Do you feel free and comfortable being fully yourself with your partner?
Can you share your deepest secrets, most embarrassing mistakes, and most painful insecurities?
Can you be completely authentic and open, revealing your most intimate dreams and longings, secure in the knowledge that you won’t be ridiculed or rejected but instead embraced?
Can you be completely vulnerable and exposed without the anxiety that your partner will stop loving you or will judge you harshly?
Unfortunately, most of us have been trained from an early age not to be vulnerable, not to talk about our weaknesses or fears. We’ve learned the painful lesson of opening our hearts, telling our truths, and showing our frailties, only to have our hearts broken and our weaknesses disparaged.
We’ve learned to hold back, to pretend to be someone else, to protect our hearts. We’ve learned that the best defense against pain is a good offense. So we build brick walls. We hold ourselves at arm’s length. We show only our best sides. Of course, it’s exhausting and stressful maintaining this pretense. It takes a lot of energy to be something you’re not.
Holding back does protect you from emotional pain in the short term. But in the long run it wreaks havoc on your relationship. Without vulnerability in your relationship, intimacy will wither and die, like a flower that never develops deep roots 먹튀검증.
This kind of openness should become easier over time and with practice as you both feel safer in the knowledge that you are cherished no matter what. But developing this security requires that you routinely reveal yourself to your partner and expose your feelings rather than hiding them or stuffing them.
It requires letting down your guard and inviting your partner into your inner world through regular dialogue as well as a mutual regard for one another’s sense of emotional safety and respect.
There are nine reasons why vulnerability and the ability to communicate freely are essential for intimacy in your relationship:
1. Vulnerability reveals the complete person you are.
When you are able to show yourself fully to your partner, you experience the joy and freedom of being fully yourself. And your partner benefits from knowing all of you, not just the glossed-over, superficial parts of you.
You both enjoy the depths and intricacies of all aspects of each other?the good, the bad, and the ugly. There is beauty and healing in being known so completely by someone you love and who loves you.
2. Vulnerability fosters trust.
As you reveal yourself to your partner in deep conversations, and they respond with respect, love, and dignity, your trust in your partner expands. As you reveal more of yourself, you invite your partner to be vulnerable as well.
You give them the courage to show the hidden or shameful parts of themselves. Both of you experience the security and peace of having the other’s back and knowing you are still loved and respected.
3. Being vulnerable with one another invites growth.
It allows you to reflect honestly on your true self within the safe harbor of a trusting relationship. You can assess changes you need to make and the person you want to become without taking a blow to your self-esteem.
Self-honesty is critical to living authentically, which in turn opens doors to untapped potential within yourself. A loving, mindful partner provides a comforting space in which to evolve and grow, minimizing the pain that transformation often creates.
4. Vulnerable conversations build your confidence.
As you practice expressing your feelings, revealing your flaws, and admitting your fears, you see that the practice of vulnerability doesn’t diminish you but actually strengthens you.
You realize you can expose yourself without becoming less of a person. You are bolstered by your ability to stand firm in your own truth and acknowledge your flaws and regrets. They are part of who you are and what has brought you to this place in life. A loving, mindful partner will celebrate all of who you are and how you are becoming.
5. Vulnerability heals wounds.
All healing begins with acknowledgment, acceptance, and awareness. When you are real about your pain or fear, rather than trying to run from it or hide it, you purge yourself of the blocked feelings and the stress of trying to pretend or ignore.
By putting things out in the open with your partner, you allow the light of truth to ignite the healing process.
6. Vulnerability creates bonding.
All of us have areas of ourselves we fear revealing or sharing with another, even our partner. We all have regrets, shameful feelings, and self-doubt. When you’re able to open up about these with the most important person in your life, you connect even more deeply with their humanness.
You allow your partner to see that you are just like him or her, that you share common feelings and fears. This bonds you closer to each other as you recognize that you aren’t alone in your humanness.
7. Sharing in a vulnerable way deepens your love.
Being vulnerable means you can express your deepest feelings and share love on a more profound level. You can be tender, affectionate, silly, emotional, and passionate in ways that elevate your relationship to an almost spiritual experience.
Rather than growing bored with each other, your vulnerability allows you to reveal more and more layers of yourselves over the years. Your relationship becomes an exciting adventure of mutual exploration that makes your love deeper and stronger.
8. Vulnerability makes you more attractive and interesting.
Nothing is more appealing than authenticity. By being fully yourself and confidently accepting your good and bad qualities, you become more interesting and attractive to your partner.
Your ability to express yourself openly and acknowledge your flaws makes your partner feel safe and confident around you as well.
9. Vulnerability teaches you comfort with uncertainty.
When we are vulnerable, we don’t always know how our partner will respond to us. We take a huge risk by putting ourselves out there. This uncertainty causes discomfort and anxiety.
By practicing vulnerable sharing, you grow accustomed to uncertainty and can tolerate the unpleasant feelings it causes, especially if your partner responds with love and kindness. You can use this new toughness to cope with other areas of risk in your life that can stretch you and expand opportunities for growth.
As bestselling author and vulnerability expert Brene Brown reminds in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, “Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy?the experiences that make us the most vulnerable.
Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”
Set a time to share something vulnerable with your partner.
After you have explored and discussed how and why you are holding back and not being vulnerable, choose a time to share something vulnerable with one another. A good time might be during your weekly meeting or another calm time when you won’t be distracted or interrupted by others.
This is a habit you may want to practice just once a week initially, as it can sometimes stir up intense emotions to reveal or share something uncomfortable or embarrassing. Working on this habit daily might be too intense.
As with other variable habits, you’ll need to set up a reminder system to help you remember to practice this habit.
