Vulnerability in relationships is a tricky thing.
When it comes to love I hear from a lot of women, “I got vulnerable and I got burned, so why would I do it again?”
I totally get what they mean, and here’s what they are missing when it comes to TRUE vulnerability.
When most people say “I got vulnerable”, what they’re actually saying is they’ve expressed something to someone even though it was uncomfortable or even scary. Which seems about right? Well, here’s the catch…
The disconnect in how vulnerable we are actually happens when we’re also attached to the outcome and expect that outcome to match the level of vulnerability that is expressed. When it doesn’t match up, it causes us to shut down, not wanting to express ourselves or get vulnerable like that again.
Here’s one way that might play out.
You might tell a guy that you’ve been crushing on that you’re interested. That alone can feel like you got vulnerable, and to some degree you did.
But when you tell him that you like him, maybe you leave out the reasons why you feel this way, or skip telling him about certain moments where you thought you were both flirting because you aren’t sure how he will take it or if you’ll sound creepy. So you tailor your big reveal to what you think he will think. Logically this makes sense because we want to have the best outcome.
The thing is you are doing all of this in your mind.
You are guessing what he will say and do, guessing how someone will take it, guessing if they’ll think you are weird or crazy.
Then you finally get the nerve to tell him that you like him, and he comes back with “I’m flattered, but I just don’t see you that way.”
Of course this is such a disappointment because you put yourself out there thinking he might feel the same way. Then you feel totally stupid and rejected by even thinking you thought there was something more there.
Here’s another example.
You might tell your partner that you really need his support because you’re handling too much right now. Even saying that was difficult because you pride yourself on being independent and figuring things out by yourself.
He agrees, but then you don’t feel any more supported than before. So you feel let down because he said he would support you but didn’t follow through.
It makes you question him, and even the act of asking for help. You might even think, “I should know better than to ask someone for help. I just have to do it on my own.”
What if I told you there is a way to get vulnerable and feel freer maybe even better, even if the outcome isn’t what you expected or wanted. Almost like you’ve gotten exactly what you wanted out of the interaction because of your vulnerability…
Here’s the key.
Vulnerability and revealing how you feel or think about something has to come fully and energetically from being in your own body and expression.
Meaning, there can’t be any tailoring of your own self expression to fit what the other person may or may not think of you or what you’re saying.
When the expression comes fully from you from your own truth, no editing, you will feel freer, even if the outcome isn’t what you wanted or desired.
This doesn’t mean you won’t feel hurt or other feelings. You will.
But, you will also feel a lightness within it.
If you don’t feel that freedom, it’s a sign. It may mean you tailored, edited, or adjusted your truth.
I call this conscious vulnerability.
When I practice conscious vulnerability…
I’ve found that 8 times out of 10 when I say what’s true for me, take accountability for my experience and how I translated things, and ask for what I want and need, I usually get met in that expression by the other person.
It doesn’t matter if they agree or want the same thing, because deep down what I really wanted, what most of us really want is to be seen in that vulnerability.
But when we hold back, edit, or tailor our full expression because we’re scared they will misinterpret, not get it, be scared off, or we won’t ultimately get what we want…
…we forego feeling free from within.
Conscious vulnerability is particularly helpful when communicating with parents. The parent/child relationship (or those that raised us) is often one of the hardest in our lives, even if we’re close to them. And everything we experience in love today stems from that parent/child relationship.
When we allow ourselves to experience conscious vulnerability with them, and allow them to show up for us in a way we may not have allowed before, something shifts in the way we receive love forever.
Now I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you practice conscious vulnerability? What experiences have you had when trying to get vulnerable? Leave me a comment below.