I love the above quote. It really spoke to me and moved me to write a bit about being vulnerable.
How we view ourselves to be and how we actually ARE in romantic relationships can be two different realities. I would love to think that I’m some easy breezy, open hearted, wear my heart on my sleeve kinda gal when it comes to intimacy. What I have discovered recently is that being vulnerable can be really scary, exposing and super uncomfortable. There are moments when running for the nearest cover and hiding sound amazing.
I will be 100% straight with you by saying that I’ve been taken back by how hard it’s been for me to be vulnerable. Yes, ME. The shrink, who has gone through grad school in Clinical Psych, coaches people weekly with relationship issues and has been drilled with information containing “the right way” to act in successful and healthy partnerships. I don’t care how many self help books or classes one has taken, when it comes down to exposing depthful layers of yourself, it can be hard to open up fully and gracefully to another. Period.
I can continue on here with bullet point statements of “How to be Vulnerable,” but what I feel more called to acknowledge is that it’s scary and can feel really raw and frightening to put yourself “out there” with another. Brace yourself, here are my words of wisdom: It’s Okay. It’s okay that it’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s okay that it feels uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean that there is anything “wrong” with you (or me!) Strictly, it means your human and you have feelings and emotions. (Thank God.) You’re not doomed if it’s a difficult feat for you to open up. Although, it is something to acknowledge and be aware of so you can work on it. That’s it.
None of us are perfect and none of us are ever going to be. I know I can become critical of myself, especially because of my line of work, when I don’t show up fully open and rearing to go in the beginning of an intimate partnership. I teach this stuff, I should have it dialed, right? The realistic, gentle side of me would say, “Of course not, your human and it’s all apart of the journey girl.” The truth is that there are scars, experiences and perspectives (for better or worse) that I’ve gained along the way which lead to some roadblocks with being fully vulnerable. This is not bad, it’s just life. My work is to be aware of when they pop up and keep communication open about those blocks so they don’t close me up and wall me off to love. That would be a shame. I suppose that’s the more “scary” outcome; to miss an opportunity to have a rich connection and relationship with another because it’s too uncomfortable or scary. That would be fear winning and I'm not down with that.
In the end, I see it as having more to lose by not opening up. Once you get to that point, drive and motivation are present to back you up and help you work through the uncomfortable moments and conversations that may need to be had in order to open up and be vulnerable with another.
* The above image was taken by Ashley Williams, San Diego based photographer.