Vulnerability Understanding Vulnerability Vulnerability Myths Hindrances to Vulnerability Benefits of Vulnerability Vulnerability: The Gist Being 'Enough' Vulnerability Practice & Exercises Vulnerability Resources


The Psychology and Science of Vulnerability

Is Psychology Making Us Sick? -Psychology Today article on the relationship between vulnerability and shame.

The Psychology of Authenticity -journal article reviewing definition of authenticity.

The Jonah Complex -asking why we turn away from our full potential to embrace vulnerability, specifically in terms of romantic relationships.

Fear of Vulnerability -a review of vulnerability as a concept with advice for next steps at the end.

Healing Power of Telling Your Trauma Story -how being vulnerable can help us heal.

Psychological Safety & Working Teams -study looking at the role interpersonal safety in risk taking  (“team psychological safety”) and team efficacy have on learning in a group environment.

Beautiful Mess Effect -taking a look at why we judge ourselves more harshly than we judge others.

Shame Resilience Theory -an overview of how shame is related to avoiding vulnerability.

Tips On Developing Vulnerability

Vulnerability Examples -what can vulnerability look like in our day to day lives?

Why is Vulnerability So Important -professional finance blogger explains her journey to improving her relationship to vulnerability.

Leaning Into Vulnerability – School of Life -always appearing fine can be more isolating than helpful. Learning to share our vulnerabilities may be a more accurate path to well-being.


The Positive Side of Shame -the role of shame in our evolutionary psychology. Could it have a positive role in our society?

How To Deal With Shame -Gottman Institute take on healthy shame vs toxic shame.

Accountability In The Age Of Shame -”Our stories of learning are essential because all of us are problematic.”

Reconsidering the differences between shame and guilt -psychology journal article revisits the academic framing of guilt and shame and how they distinctly differ from each other.

Be Enough, Face Shame -advice on how to move past shame by embracing aspects of vulnerability.

The Scientific Underpinnings and Impacts of Shame -how shame and guilt have different effects on self-motivation and learning.

Vulnerability In Relationships

Healthy Relationships and Vulnerability -advice on how to foster deeper connections.

Vulnerability in Relationships -how vulnerability leads to robust and important relationships in our lives.

Striving, Self-Acceptance and Saving Marriages -Tim Ferris interviews Brene Brown on his podcast.

Vulnerability In Relationships

The Charm of Vulnerability -being vulnerable can make other people more comfortable with us and with themselves.

Our Comfort with Intimacy Has A Lot to do with These 7 Verbs -basic introduction to how language can help us find and communicate about intimacy.

Vulnerability and Self

On being authentic-Why You Should Believe in Yourself -using life anecdotes, the author describes how authenticity aided her in finding well-being.

Vulnerability and Worth

Strong back, soft front, wild heart -an interview with Brene Brown about her concept of, “Strong Back, Soft Front, Wild Heart”

Beyond vulnerability, more honest, more open and less vulnerable

How I Hacked My Vulnerability -a nuanced take on why certain kinds of opening up feel riskier than others.

Vulnerability Is Your Greatest Strength -how to shift awareness to recognize vulnerability.

Creative Person, Vulnerability Hangover -the risks that can hurt, but ultimately are part of the vulnerability process.

Facing The Truth -discussing the multilayered reasons it can be hard to be unfiltered around other people.

Leaning Into Vulnerability – School of Life -always appearing fine can be more isolating than helpful. Learning to share our vulnerabilities may be a more accurate path to well-being.


Two-dimensional self-esteem: Theory and measurement  -academic article discussing definition of self esteem.

The costly pursuit of self-esteem -academic article- how we pursue self esteem is more important than how high or low our self-esteem is.

Narcissism and Self-Esteem Are Very Different -there is new research suggesting the two are more different than originally believed.

Are Narcissists More Likely to Experience Imposter Syndrome? -what is vulnerable Narcissism?

The Self, Identity, and Removing the Mask with Mark Leary -an interview with a professor of psychology and neuroscience on aspects relating to self esteem and personal and social behaviors.

Alan Alda on the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating -humorous storytelling combines with the science behind how we talk to each other to ask how we can better understand each other.

