Vulnerable is an emotion that scares us; we avoid it like the plague because it creates an uncomfortable vibration in our body, creating a desire to protect ourselves from what is causing the feeling. I talked about how vulnerability feels to me in an earlier post about practicing vulnerability; I highly recommend reading it after digging into this post. Vulnerability is a productive emotion when we need to protect ourselves. Still, most often, it isn’t protecting us in a way that helps us build deeper connections with our romantic partner. Learning how to become vulnerable in our relationships is the one tool that will move us closer to our relationship goals the fastest. I have found that when I become aware of this emotion, the more curious I get about why I am feeling it, which invites me to challenge myself to stretch and grow in my relationship with Jeff.
Staying the same doesn’t require vulnerability, and it feels awful in a whole different way than the discomfort we feel when we put ourselves out on display to be judged, critiqued and ridiculed.
Anything we want to improve in our life requires us to step out of our comfort zone and be critiqued by others, but getting critiqued by the people that mean the most to us feels extra uncomfortable, it feels more real and closer to the possibility of us feeling rejected. First, I want to remind you that other people can’t reject you, only you can do that with your thinking. With that said, we do find it easier to discount many people’s opinions about putting ourselves out there and more difficult to let go of our partner’s reactions, or lack of reaction, to steps we take to improve our relationship.
How to become more vulnerable in your relationship
Start practicing small, intentional steps
We do this by noticing when we are feeling emotions like defensiveness, judgment, superiority, critical, and then learning how to process these emotions. Start paying attention to how these emotions feel in your body and then see if you can discover what thoughts you are thinking that produces the emotion you feel.
After you have done the above work, start thinking about how you want to act intentionally; what might you want to say that describes what is happening for you? Here is where I recommend you think of “I” statements where you draw the attention back to you, how you are feeling and why. An example could be, “I feel neglected when you are on your phone while we are alone together.”
I recommend you do all of this work through journaling, doing thought downloads, where you start to recognize and learn. All of the above work is done during a short journaling session to walk yourself through possible scenarios. With the above example of the phone use, how might you guess they will respond? Might they turn your comment back on you? During your journaling session, you can play out how you might hear their response and work on understanding instead of reacting. Possible responses along the line of “I hear what you are saying, right now, I am expressing how I feel, could we talk about that?” This allows you to focus on yourself and find solutions; then, you might ask them if they could do the same for you.
Ask yourself every day “How can I be honest and vulnerable in my relationship today?”
Make it a fun game where you are challenging yourself with new ways of opening up, seeing how it feels and the results you get from what you do. This process opens you up to learning and improving; you will see what is working, what isn’t and figure out what you can do differently.
Many of us haven’t been taught healthy ways of opening up and having productive conversations. Instead, we have been taught how to defend ourselves, blaming others for how we feel, which closes down the conversation, connection, and growth.
The more we practice vulnerability in our romantic relationships or any relationship, the easier it gets to be vulnerable because we see the fruit of our labor. Consider times when someone has been vulnerable with you, how you appreciated their vulnerability and were willing to listen to what they offered you. Most people will respond productively when we turn towards what is happening for us and not blame or criticize the other person.
In AwakenYou, we look at what results from your current responses are creating. Then we look at what you want to create in your romantic relationship, open and honest communication. Then we start the practice of learning how to take small steps of courage as you create the reality of that romantic goal.
I am a life coach who works with individuals looking to change their current or future romantic relationship – my program helps them discover that they are enough. This self-love empowers and equips them to take continual, forward steps in achieving the healthy, romantic relationship they desire. Are you ready to explore this journey in your life? Schedule your program inquiry call today and let’s decide together if this is your next step to creating the life you’ve been dreaming of.