When you are willing to be vulnerable and share your truth, you open the door to authentic connections with yourself and others
What does it mean to be vulnerable — to truly make that drop from your head to your heart?
I recently had a conversation about a serious intimate matter with a friend, someone I adore. While I had no problem listening and learning about who this person was, when pressed to share my feelings, I shied away from being honest about my own desires. Why? Because being exposed at that level of authenticity is freaking scary. Even for me.
In any situation, we run the risk of getting hurt. If you’ve experienced that in the past, sometimes the story of what you think will happen can lead to great resistance instead of keeping your heart wide open. I think we all have experienced this to some degree and the consequences can be detrimental to our personal development. More importantly, it can cast a shadow over intimacy, deeply impacting our ability to connect with others.
Sharing our feelings without knowing how a person will react opens us up to potential scrutiny, judgment, misunderstanding and criticism. When confronted with the possibility of getting hurt, it’s easier to hide our most vulnerable selves. Yet the upside — and believe me this one takes the cake — is getting to be truly authentic with another person by allowing your self to be seen.
What’s the worst that can happen? If someone can’t handle your truth then that’s not your person.
To thrive in relationships, there needs to be a level of vulnerability. Without it, there is no intimacy. For me, the two have been a lifelong struggle. But as I evolve, the need to be vulnerable is too important for me to ignore.
In the past, I have run away from connection, terrified of not being good enough and preoccupied with playing a part so as to keep my partners interested. This way of being is exhausting and unrealistic. As I tried harder to show my worth through my external appearance and accomplishments while keeping my feelings quiet, the further away I got from my highest self. And when the relationship called for a level of intimacy, I would run so far, with the intention of removing myself from the dynamic before being pushed away. Over time, however, I’ve learned that I am incapable of being close to another person if I keep parts of myself hidden under the weight of fear.
Intimacy creates a safe and fulfilling connection between two people.
Instead of shutting down, running away or detaching from the experience, take an opportunity to look within, identify your old stories and sit with the feelings. What happens is magical. Standing in your truth and letting another person witness who you are creates a bond that cannot be broken. There’s a level of trust that exists as well, between a romantic partner as well as a friend.
Instead of being ruled by fear, I say jump in, share every side of your self, and revel in the joy it brings. The benefits include improving your communication with others, being seen and understood, building self-esteem and feeling comfortable in your own skin.
I have spent most of my life projecting this vision of who I think others want me to be, always with the intention of protecting my heart. As I’ve come into my own, I often wonder what was it all for?
Today, I am overjoyed by the chances I take, the people I love, the experiences I’m having, and the connections created all from being vulnerable.
I will end with a quick meditation practice to help get the introspective process started. Take a moment to sit quietly and focus on your breath. Deep inhales and exhales, breathing love in and breathing fear out. Reflect on one relationship that you may be hiding in. What would you want to say to this person if you were free from fear and the possibility of rejection? Write it down, say it out loud and sit with all the feelings, both scary and exhilarating. When you’re ready, find your voice and begin to share your truth.
>You may also enjoy reading The Power of Truth: Truth Telling as a Means of Self-Discovery and Healing, by Barbara Berger