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Leadership Thought #264 – Vulnerability Doesn’t Equal Weakness

As a boy growing up pretty much all my public role models were the strong silent types.  John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, Steve McQueen were all men of few words but vigorous action.  Men didn’t show their feelings; they just dealt with whatever came their way in the most expeditious fashion.  Problems were meant to be solved not fretted over.  Real men weren’t vulnerable. They were strong for all of those around them and kept their feelings to themselves.  My dad very much lived up to this expectation.  I can’t remember even one example of him telling me how he “felt” about something.  He just did what he was supposed to do and that was that.

From where I sit now I both respect and feel sorry for him.  It must not have been easy to always just have to “suck it up” and just deal with things.   Vulnerability isn’t a weakness it is just the acceptance of being human and having to deal with the whole range of human emotions.  And, emotions aren’t bad.  It’s how we deal with our emotions that matters.   No one has ALL the answers and to act like you do must be a pretty heavy burden.  Leaning on other people when you need them isn’t a sign of weakness but more indicative of our common human need of love, friendship and support.  If you bottle every thing up and repress how you are truly feeling, then eventually something will have to give and the reaction may end up being disproportionate or out of context.  Sadly, anger is often a common outlet for men who are struggling to come to grips with their emotions.

All of life is lived on an emotional continuum.  To ignore this fact simply won’t work long term.  This doesn’t mean you should dwell in the land of extremes and/or share how you are feeling about everything all the time.   What it doesn’t mean is that it’s okay to show some cracks in the armor.  When life gets heavy or you are in the midst of great difficulty, seek out family/friends and ask for help.  At minimum find a few people you can open up to and confide in.  Being vulnerable doesn’t equal weakness.  It is a part of life we all must deal with to our detriment or betterment – the choice is yours.


2 Responses

  1. […] Leadership Thought #264 – Vulnerability Doesn’t Equal Weakness (edrobinson.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] Leadership Thought #264 – Vulnerability Doesn’t Equal Weakness (edrobinson.wordpress.com) […]

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