“Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.” – Brené Brown

A true, genuine bond with someone. In our society that runs on connections and interactions, it seems many people feel desperate for just that. However, many of these same people internally fear getting close to someone, either because they haven’t accepted love within themselves or because they haven’t experienced healthy relationships in the past.

Life requires a certain degree of vulnerability to experience all of its splendors. But in order to get to that point, you have to accept all of yourself first. You have to feel confident with every part of you, the beautiful, the broken, the lost, the found, the wild, everything. For those who have found this sense of inner peace and acceptance, you might still believe somewhere inside you that vulnerability weakens you. However, it does just the opposite, and we want to show you why.

Here are five ways being vulnerable means you’re strong:

If you exhibit these behaviors, you might be stronger than you realize. Do these traits sound like you?

vulnerable people
1. You don’t care whether others like you or not.

If you have accepted yourself in totality, it won’t matter so much what other people think of you. Being vulnerable first requires you to unearth the parts of you that you closed off long ago to walk into a room of people unshaken and unaffected by the opinions they give. Vulnerability requires bravery because you no longer hide parts of yourself that you think are too ugly or complicated for others to see.

It doesn’t matter to you how other people see you because you have seen the pure, unfiltered beauty that lies within your soul. You’ve cracked yourself open and let the wounds bleed so that only love exists. Because you love yourself, you don’t need to seek it from others. Of course, this calls for enormous strength that most people don’t even try to muster.

2. You have learned to love yourself so that you may offer it freely to others.

As emotional beings, we absolutely need love to survive. However, most people look everywhere but within themselves to find it. A truly vulnerable person only seeks love within, which already makes them a courageous, resilient person. Because they have opened up all the closed doors within themselves and accepted that they are indeed worthy of self-love and love from others, they can offer it openly and genuinely to other people.

Giving and receiving love is the most vulnerable thing you can do on this Earth because there’s a possibility you will get hurt. And that also makes you a robust and beautiful individual.

3. You wear your heart on your sleeve.

Vulnerable people don’t hide their emotions; whatever they feel, they just let it flow uninhibited through them. They don’t care what others have to say or fear judgment from others. We live in an age where showing emotion seems very rare, as most people have learned to repress their feelings for one reason or another. However, vulnerable people don’t care about societal norms; they know that showing emotion and offering compassion to themselves and others is their birthright, and they exercise it as much as possible.

4. You can show others the darkest parts of yourself.

Vulnerable people have accepted every part of themselves – the darkness, the light, and everything in between. You don’t fear your darkness; you embrace it. Furthermore, you could care less if others run away because they can’t handle your truth. That’s because you realize that they haven’t opened themselves up to actual vulnerability yet. You can find the beauty, the wisdom, and the strength in darkness, so you welcome it. Instead, you share it with others because you feel no shame about any part of yourself, and this kind of honesty shows immense strength.

quiet people
5. You have opened yourself up to experience all emotions.

Vulnerability requires you to embrace all emotions, whether good or bad. Actually, you have realized that no feeling, in particular, should be labeled as negative or positive; emotions just exist, and it’s how we handle them that truly matters. You don’t fear sadness, anger, pain, or fear; you welcome them because you know that darkness can quickly transform into the light if you simply shower your shadow self with love. Being vulnerable means accepting yourself thoroughly and being honest about how you feel. You don’t close yourself off to any emotion, because vulnerability means taking whatever may come and expressing that openly.

Strength and vulnerability go hand-in-hand because you can’t be vulnerable without going to battle with the parts of yourself that you once felt ashamed to show.