Has your partner told you you should ‘open up more’ or ‘be more vulnerable.’ What does it mean to be vulnerable? Better yet, how can you be vulnerable?
Ever wondered what does it mean to be vulnerable? I mean, what is it actually?! Let’s get one thing straight, we’re naturally designed to not be vulnerable. Vulnerability is usually seen as a weakness. Hence, why people that like you ghost you or act hot and cold. Of course, they’re assholes, but they also prevent themselves from becoming vulnerable in hopes of not getting hurt.
What usually happens? These people end up miserable and single because they don’t let anyone in. Now, this used to be me. I would only date guys casually, never truly letting them to get to know me.
Firstly, because I wasn’t ready for a relationship. Secondly, I didn’t see them as people who deserved my openness. But then this turned into a vicious circle as even the guys I did like, I wouldn’t let in. [Read: The hardships of being afraid of intimacy]
What does it mean to be vulnerable?
Now, I’m much more open because of my partner. He pushed me to open up and become vulnerable. It’s not easy, I’m scared of getting hurt, but I’m also feeling a connection I never felt with anyone else. Was it worth the struggle? Absolutely.
If you’ve been told you’re a difficult person to open up, it’s because you don’t want to be vulnerable. However, that needs to change if you ever want an honest and meaningful relationship. It’s harder than it looks.
#1 It’s not about weakness. This is something you need to get through your head. Being vulnerable isn’t about being weak. Vulnerability is about opening yourself up to someone, letting that person into your world. It’s okay to protect yourself, but there are some people you should connect with on a deeper level. This includes family, friends, and partners. It’s not weak, it’s about connection. [Read: These unique traits show you if someone is trustworthy]
#2 Know why you flee. Usually, right when we’re at the moment of being vulnerable, we bail. Yeah, this is why you’re known as an asshole. This is because when we sense danger, we move away from it. Now, the danger your body senses is you becoming emotionally attached and developing feelings.
#3 You can handle whatever happens. You need to remember that whether or not the outcome is positive, you’ll be able to handle it. We’re scared of getting our hearts broken, but they’ve been broken before. We’ve survived the months after it. We act like we don’t know what’s going to happen after the fact but we do, and we always pull through.
#4 Don’t stop yourself. Your mind is probably telling you, “oh no, no, no, don’t do this, it isn’t a smart idea.” But listen, like I said before, this is your body and mind trying to protect itself from stress. Instead of putting up your walls, give yourself the okay to experience openness. If you’re feeling pain, instead of running away, ask yourself why you’re feeling it. [Read: 14 steps to emotionally connect with someone and feel closer]
#5 Accept yourself. At the end of the day, before you ever practice vulnerability, accept the fact that you are worthy. You’re worthy of your dreams and goals, you’re worthy of human connection. By accepting yourself as who you are, you allow yourself to open up to everything around you.
#6 Understand you’re already hurting yourself. Here’s the thing about vulnerability, by closing up, you already hurt yourself. Your emotions are pent up inside your body and mind, and this idea of protecting yourself actually creates more pain inside you. By being vulnerable, you increase your chance of being happy. [Read: How to let go of insecurity and be happy in a relationship]
#7 If you’re feeling emotional, talk about it. One of the best ways to overcome vulnerability is to talk about your emotions and feelings. There’s a reason why you feel scared or unsure, and it’s best if you talk to someone about it. This allows you to practice vulnerability with someone you trust.
#8 State your needs. To become more vulnerable, you need to state what you need. And you know what, this is actually very difficult to do. Many of us don’t talk about what we need with other people. For example, your partner may work a lot, but you need more quality time with them. By stating your needs, you’re allowing people to fulfill them.
#9 Get yourself a reality check. Every now and then, we need a slight reality check to put us back in our place. When we put up walls, we’re not expressing our feelings and needs. Thus, it only continues to build up inside of us. What happens? We eventually burst like a bubble.
#10 Track your feelings. Still confused over what does it mean to be vulnerable? If you can, start by writing down your emotions throughout the day. Why you’re feeling this way, and how you acted on the emotions. This will help you become more aware of your emotions and triggers. That way, you figure out what’s really going on inside you. Perhaps you find you’re an emotional eater or uncommunicative when upset.
#11 Not being vulnerable gives people power. I know, people usually assume that by being open you give yourself away to other people, however, that’s not true. By opening up, you show others that you’re in control of your emotions and accept yourself. Vulnerability actually works to keep you safe because you’re aware that you’re worthy. [Read: How to stop playing power games in relationship and focus on love instead]
#12 Take baby steps. You don’t need to lay your heart out on the table right away. It’s not going to be that easy. In fact, you’ll work on this constantly, so that you don’t revert back to your old ways. Step by step, make yourself open up more to the people you trust.
#13 Don’t expect positive outcomes all the time. You will have positive outcomes, but remember, this is life. Do expect that some outcomes of being vulnerable won’t be positive. I once expressed my feelings to a guy I really liked. It took a lot of courage to do it, and I got shot down.
Of course, I wanted a positive outcome, but it doesn’t always happen like that. Though, I kept moving forward as it didn’t stop me from working on my vulnerability.