Choose a topic to share.
If you aren’t in the practice of being open and vulnerable with one another, you may want to start with a safer topic. If you have a long-held big secret, and you’re uncertain how your partner will react, you might want to save that conversation until you feel more secure and confident in sharing openly.
Some topics to consider include:
-an insecurity you have
-a past wound
-a failure or mistake you’ve made
-a dream or goal you haven’t expressed
-a sexual fantasy
-a worry or concern about your abilities
-a fear or phobia
-an embarrassing experience
-a feeling or opinion you deem as inappropriate or wrong
-a weakness you have
-a lie you have told or continue to tell
-a situation where you’ve acted against your integrity
-a time you lost your temper
-a regret you hold onto
-a mental health issue that you suppress (e.g., low self-esteem, anxiety, or depression)
As the listener, invite full disclosure.
Each partner will practice sharing and being the listener. That means each of you needs to make the other feel safe, heard, and accepted as you listen and respond to what has been shared.
Accepting the gift of your partner’s vulnerability means you listen actively (as outlined in Habit #15), and you offer compassion (if required), acknowledgment, acceptance, support, affection, and love. If invited, you can offer feedback or ideas, as long as they are not critical, defensive, or judgmental.
You may feel disappointed, embarrassed, uncomfortable, irritated, or threatened by your partner’s vulnerable sharing. If your partner is revealing a lapse in character or a sexual fantasy that you find off-putting, it’s only human to have your own reactions and emotions about the information.
But … it’s important in the moment of vulnerable sharing that your first reaction isn’t to shame, blame, or criticize. Instead, make your partner feel safe, and reinforce your love for him or her. Your reactions and facial expressions must remain calm and composed, even if you are churning on the inside.
Here are some steps to follow as the listener:
-Begin by saying to your partner something like this: “I want to know you fully and completely. You are safe talking to me because I will always love you.”
-Sit close to your partner, hold his or her hand, and make eye contact.
-Listen attentively without becoming distracted or interrupting your partner. Offer visual encouragement for your partner to continue by nodding, squeezing his or her hand, or smiling with love.
-When your partner stops talking, ask if there is more he or she needs to say to feel completely unburdened or to clarify any points. If so, continue to listen attentively.
-Once your partner is done, thank him or her for being so open and vulnerable with you. If the topic was difficult or emotional, acknowledge that you know how hard it must have been to share it and how hard it was to keep it inside for so long.
-Confirm your commitment and feelings for your partner (even if you were upset by the information) by saying something like, “I love you so much, and I am here for you. We are a team.”
-Ask your partner, “What do you need from me right now?” It may just be a listening ear, a hug, and the knowledge that you understand and accept him or her. Or it may be your partner needs forgiveness, support, feedback, or some action on your part.
-If you can offer your partner what he or she needs in the moment, offer it right away. If you can’t or you’re uncertain of your own feelings, offer an alternative or say something to your partner like, “I hear what you need, and I’d like to take some time to consider your request. I love you, and I’ll come back to you about this soon.”
As the speaker, consider the deeper revelations.
Before you speak, consider in advance what you want to share and the deeper emotions or needs behind the topic you want to reveal to your partner.
For example, you may share an embarrassing situation at work when you didn’t have a project completed as the client expected. But the deeper emotions you’re experiencing might be feelings of inadequacy or low self-esteem.
If you share a sexual fantasy, perhaps you have a deeper longing or emotional need you want met through the fantasy.
By revealing the emotions behind the surface feelings, you open yourself fully to your partner, giving him or her an understanding of your inner world, which is far more complex and “real” than anything you generally show to others.
Here are some steps to follow as the speaker:
-After your partner affirms that you are safe revealing yourself, begin by telling the story or relaying the information. “I had a situation at work that was really embarrassing.” “I have a fantasy I’ve never shared with you before.” “I have an emotional issue I haven’t told you about.”
-Have faith that your partner is true to his or her word and won’t judge or criticize you. Then elaborate on the details of the situation, being fully truthful and detailed, not withholding information out of fear, discomfort, or shame.
-Once you share the details, reveal any deeper feelings. “I’m really concerned my boss will see me as inadequate.” “I need to feel more desirable and sexy.” “I’m afraid you won’t love me if you know how depressed I am.”
-Tell your partner what you need from him or her. “I need you to hug me for a few minutes.” “I’d like you to be willing to try out my fantasy.” “I need your assurance that you’ll stick with me through this depression.”
-Thank your partner for listening and making you feel safe to express yourself openly.
-If you want your partner’s feedback, ask him or her to share what they think. This feedback should be offered gently and with love and compassion. This isn’t the time for your partner to correct your behavior or negate your opinion.
Regroup and discuss your reactions and feelings.
After you have both had a chance to share, being vulnerable and listening to
one another, circle back to discuss the exercise:
-How did it feel to be vulnerable with your partner?
-Did you feel safe and accepted by your partner?
-How did it feel listening to your partner being vulnerable?
-Do you feel closer to one another having shared openly?
-Is there anything more you need from your partner as the listener?
-As a result of sharing, is there more that needs to be discussed between the two of you related to the topics brought up?
Try to catch yourself building walls or shutting your partner out.
During your daily life together, become more aware of ways in which you resist being vulnerable with your partner. Notice times when you hide your emotions or pretend everything is okay when it really isn’t.
Practice letting your partner see the “real” you as often as possible, and invite him or her into your emotional world, even when it isn’t attractive or positive.
Within the safety of your partner’s acceptance and love, your wounded places will heal, and you will feel liberated to be who you are with self-compassion and confidence.