A friend wrote to me asking for my views on vulnerability in both romantic and intellectual relationships and I’m so excited to share my outlook on this matter!
Vulnerability is not just showing the pretty and fun side of you. It’s about showing all of you, even the parts that you might try to deny or keep hidden, and believe it or not, everyone does this to some extent. For most, they are afraid that if they reveal themselves, they will be labeled, misunderstood, or even rejected. Vulnerability is something that many people battle with, the fear of revealing all of oneself to someone and in return to get judged or reprimanded. Today I will be sharing some ways with you to start fighting back, and to gain back your independence, to allow you show your vulnerable side, when necessary, and in what situations staying more reserved isn’t always a bad thing.
The number one thing about vulnerability is that you should always remain true to yourself. Whether its in a friendship or relationship, you have to keep your values and morals in sync with this person. For example: If you are in a relationship, and after some time you find out that your significant other has been cheating on you, although you thought maybe you could trust this person, they chose a different path. Do not torture yourself about what YOU could have done differently to prevent this. As long as you stayed true to yourself, the other person is to blame. With friendships, show who you are as a person, so that people are able to get a feel for and connect with the real you. You can be vulnerable without laying it all on the table. They don’t need to know your history from the beginning; these things will come with trust and comfort. Let yourself be seen, not just on your good days, but also on your bad. No one can get it right all the time, and if anyone tells you they are then they are lying.
Without vulnerability, there is no genuine connection. We all -or most of us- are able to sense when people are feeding us false information, or glorifying it to seem better than it is. This is a great tool that our subconscious already puts in place for us! While you are still nice to them, you know that you don’t have any connection with this person because you can see that they are hiding themselves from you. While after some time with this person, you may start to consider yourselves friends; there will always be something big missing from that relationship. It’s impossible to have a deep and meaningful connection without knowing whom your talking to and this is completely understandable. You have to feel comfortable talking with someone about you and who you are, so if you see that they cannot do the same with themselves why even start opening up?
I have thought out some guidance for you guys on how to approach your vulnerability. Whether it is in a relationship or friendship, these tips will help!
- Vulnerability is much easier when you love yourself, and all of yourself. Once you do, you don’t worry so much if others do. The fear of rejection begins to diminish and you are now in a place of openness. You see your worth and begin to fully appreciate who you are, and from that point forward, you don’t let other peoples’ opinion get in the way.
- It takes practice… I’m not saying that you will be able to wake up one morning and all of the sudden be completely comfortable with yourself and completely vulnerable to the world around you. To some extent you may always have a small guard up, and this is normal. But remember, life will always give you opportunities to choose openness, and in time, this will become easier and easier.
- Be Real! Whatever you are feeling, say it. If you are sad, say something. If you’re scared, tell someone. If you don’t like something that someone is doing, tell that person. You owe this much to yourself… you should never ever feel uncomfortable in any situation. By speaking up, you are able to show that person a small part of who you are and how you operate, thus resulting in vulnerability.
- Ask for help. By talking about your weaknesses with others, you allow room for different points of view. Maybe you are someone who attempts to do everything yourself, but then you reach a point of anger and frustration. When this happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation at hand… see which parts excite you and motivate you. When these become visible, write them down. Then do the same for the opposing side. Find the parts that cause frustration and exhaustion. With this list, you now can see the aspects in which you may need help, and those are the things that you should express to someone to learn how to make it more exciting for you rather than exhausting.
- Never Over-analyze! While I mentioned before that our subconscious is able to notice when others aren’t being themselves, don’t over think everything someone says. What I mean is, don’t stew on things people say and overthink them to the point that you “find something” about them that seems off to you. If people are truly listening to you and trying to help you, what they are saying is in best interest of you, be thankful for that and allow their information to flow into your mind.
- Most importantly… get rejected! This is the main fear most people who have concern with vulnerability have, but getting told no by someone leaves room for the Yes. Maybe you asked a guy/girl to hangout, they said no. Ideally you will feel somewhat embarrassed or ashamed inside. But look at it this way… by them saying no 1. You have faced one of your fears which in return as made you that much stronger, and 2. Them saying no just shows they weren’t the right one and will leave the door open for that right one to come. Always remember, through action comes growth!
Aside from revealing your own vulnerability, ask your friends/family to talk to you anytime about their problems, fears, or frustrations. Just by doing this, you will begin to see that you are not alone in yours. This in return will make you feel more comfortable about sharing your feelings with those you know will understand you… and those people will come.