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Vulnerability (弱さ)

Some Japanese readers of my new book スタンフォード大学マインドフルネス教室 are impressed by the idea of vulnerability. It is a difficult idea to communicate and created great discussion with the translator and editor. We decided to write it in Katakana to indicate that it's meaning was hard to capture by existing Kanji. The closest Kanji seems to be 弱さ but even this may not indicate the degree to which vulnerability can be a strength if viewed as openness and a courageous stance.

A reader, 坪井一真, wrote:


[The most important thing I learned from this book is to heartily accept my vulnerability. The message that through acceptance of our vulnerability we become strong resonates in my heart . . . . ]


[Many of my Stanford students are fatigued by the constraints they feel to excel and never show their weaknesses.] 小さいころからエリートとして育てられてきた彼らは、自分の弱さを認める事は自らのアイデンティティの崩壊と考えてしまう傾向が強いそうです。でも、本当の強さと言うのは今の自分の弱さも含め、受け入れられるようになって初めて身につくのだという事を教授は授業を通して伝えています。

[From a young age they have been raised to be elite with the strong tendency to believe that to show their vulnerability would threaten their identity. But in this class the professor communicates the message that true resilience is in accepting ourselves as we are, including our vulnerability.]


[Mindfully experiencing ourselves in our present reality, including our weaknesses, is a way to growth and maturity.”]

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