Getting vulnerable is often the last thing that we want to do. There is so much emotional risk involved in letting people in on what is going on inside of us. This is the place that we can communicate what we want, who we are, what we fear, and how we feel. It’s tempting to walk around, avoiding this space as much as possible. However, walking directly through the discomfort of vulnerability is the only want to truly connect with someone else.
Keeping away from vulnerability is very tempting. There isn’t a lot of risk when we don’t go into that place. It also is taught to us that staying very far away from this space is strength. Popular culture feeds into the belief that we really don’t need connection at all. As a result, we can end up thinking that keeping people far away from how we feel is strength. Sometimes we believe this so much that we keep our emotions away from ourselves.
This thinking is understandable. Many times when we take emotional risks, we really get burned. This can happen in childhood, adolescence and adulthood. We can put ourselves out there in a way that we want to share it with someone else, and walk away feeling worse than we did before. This makes vulnerability a very confusing thing.
The problem with avoiding vulnerability to such an extent is that it creates a barrier to connecting. We all have a need to love and have some feeling of acceptance in our lives, yet when we don’t allow people to see who we actually are, we don’t walk away meeting that need. This increases our risk for looking for relationships in the wrong places, trying to connect with the wrong people, and being confused about what we want.
Vulnerability is something that is very important to practice. It’s often something that can seem intolerable if not practiced. At times, it can be very intense. Therefore, practicing it in smaller, less significant situations can help you to feel more comfortable about it in bigger, more intense situations. With practice, you’ll be more comfortable with it, and although the journey will be rough at times, you’ll eventually be rewarded with the kinds of connection, love, and belonging that we all want and deserve.