Functional Neural Plasticity and Associated Changes in Positive Affect After Compassion Training -compassion as an efficient coping mechanism

The Ego is the Enemy with Ryan Holiday -a book about how conquering the ego can enable our potential.

Assertiveness: How to Stand Up for Yourself and Still Win the Respect of Others. -an assertiveness guide book!

The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships-another guidebook with CBT methods and tips to developing our skills in assertiveness.

Assertiveness Training -a website with various classes and resources to practice assertiveness.

This Is How To Be More Assertive: 3 Powerful Secrets From Research -assertiveness is a wonderful style of interacting with others-here’s some tips on how to achieve it.


Authenticity Is Your Now -How to add depth to your voice and create from a place that matters to you

Questions That Spark Authenticity -100 questions to try instead of fluffy small talk.

Don’t Use Authenticity as an Excuse to be Cruel -we still impact the people around us, and we can be curious why our “authentic” side may or may not be cruel.

The Fine Line Between Helpful and Harmful Authenticity -authenticity doesn’t always work in our favor.

The Authentic Personality: A Theoretical and Empirical Conceptualization and the Development of the Authenticity Scale -a paper seeking to determine authenticity levels in people’s personalities for the purposes of psychological research.

Additional Articles (misc.)

Is Vulnerability a Choice? -where is vulnerability? And can we avoid it?

Why is Vulnerability So Important -professional finance blogger explains her journey to improving her relationship to vulnerability.

John Gottman and Brené Brown on Running Headlong Into Heartbreak  -what these two thinkers have to say about relationships and vulnerability.

Vulnerability Can Make Our Lives Better -Forb’s interview with Brene Brown about the role of vulnerability in society.

The Impact of Isolation -an introductory overview of what a life without vulnerability can look like and what we can do about it.


Improve Your Vulnerability Skills

Feelings & Candor – 15 Commitments (Conscious Leadership Group) -videos, worksheets, and meditations to help us navigate our personal selves with others.

5 Ways Vulnerability Can Make You Happier -5 steps to incorporating vulnerability into our lives.

You Took An Emotional Risk, Now What? -what can the aftermath of vulnerability look like?

10 Guideposts for Wholehearted Living -an overview of Brene Brown’s advice to cultivate a more vulnerable life.

Vulnerability and Work

How To Be More Authentic At Work -determining our threshold of authenticity at work that gives us access to vulnerability’s benefits without jeopardizing our employment.

Ten Guidelines For Engaged Feedback -how to sit with our vulnerability when we hear we might need to change.

Walking a mile in their patients’ shoes: Empathy and othering in medical students’ education -academic paper on training in accepting vulnerability can improve the relations between medical professionals and their charges.

Authentic Leadership -self-awareness, authenticity, and other benefits of vulnerability are key to effective and ethical leadership

Do Not Bring Your Whole Self To Work -being wholly vulnerable is not always appropriate.


Asking For Help – Headspace -a mindfulness resource app.


The Science of Vulnerability

Alan Alda – The Art and Science of Relating and Communicating
The Psychology Podcast interviews author, actor and science communicator, Alan Alda, about the importance of communication.

Shame & Vulnerability

The Dark Side of Self Help
Actual vulnerability isn’t always what is encouraged in the self-help and pop-psychology spaces.

Summer Sisters: Gifts of Imperfection
A 6-week series on the 10 guideposts of wholehearted living with Brene Brown and her sisters.

Brene Brown and the Power of Vulnerability – Super Soul Sunday
Oprah interviews Brene Brown about 4 myths of vulnerability, what vulnerability is, and why it’s important.

Tara Brach, Shame As A Portal To Freedom
We hide our vulnerabilities under protective barriers. However, embracing vulnerability may be a better path to well being.

Additional Podcasts (misc.)

Vulnerability – The Living Experiment
How might we empower ourselves with vulnerability and embrace it as a gift?

What Vulnerability Isn’t
A conversation with Adam Grant and Brene Brown about vulnerability in the workplace.

Brene Brown with Adam Grant on the Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know
Adam Grant and Brene Brown discuss his new book about challenging how we form opinions and approach complex topics.

Brene Brown on Gratitude 
Brene Brown shares her journey to publishing her research about shame and vulnerability. They also touch on the importance of honoring the smallest moments.

