Vulnerability As A Commodity: Where’s the Line?

August 27, 2019

I’m noticing a trend in the online space where vulnerability is the new “it” factor and at times, seems like it’s being treated as a commodity to be traded in exchange for likes, download numbers and increased publicity.

Listen, vulnerability is a beautiful thing.  It brings us closer together, creates deeper connections and reminds us that we’re all part of a bigger shared human experience and not nearly as isolated as we can often end up feeling.

The problem is when the intentions behind being vulnerable shift towards attention-seeking, sharing before you’re ready, and not fully understanding the potential consequences and side effects of coming out with your story.

Before I decided to come forward with my story about the infidelity that was happening in my last relationship, I gave very careful consideration to a huge number of factors that helped me also determine how to share and the best way to come forward.


  • Walk through worst case scenarios and how you would handle them or how you would feel
  • Look at the BEST case scenarios.  What are the best possible outcomes of you sharing your story?
  • Ask yourself WHY you would share those stories.  
  • How would you feel about sharing?  What purpose does it serve in your mind?
  • How would you feel about NOT sharing?  Relief? Disappointment?


Your success and your ability to show up authentically in the online space does not hinge on sharing things that make you uncomfortable.  

There’s a big difference between discomfort and being actually uncomfortable in my mind.  Discomfort serves us and those around us and has a larger purpose and meaning, even though it can push us out of our comfort zones.  Being uncomfortable usually means that you’re crossing a boundary that shouldn’t be crossed. Think about what that difference is and how it feels for you. 

Ultimately this comes down to you.  No one else can tell you what’s right for you and what isn’t.  Keep these things in mind before you share anything super vulnerable:

  1. Get curious.  Get comfortable exploring your feelings around the idea of sharing.  
  2. Don’t share things that you aren’t ready to share. 
  3. Consider the potential consequences. 
  4. Ask yourself if you’re ready to receive criticism/flak about it. 
  5. Can you talk about the story without crying? 
  6. Journal the shit out of it. 
  7. Most importantly: Get very clear on WHY you want to share and make sure that those reasons are coming from a healthy place.



Room to Grow Podcast episode #117, The 9 Year Affair: Lessons in Infidelity

Room to Grow Podcast episode #120, Listening to Your Intuition & Gut Instinct: Stop Ignoring Your Body

Room to Grow Podcast episode #96, When We’re Perfect, We’re Not Relatable with Marsha Vanwynsberghe


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Emily Gough Coaching

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