with other people we engage in relationship with, until we know better.)

How we feel about ourselves has so many components—our thoughts, our actions, our inactions, the comparisons we make to others. And it has to do with everything we’ve learned, experienced, and interpreted throughout our lives. There is a LOT to this, and that is why someone like Brene Brown has sold over a million books on topics around this.

From the varied research articles I found I saw 3 things that hold us in a belief that we are not worthy…

  1. Comparison to others. Social media, real life. You name it, we do it.  We can’t help it. It’s human nature.
  2. Fear of responsibility. (this was an interesting take). If we use poor self-esteem as an excuse for our actions, we take on less action and since we do less, we succeed less and can “prove” we are not worthy. (This can be unpacked for days, y’all.)
  3. Reaching for unrealistic standards (aka:“having it all”). This is similar to perfectionism. We (especially women) have been brainwashed by media, commercials, Instagram and the good ol’ Facebook highlight reel that we can have life in balance, kids, parental care, happy hours and a successful thriving business ALL while having amazing sexy hair.

From a Psychology Today interview with Megan MacCutcheon,  author of the Self-esteem Workbook for Women:

“I think the way we look at gender roles in the workplace has really changed, as women are working more and they’re holding higher positions than they did in the past. And that’s great. But they’re still the ones dealing with pregnancy, dealing with childbirth, and traditionally being the caretakers. I’m not saying that men don’t deal with that, too, but it puts a lot on women’s plates. At the end of the day it’s just not possible to do it all, so something has to give. So sometimes this idea that women can be equal to men fails to highlight the fine print: Yes, they can be, but they will also need to find ways to make it all work. They’ll need to figure out child care, maybe get help with the house work, because it’s really just not humanly possible to do it all.”

Solution here, ask for help (be vulnerable). And practice supporting yourself with quiet time for your brain, and body.  Practice mindfulness. My equine work allows me to see the change in women in just one day with this.  It’s powerful. It’s important.

Recognize when things like comparison have a hold on your thoughts, and when taking responsibility for your actions is the most empowering choice you can make in the moment.


 Reach out if you

  1. Need support in getting your message out
  2. Want to explore an innovate way to experience vulnerability by partnering with horses in an equine assisted coaching retreat or session