Self-sufficiency and autonomy can keep us from being beaten by the storms in life, but they can also keep us from true intimacy. For a balanced relationship, both partners must depend on one another, feel needed and appreciated.
Being let down in past relationships can leave us feeling like needing someone is a scary consideration. Opening up can lead us to a vulnerable and exposed place, but these are necessary for a trusting, intimate partnership. Though some see vulnerability as a weakness, it is a real strength as we are allowing our true selves to be seen by another.
Shutting down our vulnerability completely closes off the opportunities that can provide meaning and purpose in life. Vulnerability can be defined as risk and uncertainty with emotional exposer. Based on this, falling in love is a huge risk because it is uncertain. However if you continually sabotage relationships it is likely due to a fear of this type of vulnerability. This fear can prevent total engagement with a partner. You could be shutting out love because of an unwillingness to share the innermost of your feelings, wishes, and thoughts.
What Drives the Fear?
Are you afraid parts of you will be unacceptable to a partner?
Do you feel safer and more in control at a distance?
Are you worried about being betrayed and abandoned?
Is shame stopping your vulnerability with others?
Too often, those afraid of intimacy will pick poor partners so they can keep a safe distance. This requires an in-depth examination of self to understand the fear and overcome it. Avoiding the issue will leave you drained of all energy.
Vulnerability Can Lead to Intimacy
Being willing to open up and be vulnerable does have benefits. These include:
- Vulnerability can increase a feeling of worthiness and enhance authenticity.
- It helps us achieve a sense of identity while growing closer to our partners.
- Being vulnerable allows us to ask for what we need and want.
- It allows trust to be built in relationships and others.
- When vulnerable, we can give and receive love fully.
Disengagement erodes a relationship, but through vulnerability with a partner, trust and intimacy are built. We must be willing to take the risk of falling in love. This means letting go of both fear and control. All relationships will have risks, but many are worth it, even if you have been hurt in the past. Start believing you are worthy of this type of love.
Help Yourself be Vulnerable
Intimacy is a source of comfort and predictability in a highly uncertain world. While some fear a relationship ending, all relationships end through death, a breakup, or divorce, so there is no need to worry about what cannot be controlled. Instead, try these techniques to help increase your vulnerability.
- Start by visualizing yourself in an open, honest, vulnerable relationship with a partner.
- Challenge any self-defeating thoughts and beliefs.
- Provide yourself a daily reminder that it is a healthy behavior to accept help from others. Leave the past in the past so that you can move forward in intimacy with your new partner. Practice the new skill slowly while tracking your progress.
- Give yourself permission to take risks by being vulnerable. Build this with your partner so you can get comfortable with your authentic self.
It is completely possible to not lose yourself and still be vulnerable. By trying, you will restore your faith in things like trust, intimacy, and love.