Brené Brown on Creativity, Courageous Vulnerability and Wholehearted Living
The Psychology Podcast geeks out with Brene Brown about some of the paradoxes involving vulnerability research.

Brene Brown on Vulnerability
Brene Brown on her journey from perfectionism and struggling with self-worth to finding her worth in vulnerability.

What Makes Love Last
Brene Brown interviews Drs. John and Julia Gottman about their research into partnerships and what makes them sustainable.

Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
Brene Brown explains why we can’t have courage without vulnerability.

Building Healthy Boundaries
Implementing boundaries in our relationships is difficult, but necessary work to foster healthy relationships.

Embracing Vulnerability
Daniel Ellenberg, Ph.D. discusses his journey to vulnerability as a man.


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown -how vulnerability can shape us in positive ways.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown -describes Dr. Brown’s ten pillars of living “Wholeheartedly.”

You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience edited by Tarana Burke, Brené Brown -an anthology of essays by Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, and cultural figures discussing vulnerability and shame resilience.

Tough: My Journey to True Power by Terry Crews -exploring how “being tough” on the outside held Crews back from finding happiness and his subsequent journey to redefining what strength means to him.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown -exploring how people get back up after a setback from a range of social backgrounds.

What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Oprah Winfrey, Bruce D. Perry -Neuroscience and psychology intersect to explain how exploring what has happened to us in the past can empower us in the present.

Pedagogy of Vulnerability by Edward J. Brantmeier, Maria K. McKenna -the relationship between academia and teaching with vulnerability and how vulnerability can be used in academic settings to enhance the learning and teaching experience.

The Power of Vulnerability: How to Create a Team of Leaders by Shifting Inward by Barry Kaplan, Jeffrey Manchester -how vulnerability can play a positive role in creating supportive corporate structures.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brene Brown -what kind of courage does it take to be a leader?

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone by Brene Brown -in a world where connecting is difficult to find, Brown offers four practices to help us find the right path to finding our people.

Rejection Proof: How I Beat Fear and Became Invincible Through 100 Days of Rejection by Jia Jang -the story of “The 100 Days of Rejection Experiment.”

The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting: Raising Children with Courage, Compassion, and Connection by Brené Brown Ph.D. LMSW -how to cultivate worthiness within imperfection as a family unit.

Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson EdD -the importance of establishing emotional connections within a partnership.

Love Warrior: A Memoir by Glennon Doyle -a powerful memoir about how when their marriage began to face upheaval, a couple decided to unpack their roles in what happened to save their relationship.


Embracing Vulnerability

Listening To Shame
What happens when we talk with our shame rather than ignore it?

The Importance of Vulnerability
Vulnerability has a larger role in helping us make friends than we realize.

The Ingredients of Vulnerability 
A fun metaphor for how to approach being more vulnerable.

The Call to Courage
A Netflix Brene Brown special on how to show up for ourselves.

Brene Brown on Vulnerability 
In the span of a TED Talk, Brene Brown summarizes her research into and personal struggles with vulnerability.

Love & Vulnerability

Want Great Love & Happiness? 
Dr. Cheryl Fraser gives a short lesson on ego and relationships.

6 Ways to be Vulnerable In Love
Psych2Go cartoon about Vulnerability and Love.

Three Requirements Of A Good Relationship
5 minute review of what makes a happy connection.

Courage & Vulnerability

Brené Brown | Striving versus Self-Acceptance, Saving Marriages, and More
Why finding a balance between improving ourselves and accepting ourselves.

How To Fall In Love With Yourself
How to accept but not dwell on all of our parts, but good and the bad.

Communication in the Workplace & Vulnerability

Candor: Concealing & Revealing
The conscious vs unconscious leadership approach to vulnerability.

Vulnerability, Not Over-Sharing
What is being vulnerable as a leader vs inappropriate personal disclosure?

Empathy & Vulnerability

RSA Shorts: Dr Brené Brown, “The Power of Empathy” 
Empathy vs sympathy explained in a charming animated short.

Courage & Vulnerability

Vulnerability & Power
The weaponization of vulnerability by leaders and influential people.

Dare To Be Vulnerable
An ex-accountant explains how a hug-experiment revealed to him that trust is often received when it is offered first.

Living Brave
Brene Brown interviewing Oprah on topics like vulnerability and living a brave life.

