The idea of being vulnerable isn’t one we like to think of. Ask most people what they believe vulnerable means and they’ll associate more negative events than positive ones with the term.
For some reason, vulnerability is seen as a weakness. Even the dictionary defines it as “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” If that doesn’t scare you and force you to push vulnerability aside, I don’t know what will!
But if we dive deeper into the definition, we can see that being susceptible to emotional harm – read as getting hurt, means that you have to open yourself up to feeling something in the first place. Your ability to feel and be vulnerable plays a vital part in your dating and eventual love life success.
Wait…you have to be open to being hurt to succeed at love? Yes, you do. And most of us have an issue with vulnerability because it is at the core of shame and fear and our struggle of wanting to be accepted. It is seemingly scary stuff, and I’m here to walk you through the why and how of mastering your vulnerability.
Let’s start off with a couple of key points:
Being Vulnerable Means You’re Alive.
While vulnerability can be associated with our fears, insecurities, and heartbreaks it is also where joy, belonging, and love is born. To experience both sides is to experience being alive.
Our sweetest moments in life wouldn’t be as sweet if we didn’t experience the bitter. There is no shame in feeling pain and sadness. Those emotions are present in our life for a reason. To shut ourselves off from the ability to feel won’t protect us from pain, it will numb us to happiness and therefore close us off to love.
Being Vulnerable Makes You Strong.
Stop believing that vulnerability makes you weak. It is actually the strongest thing you can ever do. It takes a strong person to fully experience all that life has to offer. The weak hide in fear of being hurt, but it takes a strong person to knock down walls built by heartache. There is strength in allowing yourself to love again.
Once you are able to take comfort in knowing that being vulnerable is the only way to experience life, you can begin to be embrace your vulnerability.
How to Master Your Vulnerability…
Like anything new, being vulnerable takes practice. Vulnerability is at the center of connection and the first step is to share ourselves. On your next date, try sharing something about yourself that you don’t usually share at this stage. Be sure to look your date right in the eye as you share, because eye contact is scary and makes you feel vulnerable.
The next step to mastering your vulnerability is to notice when you are shutting down. The idea of being vulnerable and possibly getting hurt often makes us shut down. Maybe shutting down means that you get quiet or you stop reaching out to the person you are seeing for fear of getting too attached. Have you ever really liked someone and talked yourself out of it for fear of being hurt? That’s you shutting down.
To master your vulnerability means you have to be mindful of when you’re shutting down and then push through that with more sharing. Share why you’re shutting down with your date/partner. Tell them it’s because you like them and that’s scary. Tell them about what you’ve been through in the past, so they understand that this isn’t a reaction to them, but a process you are working through. Whatever the reason is, share it.
Sharing yourself authentically with another person is the most vulnerable thing you can do, and the only way to build a true connection. You want the person you end up with to accept all of you and the only way they can is if you share yourself.
So go on and be vulnerable. Without it we can never truly allow love into our life and without love you will never truly live.
About the Author:
Ravid Yosef is a Dating & Relationship coach living in Los Angeles. Adamant about sharing the lessons she learned about love and life after cancer, she established LoveLifeTBD.com, a personal blog in April of 2014 and has written over 100 advice articles. Her advice columns and personal essays have been featured on YourTango, Care, Women.com, Fox Magazine, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Psych Central, and many other online publications.