Gabriel Mizrahi (@GabeMizrahi) joins us for this deep dive into vulnerability — what it really is, why it can’t be faked, and how to spot it in ourselves and others to make real connections while avoiding manipulation by those who don’t always have our best interests at heart. [Photo by Matt Antonioli]

What We Discuss with Gabriel Mizrahi:

  • How to resist the pervasive Cult of Vulnerability that exists even in the most well-meaning of circles today.
  • Why vulnerability doesn’t respond to exercises, requests, or expectations, no matter how hard you try.
  • What happens when you try to force vulnerability — from yourself or someone else.
  • How to tell the difference between authentic and strategic vulnerability.
  • When being vulnerable is appropriate and when it isn’t — and how to ensure we’re calibrating it accordingly.
  • And much more…
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“Vulnerability” is one of the most pervasive buzzwords being bandied about today. On the surface, it seems to come from good intentions — to illustrate that we all withdraw from being real at times and reassure us that it’s okay to show our true selves to others. Only by displaying ourselves as vulnerable — so say those subscribing to what Jordan calls The Cult of Vulnerability — can we make meaningful connections with others.

The problem with this line of thinking is that authentic vulnerability isn’t something that can be manufactured on cue. It can’t be trotted out like a show pony in front of a live audience; it needs to be coaxed out indirectly and organically, or else it shrinks from scrutiny like a felonious executive under congressional oversight. In this deep dive with Gabriel Mizrahi we examine how to spot vulnerability when it’s being used strategically by others to manipulate us, how to tell when vulnerability is authentic, and how we know when the time is right to show our own vulnerability or keep it to ourselves. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

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More About This Show

The Cult of Vulnerability

Gabriel and I talked about a trendy dinner party in Los Angeles I once attended. The food was enjoyable but the evening quickly turned into a worst version of forced self-help you can imagine. We were instructed by the host to go around the room and talk about the one thing we were all struggling with. Yuck.

Forced vulnerability never works. It was awkward and not only did it not bring everyone closer — it just didn’t work. Have you been in a situation where you’ve felt like you were forced to play along and be intimate? Well, it’s time to break out of the Cult of Vulnerability.

Just Say No

Gabriel told me a story about a dinner party that he attended during which The Cult of Vulnerability made an appearance. (Dinner parties in L.A. sure sound suspect, huh?) At Gabriel’s event, when it was his turn, he just said no. He opted out, and the circle continued without him having to force his way through some inauthentic vulnerability.

Later that evening, multiple people quietly thanked Gabriel for opting out. They didn’t even realize saying no was an option. And remember: you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do (even if someone is saying your lack of participation is the problem).

Checking Your Motivations

Vulnerability isn’t worth a damn if it isn’t real. With intimacy, authenticity will only come up organically. The best way to get to true vulnerability is to start by checking in with yourself about why it is you’re after this sort of emotional nakedness.

To dive even deeper into vulnerability, make sure to read this episode’s companion article here: Stop Trying to Be “Vulnerable.” Do This Instead.


If you enjoyed this session with Gabriel Mizrahi, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:

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