The Secret Connection Between Vulnerability And Happiness

Emotional vulnerability is an understated key to finding happiness. Learn one way to be emotionally available and how to parent social emotional intelligence.

Last week Jason and I surprised the kids with a trip to Disney World. The trip — and the surprise — were as magical as I thought they’d be. Once there, we soaked in the sun and the happy and the together. And when it was over, it was hard to let go of the fun we were having and that Jason and I had been planning and looking forward to for so very long.

So when, on one of our last days, Brody leaned into me –suddenly tall, his blond wisps against my shoulder– and said, “I’m sad it’s almost over,” I completely understood. There wasn’t a trace of Be glad that it happened! or Enjoy the moment! or It’ll be so fun to see your friends when we get back home! on my lips. Not because these mood shifters aren’t important or true, but because the sadness that comes with endings is just as right and real and valid.

And the gift of the vulnerability that he was openly splaying was one that I wanted to keep.

The week before we left for our vacation, a woman I know but haven’t seen in awhile sent me a note. She clarified a small misunderstanding we’d had almost exactly one year earlier. We don’t cross paths often and when we do, it tends to be within a group. She definitely didn’t have to revisit the awkward moment we’d shared, it was a blip, but she did.

And she did so with the sole purpose of connecting on a new level that I truly don’t think would’ve happened with that misunderstanding sitting in the space between us.

She, too, gifted me her vulnerability.

I answered with my own, and in two paragraphs of writing that took each of us less than five minutes to type, we went from acquaintances of circumstance to friends by choice.

There are so many keys to happiness in this life. Surrounding ourselves with good people. Doling out compliments with wild abandon. Exercise. Books. Dark chocolate. But I think the habit of showing our vulnerability is a stepping stone to happiness that we often overlook.

In the words of my new friend, it’s understated.

It’s easy to brush off discomfort and sadness and emotion –both our own and others’. And I think that the work of vulnerability is often considered just that: work.

But my moment with Brody –saying, “I’m sad, too, buddy” then sitting quietly with him– took less than a minute. Reading and writing the note to my friend took less than five.

There’s a range of how much work meeting vulnerability with vulnerability can be. But the secret to adopting vulnerability as a habit might be as simple doing what keeps the spaces between us small.

Speaking our own truths and finding a spot between listening and accepting when others share their’s is how vulnerability threads us together and (therefore?) leads us to happiness.


This month the women in The Happy Mama Movement are focusing on love. I think that vulnerability is a key to, and perhaps a connecting habit between, love and happiness.

If you’re interested in writing about love and/or happiness, you can link your post at Krystyn’s blog, Really, Are You Serious? where she’s focusing on daily habits to improve happiness.

And to surround yourself with more happiness, visit the other Happy Mamas to see what they wrote about creating their happiness blueprints — AmandaSharonArnebyaElaineNicoleAnneJenniferMindiAmiyrah, and Andrea. #HappyMamas

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  1. I have so many thoughts on vulnerability. Aidan and I explored it last month for her project The Here Year. I think there’s an inextricable, though complicated, link between vulnerability and happiness. xox

    • I’m with you — 100% with you, actually. And I’m over the moon any time that you and I are thinking similar thoughts! xo

  2. Don MacLeod says:

    How sweet and what a great mother you are. Teaching a boy to be vulnerable is a great gift to the world.
    You deserve a broader audience. More people should be reading your blogs. I love how thoughtful and kind what you write always is.

  3. I LOVE this post. This part rang especially true for me: “There’s a range of how much work meeting vulnerability with vulnerability can be. But the secret to adopting vulnerability as a habit might be as simple doing what keeps the spaces between us small.”

  4. So true, Galit!

  5. Galit, I really loved this. I often find the “be glad that it happened” type phrases to be sort of trite. Yes, they’re a valid response, but I find it to be more a “fixing” reaction. Like you say, those are valid and real too, but I love your response to your son, where you both just “sat” with the emotion, so much more.

    • Thank you so much, you! And I think you’re spot on — when I’ve used those words it was *definitely* to stop my kids from being sad (or feeling! Yikes!)!

  6. Oh, this is perfect. The trip, the perspective, Brody. Everything. Love you, my friend! xoxo

  7. When we are vulnerable, it opens us up to so much more life…living and happiness for sure. So glad your friend reached out to you!

  8. So true Galit. Glad you had a wonderful time. Brene Brown’s book Daring Greatly is on this very subject. It’s a wonderful read. Like finally being able to exhale after holding your breath. :)

  9. I hate it when vacation ends too! Sad face for sure! I’m glad that other thing worked out the way it did. I’m so glad she was brave enough to reach out to you. :)