How to “Brave the Wilderness” & Find True Belonging
When talking about trust and belonging, what do we mean?

Creativity & Vulnerability

Poetry, Vulnerability and Finding Your Voice with Jericho Brown
A pivotal aspect of becoming a creator is taking risks and the reciprocal benefits of having a community as an artist.

The Power of Poetry and Vulnerability
How poetry was a tool to circumvent cultural limitations on expressing our vulnerability to others.

Bo Burnham: The Inside Outtakes
A collection of footage from the comedian’s Netflix special highlighting the awkward side of creating new work as a high profile artist.
For the full video, click here.

Creativity Takes Courage
Using art to teach children creativity, which begins with letting go of the “what if’s” and fear of failure.


Authentic Revolution -authentic relating (AR) is a set of communication tools to find stronger connections.

Authentic Relating Training -courses on navigating conflict and the spectrum of relationships in our lives with relational tools.

Daring Classrooms -a set of resources specifically for teachers to create “brave, safe spaces” in the classroom.

Feeling Seen and Heard in Your Relationships -Gottman Institute -comprehensive approaches to using conversations to understand and support each other as a couple.

Unpacking the Circle of Shame -Gabor Maté, MD and Richard C. Schwartz, PhD explain how to use internal family systems and compassionate inquiry to cultivate shame resilience.

The Courage to Connect – Rick Hanson -how to find strength and openness through vulnerability.


“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” ― Brene Brown

“Ultimately it is on our vulnerability that we depend.”—Rilke 

“When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.” ― Madeleine L’Engle

“It’s very hard to have ideas. It’s very hard to put yourself out there, it’s very hard to be vulnerable, but those people who do that are the dreamers, the thinkers, and the creators. They are the magic people of the world.” — Amy Poehler

“Our greatest strength lies in the gentleness and tenderness of our heart” ― Rumi

“We all need people to love and respect, and we all need people who love and respect us. We do not always recognize these needs, and we may not see them influencing those around us, but they are still there nonetheless.” ― Max Leiberman

“The time will come when, with elation, you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror, and each will smile at the other’s welcome.”  ― Love After Love, Derek Walcott

“Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable.” — Joyce Brothers

“We need connection with others like we need oxygen. We’re way too vulnerable without it.” ― Dr. Sue Johnson

“Why is it that many of us only show our vulnerable side at the most extreme times? After all, vulnerability can help us not only build relationships, but also experience our feelings more deeply.”  ― Brene Brown

“Our deeper relationships help us feel loved for who we truly are rather than who we are telling everybody that we are.” — Dr. Andrea Bonior

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” ― Theodore Rosevelt

“Vulnerability is the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset.”—Stephen Russell

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.” ― Brene Brown

“What happens when people open their hearts? They get better.” — Haruki Murakami

“It is better to be hated for who you are than loved for who you are not.” ― Andre Gide

“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” — Criss Jami, Killosophy

Connection is the heart of vulnerability. Whether that’s connecting with someone else, helping our friends feel seen and safe, or being vulnerable in our community.

Self-love and self-compassion is a skill for developing an Enough Mindset.

Compassionate communication is the overarching model on the site for communicating in a vulnerable way with ourselves and others.

Self-acceptance takes self-love a bit further with accepting yourself for the way you are and finding peace within your stories.

Vulnerability is a gateway toward compassion and understanding so we can build deeper connections that are genuine and supportive.

The framework of YSL shows up all over the site, so explore the YSL section to get a better handle on the framework and your foundational stories.

In making vulnerable requests with friends, family, or partners, it helps to be intentional.

Taking responsibility for your own actions, behaviors, feelings, and thoughts is vulnerability. Whether that’s in conversations or with oneself, vulnerability plays a huge role here.

Expressing gratitude in vulnerable ways to others is one way to affirm their actions and build trust and positivity.

Not having “enough” time for others and ourselves becomes a self fulfilling prophecy when we buy into this story being true. Vulnerability helps us break down this aspect of a Scarcity Mindset.

Fear is one of the biggest inhibitors of being vulnerable and finding deeper connections.

Vulnerability Understanding Vulnerability Vulnerability Myths Hindrances to Vulnerability Benefits of Vulnerability Vulnerability: The Gist Being 'Enough' Vulnerability Practice & Exercises Vulnerability Resources