Why Being Vulnerable Is Actually More Attractive Than You Think
New studies reveal that showing flaws isn't a sign of weakness after all.
Which may come as a surprise if you're like most of us -- opening up to other people about your failings doesn't come naturally. Listening to other people talking about theirs ... well that is just fine.
But talking about ourselves being weak or doing something wrong ... no way Jose. Especially because that Jose is so goddam perfect. Right?
But -- surprise! -- psychological research suggests that this particular fear can be overblown in our minds. Often, there’s a mismatch between how people perceive their weaknesses and how others interpret them. You see, while we tend to think showing vulnerability makes us seem inadequate, when other people see our vulnerability, they often see it as something quite different. A recent study calls this phenomenon “the beautiful mess effect.”
Beautiful mess effect -- title of our sex tape. But we digress.
The researchers from the University of Mannheim in Germany asked participants to imagine themselves in a variety of vulnerable situations -- at home, romantically and at work. When people imagined themselves in those situations, they tended to believe that showing vulnerability would make them appear weak and inadequate. But when people imagined someone else in those situations, they were more likely to describe showing vulnerability as “desirable” and “good.”
They then went further -- and tested a theory about how the human mind processes information. They found that when we think about our own vulnerability, it's oh-so-real in our heads, our imperfections are clearer, and it’s easier to identify everything that might go terribly, terribly wrong. But when we think about another person’s vulnerability, it’s more distant and abstract. We can see not just the bad, but the good as well. And it's this that is the "beautiful mess".
So, what do you learn from this? That if you're the other person in this equation, your flaws are seen as far less damaging. And that means you really shouldn't be afraid to let others see them.
And Lysn psychologist Noosha Anzab agreed. She told 10 daily that it's actually really important to show vulnerability. 'It allows us to be truly honest with ourselves and reflect on our strengths and weaknesses."
"One of the biggest benefits from admitting a vulnerability/weakness is that once it is in the open, we gain strength because we now own it," she advised. "No one is able to use it against us as it is our own truth and it is known. It is worth reminding ourselves that it takes a lot of courage to be vulnerable.
The other good thing about letting our flaws out there is that it gives us room to improve.
Said Noosha, "accepting vulnerability as a natural and common trait amongst most people and speaking/reflecting on our vulnerabilities can give us the opportunity to convert whatever vulnerabilities we have into room for growth, self-discovery and strengthening of our emotional well-being.
"Brene Brown, a vulnerability researcher, highlights that the most important thing to do is accept that you are worthy, which will make you more comfortable in identifying your vulnerabilities and exposing them to others."
"To be vulnerable can be a raw and frightening experience, but it can be cathartic," said Anzab.
Raw and frightening experience? Title of our ... oh never mind.
Feature Image: Getty