In order to have intimate relationships we are constantly told that we need to be vulnerable.
It’s a big ask. Vulnerability is scary, risky & exposing.
Vulnerability is a hot topic at the moment, but I also want to acknowledge why it can be so damn hard for us.
It’s much easier for us to get in a strop with our partners for not reading our mind and giving us a hug, than to ask for it.
What if they refuse, and we end up feeling needy and rejected?
What if we tell someone how we feel and they don’t reciprocate?
What if we tell someone our true feelings about their behaviour (such as it really hurt), and they end up feeling hurt & angry and distancing themselves from us?
What if we offend someone with our views?
What if we balls it up entirely, and it gets messy, raw, and let’s face it, vulnerable and scary.
What if someone laughs at us for our fears, or even worse, our dreams?
This does happen. And when it does, it is likely that we will feel the sting of rejection, and that deep pang of hurt.
Being vulnerable isn’t a walk in the park.
It won’t improve all of our relationships.
It will alienate & anger some people.
When this happens (I say ‘when’ because if we’re doing this vulnerability business a fair amount, it will happen) it doesn’t mean we are wrong, or too much, or too deep, or insert whatever way you like to put yourself down.
It also doesn’t mean the other party is wrong.
It means that the relationship was not able to hold that level of depth and connection. The relationship was co-created for something different.
Despite all of this, I’m a big believer, that in the right relationships where both parties are willing, vulnerability can deepen these connections, and make them much more fulfilling for all parties.
So, for those relationships, here’s what vulnerability looks like:
*Asking for that hug just because we feel we need it today.
*Stepping out first, and telling someone how much they mean to us, before they have.
*Telling someone we feel hurt or angered by them.
*Not censoring our opinions and thoughts about ‘politics’ (insert any controversial topic) regardless of whether the other person will approve or agree.
*Telling someone our deepest fears, and wildest dreams.
Here’s the catch. I don’t think we really know when vulnerability is going to ‘work’, and which relationships it is appropriate for. If we did, it wouldn’t be vulnerability.
Being vulnerable is like taking a one way ticket to an unknown destination with no guaranteed fellow passengers.
Although, as with all adventures it has the potential to irreversibly change us, and our relationships.