Jay Rifenbary

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Turn Your Vulnerabilities into Possibilities

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How vulnerable are you to the negative influences, and the power of your own weaknesses? Does your lack of patience make you vulnerable to anger? Does your lack of discipline make you vulnerable to excess? Does your lack of personal accountability make you vulnerable to blaming those around you for your failures? Does your lack of integrity make you vulnerable to the self-centered temptations of life? Does your lack of an understanding of what your core values are make you vulnerable to indecisiveness, self-doubt, and lacking self-respect? Do your insecurities make you vulnerable to being emotionally hurt? Vulnerable is defined as, "Capable of, or susceptible to, being wounded or hurt, as by a weapon, a vulnerable part of the body; open to moral attack, criticism, temptation, etc."

To be vulnerable is a normal human emotion and experience. It is life's flashing warning sign notifying you of potential emotional and physical harm. However, it is also a positive sign indicating an opportunity for you to become a stronger and better person. Your vulnerabilities are potential possibilities for greater success, happiness and fulfillment. They make you aware of what you need to improve upon both personally and professionally. For example, if you are vulnerable to procrastination, it will have a detrimental impact on your ability to be self-disciplined, resulting in the inability to be as efficient and thorough with work projects you are assigned. If you are vulnerable to criticism, it will have a negative impact on your ability to be decisive, resulting in a greater lack of self-respect. Are either of those vulnerabilities excuses, or opportunities to overcome those weaknesses, and improve the quality of ones life? There are reasons in life for mistakes and failures, and they happen to all of us, but an excuse is the consistent repetition of reasons used to justify and rationalize debilitating behavior. There are reasons for despair, anger and disappointment, but an excuse ensures the sustainment of those reasons.

Can excuses be an extension of your vulnerabilities? Absolutely! If what you are vulnerable to is self-destructive, it is your decision to either make a change, or decide to use it as an excuse to not live up to your potential. Overcoming your vulnerabilities spearheads achievement to further success and greater happiness, for it demonstrates strength and courage to become a better you. What steps can you take to conquer your own vulnerabilities?

First, admit you have them, take accountability for them, and have the humility to be accepting that they exist. "Pride goeth before the fall", for arrogant pride destroys character and a sense of self. Second, assess which vulnerabilities are the most destructive. What has created the most stress, emotional turmoil, and indecision in your life? For example, if you are vulnerable to the pain of loss and you react defensively rather than compassionately, which behavior would you choose for an emotionally healthier you? Assessing which are most harmful prioritizes which vulnerabilities to address first. Accountability and assessment are the first two keys to overcoming the destructive nature of being vulnerable.

Action is the third element, and if not implemented accountability and assessment are irrelevant, for now avoidance has taken control. Returning to the example, if you do become defensive around the pain of loss, what actions are you taking to address that behavior, and what can you do to become more compassionate in the process. Action taken is never easy and in many cases uncomfortable, but to avoid it only enables the destructive behavior. It takes courage to change, and strength of character to go the distance. Adherence to your core values provides the strength to overcome your weaknesses.

Analysis is the fourth step to evaluate your progress in lessening the destructive powers of being vulnerable.If the proper action is taken, the analysis will be a positive one, and a healthy step forward to becoming less vulnerable. Now is not the time to be defeated by what you can't do, but rather be the champion in believing what you can become. To be a better parent, professional, spouse, and individual is never finite, but a continual process in the development of your character, and the legacy of what you stood for and believed in. View your vulnerabilities as opportunities not liabilities. You reward will be greater self-confidence and self-respect.



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