The Power Of Vulnerability-Sharing your Emotions For Mental Wellness

Written by Jennifer Aliu-Kadiri

As human beings, we often try to present ourselves as strong and invincible, hiding our vulnerabilities behind a facade of confidence and strength. However, research has shown that vulnerability is a powerful tool for improving our mental health and well-being. In this article, I will be exploring the power of vulnerability and why sharing our emotions is important for mental health, particularly for young people in Africa.

Firstly, we must establish the fact that vulnerability is not a weakness. It takes courage to be vulnerable and to show our true selves to others, but it’s worth it. When we allow ourselves to be vulnerable, we open ourselves up to deeper connections with others. This is particularly important for young people in Africa, who may face social isolation, discrimination, and stigma related to mental health issues and non-conformity.

I have been told many times of my “over sensitive nature” as a result, I have mastered the art of silence even in the face of mental exhaustion and meltdown-which has resulted in more harm than good. This article is also a call to self to give vulnerability a chance for mental wellness and effective development and meaningful contribution.

By sharing our emotions with others, we can build supportive relationships that help us cope with life’s challenges. We may feel afraid to reveal our true feelings, but by doing so, we allow others to see us for who we really are. This can help us feel less alone and more connected to those around us. Everyone need a safe space to feel vulnerable, especially in a country like Nigeria where your vulnerability is a solid tool to use for discrimination and exclusion.  

It took me a while to share my emotions (I am not there yet) however, the little time I get the courage to share my feelings in a constructive way, I am able to understand why I am feeling what I am feeling and how to process it. Sharing our emotions can help us process our experiences and feelings. Sometimes, we may not even be aware of how we’re feeling until we talk about it with someone else. By sharing our emotions, we can gain new insights into ourselves and our situations, which can be incredibly helpful for our mental health.

Brene Brown’s research has shown that vulnerability is a key component of resilience and is necessary for forming meaningful connections with others. When we are vulnerable, we allow ourselves to be seen as we truly are, and this can lead to deeper, more authentic relationships.

It’s important to note that vulnerability can be a powerful tool for promoting empathy and understanding. When we share our emotions with others, we allow them to see things from our perspective and to better understand what we’re going through. This can help break down barriers between people and promote greater empathy and compassion.

So, how can young people in Africa practice vulnerability and share their emotions with others?

Sharing can be scary especially when you do not feel safe sharing because of the backlash that may come from sharing and because of the lack of understanding around vulnerability, mental health in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Starting small can be helpful. Try sharing your feelings with a close friend or family member who you trust. You could also consider joining a support group or seeking therapy, where you can connect with others who are going through similar experiences. Therapy in Nigeria is expensive. Hence, the reason we are calling on lawmakers to tilt the torch on mental health so that resources can be allocated, and young people can seek help where necessary without fear of discrimination, stigma or even money to finance such solutions needed for their mental wellness and stability.

Vulnerability is a powerful tool for improving mental health and forming meaningful connections with others. It requires courage to share our emotions with others, but it can lead to greater resilience, healing, and growth. As Brené Brown says, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.”

Creating safe spaces for young people where they feel free to share without hesitation and fear of judgement is a step in the right direction.

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