the power of vulnerability

Embracing my vulnerability

The Mask Slips

I had a moment recently where I let my mask slip, revealing a vulnerability I had carefully concealed until now. It was the first time during my studies that I found myself overcome with emotion, shedding tears in front of my supervisors. The catalyst for this emotional release? Statistics.

I’ve always struggled with numbers, a challenge that has persisted throughout my life. But this was more than just difficulty comprehending mathematical concepts; it was a deep-seated feeling of inadequacy and frustration. How could someone who has devoted years to studying psychology not grasp something as fundamental as statistics?

In that moment of vulnerability, I feared judgment from my supervisors. Would they see me as incompetent? Would they question my suitability for this field? Despite my efforts to maintain composure, I couldn’t hold back the tears. To my surprise, my supervisors responded with empathy and understanding, offering me the space and support I needed to process my emotions. Although on reflection I suppose it wasn’t really that much of a surprise I just had no idea how they would react.

Reframing: Embracing Learning and Growth

As I reflected on this experience, I realised the importance of reframing my negative thoughts. Instead of berating myself for not understanding, I chose to view this as a learning opportunity.

Yes, I may struggle, but that frustration can fuel my determination to overcome challenges. I reminded myself that everyone starts somewhere and that it’s okay not to have all the answers right away.

I share this story not to seek sympathy, but to normalise the human experience of vulnerability in academia or anywhere else. It’s okay to struggle, to feel overwhelmed, and to ask for help.

Showing emotion doesn’t make us weak; it makes us human. By creating a safe space for open expression, we foster a culture of support and understanding, empowering others to embrace their own journeys, complete with challenges and triumphs alike.

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