Is Vulnerability a bad word?

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INSIGHT OUT by Adina Morris

About a month ago I was asked to participate as a Life Coach in a panel discussion about dating.

I spoke about how to work on yourself first before bringing a partner into your complicated life. I then talked briefly about how to build that relationship. One of the most important concepts in marriage is achieving a safe space to be vulnerable.

What is it about being vulnerable that actually builds a relationship?

When people sometimes think about being vulnerable, they conjure up images of being susceptible to danger or being in harm’s way. Now to be frank, it is true. Because being vulnerable does risk your security.

But therein lies the rub. When you allow yourself to be vulnerable, to be you, to share your innermost thoughts and to be real and raw, you show a part of yourself that many do not have a chance to see. Sharing a piece of your soul is sacred ground. When you share with another human being that inner part of your world you are sharing on the most intimate level. But the only way we feel we can ever share in this sacred way is if we feel safe and secure that the person we choose to share with will honor our feelings and thoughts as sacred and meaningful and that that they will take us seriously and value all that we say.

So in reality, you first need to feel safe in order to allow yourself to be vulnerable. And so in marriage and all relationships, you first need to build safety and trust and then you can begin to share more deeply and this strengthens the bond that you have with one another. If you do not feel safe, you will never allow yourself to be vulnerable. And if you do not allow yourself to be vulnerable, you will never have the intense depth of a fulfilling relationship.

Why do I bring this up? Well, vulnerability is not only in relationships. It can be in the work that we do and how we present ourselves in the broader community and the larger world. And that can be really hard for a lot of people, just as it can be hard to make that jump in relationships. 

When I decided that I wanted to start a blog, my best friend was in shock! (Well, not entirely shocked because she knows I’m not risk averse;) Why? Because how could I share my inner thoughts not just in writing, but online for the whole world to see and judge! Well, to be honest, I wasn’t really thinking about the global ramifications of my blog. I just felt that sometimes I have interesting insights into everyday life, and when I would share them verbally with friends or people in general, I would get the response of, “Wow! That is so powerful and so applicable to my life!” I started thinking that maybe more people could benefit from the insights and it seemed selfish to keep them to myself if others can find value in them. I am not looking to be judged on the merits of my written capabilities as much as offering meaning into the messages that we sometimes get and don’t always see or understand. I hope that I have and continue to inspire others to look for those messages and meanings in their own lives and to live their lives more intentionally thereby creating more meaning for themselves.

But my friend is right, I was making myself vulnerable. Why would I do that? Well, to be honest, I believe in sharing my world with others in order to help others better their own lives as I strive to do every day for myself. What about my need for safety and security? Well, I think initially my readers were all people in my life that I felt safe to share with;) Now? I am sure I do not know all of you:) but I still feel safe in continuing to share. How? Because the more you use the muscle the stronger you become. The more I wrote, and the more I received positive feedback, the more secure I felt in sharing. I have found that being vulnerable allows you to build relationships and connections with others. Sometimes on a personal level, and sometimes on a shared goals level, even if we are not close in terms of relationships. We share the same struggles, and that is our bond and connection that allows me to feel safe in being vulnerable to share with all of you.

Sometimes in life we have to put ourselves out there. Why? To better ourselves or to better others. To improve our skills or to improve our character. To strengthen our relationships or to strengthen our well being and that of our family. It is not always easy, but sometimes it must be done and sometimes we choose to do so. Whatever the case, when someone chooses to be vulnerable with you, they are actively seeking connection with you. Encourage that relationship, if it is a healthy one, by making them feel safe and valuing what they have to say. Your bond will only grow stronger. 

Our lives are so much richer when we invite others into it. Thank you for inviting me into your lives and I welcome you into mine:)