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Vulnerability is the Root of Authenticity

Updated: Jan 3, 2021


Have you heard of the concept in which vulnerability and authenticity must go hand in hand? It is a topic on my mind recently, and something I have seen around online, and my belief is that vulnerability is necessary to achieve authenticity. Much of this has to do with semantics and the meaning a word has versus definition. What it ultimately comes down to in my mind is authenticity and vulnerability must coexist for both sentiments to be the truth.


First, I want to break this down into parts to better refine the message I am trying to convey. This could be considered a case of semantics or trying to pull out certain meanings from a word that another person may not necessarily see as the same. But that is what makes the discussion interesting, some people may have contrasting views and that is more than okay.

Perhaps I do view authenticity and vulnerability in a different light, but I believe this is the version which makes the most sense for me, thus I am going to discuss it. This particular post is my view on the topic, and for the sake of this conversation, let’s start with what authenticity means.

The literal use of the verb authentic is to describe something of undisputed origin or something genuine.

This is the basic step to understand what it means to be authentic. To explore the deeper connotations of authenticity it must be remembered that the meaning does still involve being genuine. These genuine aspects are also coupled with responsibility, sincerity, and honesty to strengthen the concept of being authentic. To be an authentic person one must be honest in what they stand for, responsible for who they are, and sincere with what their intentions are.

There must also be transparency in authenticity, transparency of the self, which could be encompassed within the sincere aspect of authenticity. To be honest about what a person stands for, who they are, and what their intentions are there has to be not only a dive into self-exploration but also the capability to take responsibility for that which shaped these beliefs. This responsibility is an admittance of what makes a person true to themselves, this is transparency.

The moment vulnerability comes in is when it comes to responsibility and its relationship with authenticity. Taking responsibility in an authentic way means taking responsibility honestly for everything. This version of everything includes both those things a person is proud to admit along with those things a person may be hurt or embarrassed to admit. Vulnerability becomes intertwined with responsibility when a person is asked to admit every aspect of themselves.

photo by Merakii Photography
By literal definition, to be vulnerable means to expose oneself to harm or attack. While I am not talking about this literally, there are aspects of fear in being vulnerable.

When a person is admitting things about themselves in order to take responsibility for their actions, they are laying out things which can lead others to pass judgment. This can be terrifying! Which is by no means a way to scare you away from being vulnerable, but I say it as a warning. Be cautious with who you share yourself with at first, as you open yourself up to others there can be moments of confusion and these moments are better experienced among people who will not harm or attack you in any way.

Opening yourself emotionally to others is best achieved within a community of like-minded peers with similar backgrounds or experiences. This sense of inclusivity is important to build a support system to foster vulnerability. Being vulnerable as a way to unpack who you are as a person should only take place in the company of people who will support your vulnerability.

This type of vulnerability, the kind which is fostered in a group of peers is what leads ultimately to authenticity. You are able to emotionally bear yourself and take responsibility for who you are and what you stand for within a group of people who hold similar morals, values, and ideas. This stokes your own personal ability to grow and expand within your own authenticity.

Being sure to surround yourself with the right people for this work is an important aspect which needs its own blog post altogether. The people who are with you at moments of vulnerability must both hold space for you and keep you focused while reminding you of what is important: truth.

To break it down, this is how I see it:

When you are vulnerable with yourself and others that means you show your emotions, you bare your truth and you stand in it. Authenticity happens at the moment you take responsibility for those things which are the truth, those things which make you who you are, what you believe in, and what you stand for. To experience authenticity you must be vulnerable about everything which makes you who you are in this moment.

Let me give you a practical anecdotal example:

photo by Merakii Photography

My background involves traumatic sexual experiences which resulted in me being sexually promiscuous at a young age. I am not proud of several things I have done, but I know those experiences brought me to where I am today and who I am today: a passionate and loving person. Currently, I am in a position where I help other women realize and begin to heal from their own sexual trauma. I am working in my authenticity because I admit my past actions and am vulnerable about them so that I can see the signs in others and within myself to prevent falling back into old habits.

I am a mentor to women in all walks of life who have experienced a range of situations which challenged them in one way or another. The knowledge I have and the responsibility I claim from my past and my present allow me to live a more vulnerable and authentic life with anyone I interact with.

It feels rejuvenating to be in a moment in which I can be exactly who I am without worrying about judgments or expectations. There is no fear that I look one way or another to different people because I am the same person with everyone I meet. I got to this position because I stepped outside my comfort zone more than once and I sought the counsel of like-minded women. The Mermaid Movement has been a place of solace and a place where I foster my growth.

What are your thoughts on vulnerability being the root of authenticity? Is there anything else you can think of which breeds a sense of authenticity in life? I'm curious! Let me know in the comments below.

If you are looking for more authenticity in your life, then I recommend finding a like-minded community and practicing vulnerability as often as you can. Need help finding a community? Reach out to me! I am here to help you foster a sense of connection wherever life takes you.

Much love & light,

Cierra Urso

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