“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.” ― Paulo Coelho
“What happens when people open their hearts?”…”They get better.” ― Haruki Murakami
“To share your weakness is to make yourself vulnerable; to make yourself vulnerable is to show your strength.” ― Criss Jami
“And maybe that was love. Being so vulnerable and allowing someone else in so far they could hurt you, but they also give you everything.” ― Christine Feehan
“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.” ― Frank Crane
The biggest fear people have is feeling vulnerable in relationships.
Why do we have a fear of being vulnerable in relationships and especially the emotional vulnerability of it?
When you are in a relationship you are vulnerable because there is a greater chance that your partner will see all aspects of you -including your shadow dark self and other “negative patterns.”
When you eventually show your shadow self the biggest fear you have will be the rejection of that aspect of your being.
What if my partner rejects me, leaves me, hates me and so on you say to yourself. You are very vulnerable at this point and that is where the fear is within you.
Underneath all these fears is the belief that says, “I am not good enough and I will never really be loved by another.” I am unlovable! Which of course is not at all true.
Almost Universally people have unconscious fears about not being enough and not being lovable.
Fears like these cause a tremendous amount of anxiety for people; especially in intimate relationships.
Do you fear being vulnerable around others and as a result hold back?
Often when you are vulnerable with another person they see themselves in you and will react negatively and attack.
They do this because they don’t like what they see in you because they don’t like it in themselves and may judge you very harshly.
When people are asked about being vulnerable in a relationship their thoughts and descriptions often turn toward the negative.
For example, “Being vulnerable makes me weak,” or “Vulnerability is a bad thing because someone can use it against you.”
Being vulnerable does not necessarily mean that you will be attacked by your partner.
It all depends on your partner though. If they are the type that would use your vulnerability against you then you may want to reconsider your relationships.
I’ll give you a neutral example here:
Let’s say your partner is severely allergic to flowers. If your partner is anywhere near flowers they have a severe reaction to it. They sneeze, wheeze and physically shut down.
Being a “good” partner the last thing you would want to do is provoke your partners allergies by bringing flowers into your home.
Your partner is completely vulnerable to them and the last thing you would want to do is to cause them intentional pain and suffering. The same is true for emotional/mental vulnerabilities too.
If this happens, just know that it is not about you, it’s about them.
From a higher perspective you already know that you are love, and you are unconditionally loved, but that is not always enough when it comes to dealing with personal anxiety about relationships.
Normally, you probably never even thought about your vulnerability in relationships until an event triggered it.
Perhaps your partner ended a relationship with you, or rejected you in some way and that left a wound in your soul that never quite healed.
Being vulnerable in a relationship is a real growth opportunity if you allow it.
Most of our fears about being vulnerable in a relationship have to do with past wounds of abandonment, neglect and being deserted emotionally.
Maybe these things happened when you were a child and you didn’t have the experience or perspective to deal with them back then but you do now.
The key to remember is that you have tremendous strength and power to heal from your past wounds, and more importantly, to not repeat them.
Re framing to change your beliefs about relationships and feeling vulnerable
One of the ways that I heal old wounds is by a technique called “re framing.” Reframing is a way of going back mentally to a past “hurt” and changing your perception about your experience.
I talked about being “dumped” at Skateland when I was a kid by a girl named Tammy. The event definitely left a wound in my soul and caused me to avoid being in a relationship for many years after that.
As an adult, I learned how to re frame past “negative” events, and I was able to mentally go back and re frame the experience (and many others) from one that left me feeling wounded to one that left me feeling empowered.
Re framing the experience allowed me to see the experience from a different perspective. And what I know now that I didn’t back then was that other people’s behavior towards me says nothing about me, and everything about them.
Stop Giving Your Power Away in Relationships
Often times in relationships we give our power away to our partners in hopes of avoiding negativity and confrontations.
The truth is that no relationship is perfect and you need to be able to express your true feelings without fear of upsetting your partner.
In a healthy relationship there should be no fears, worries or concerns about expressing what you want and what you don’t want.
For a relationship to work, both partners need to be secure enough in themselves to be able to hear their partners voice their concerns and frustrations, without getting defensive or reacting as if the relationship is being threatened in some way.
In order for a relationship to grow or at least to maintain it, both partners need to feel safe and comfortable with who they are and what they want.
You need to be able to own your power.
It’s yours and it’s vital to your success. If you give your power away to your partner, you are basically giving them permission to dictate your life.
Relationships that work the best are ones where the balance of power (energy) is almost equal. Being totally submissive, or even totally dominating in a relationship will not work long-term. It never does.
Attracting the right partner is the key element to having a fantastic relationship with another. You may have to go through several relationships before you find the right match for you.
Each relationship is a process of discovering who you really are. Each one is a learning tool to remind you what you like and dislike in a partnership.
Don’t waste your time feeling like a failure if a relationship ended because when one door in life closes another one surely will open.
The key to remember here is to not keep choosing the same door.