In today’s blog post, we’re going to talk about vulnerability and I’ll share with you my 3 tips on how to become more authentic with your partner and take your relationship to the next level.
First, let’s take a moment to explore what being vulnerable actually is. When you are vulnerable, you are exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, physically or emotionally. This is the state when you open up to others and let them in on whatever’s going on inside of you.
But why is being vulnerable in a relationship so important? And why is it so hard to become fully authentic with your partner?
Being authentic is about trusting your partner to see the parts of you that you have a hard time showing to the world. Yes, it can be pretty scary to show your weak spots—especially early on in a relationship—but if you don’t dare to show that person every part of you, then how could they love you for who you really are?
Honoring your truth, speaking your mind, confiding in your partner are all important pillars of a great relationship. But no matter how true that is, it can still be really hard to open up, especially if you’ve been hurt times and times before. That’s why today, I’m going to show you my 3-step process on how to cultivate vulnerability and learn to trust your partner even more.
If you want to listen to the audio version of this blog post, here it is:
1. Share Your Feelings
If your partner doesn’t know what’s going on, how will they be able to get to know you, trust you, understand you, and support you? Being in a relationship is all about honesty and trust.
If you like your feelings like your pickles—neatly packed and bottled in a jar—there’s still a way to get around your shyness. Tell your partner, in a calm and serious, yet expressive tone, that you want to share something important with them. Focus on your feelings and your experiences.
Express them with sentences starting with ‘I feel like,’ rather than ‘You make me feel like.’ It’s your own feelings, so take ownership of them. It may be hard to admit at first, but every time you’re honest with yourself about your feelings, you and your partner both win.
Remember: If you focus too much on the other person or on the way that they make you feel, that will just make them defensive and unable to listen to you. Don’t put blame and responsibility on your partner. Tune into your own feelings and share them from your true and authentic self.
2. Understand Your Fears
Even if you share your deepest and most authentic feelings, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the response you want from your partner. But that’s okay. Being vulnerable is not about achieving a given outcome, it’s about building trust and becoming closer to them.
Observe your thought process when you feel afraid to share something with them. Are you afraid that they’re going to judge you, get angry with you, or laugh at you? Remember and write down your answers.
Ready? Introspection time! Let’s focus on those negative thought patterns of yours. CBT—or cognitive behavioral therapy—is something I often talk about on this blog. Why? Simply because I’ve found it to be extremely effective when coaching my clients and helping them to reframe their way of thinking. CBT can help you stop being your worst enemy and become your best friend.
If you want to use the #1 CBT tool used by therapists and coaches all over the world, download it for free:
Now, let’s ask some tough questions:
If you’re confident that your partner is going to react negatively, do you really have any evidence of that? Have they snapped at you before when you tried to express your feelings in a calm and respectful way to them?
Or are you afraid because a similar thing happened in a previous relationship—and you feel that it scarred you in a way? Did your parents react in a way that made you shut down and never want to share your feelings with another human being ever again?
Whatever it is, let’s look at the facts. Every time you share your feelings with someone, it’s a different experience altogether. Our goal here is to help you start sharing your true and authentic self without thinking about other people’s reactions. So, let’s focus on you instead.
We can change thoughts like ‘My partner is not going to like what I have to say’ to the more introspective thoughts like ‘I honor my truth and it’s important that I share it with my partner.’
Being vulnerable is all about taking that leap of faith and trusting that your significant other will understand you and you’ll become even closer. It’s also about removing yourself—and the way you express your feelings in the here and now—from the way that people respond to you, no matter if they are your partner, parent, or peer.
If you need help with the way that you are expressing yourself in any of these relationships, book a free session with me and we’ll work on it.
3. Take a Look at the Past and How It’s Been Affecting Your Present
In the universe of psychology, vulnerability is all about two things: triggers and defense mechanisms. And, like many other things in that field of study, it goes way back to when you were a child. When you are a child, you don’t have any defense mechanisms.
Then, the world slowly starts to become a big, scary place that can hurt you, and you start developing coping skills to survive. But what if those coping skills are not serving you anymore? How can you get rid of them for good?
One of the ways to do so is to relive the trauma you’ve experienced. Many people who struggle with being vulnerable in a relationship have experienced a severe traumatic event in their past. If that’s the case with you—or if you can’t remember what made you that way—I advise you to consider therapy.
Second, you can only learn from what has happened to you in the past and apply these lessons to your current relationship, without trying to mold it into something it’s not.
For example, if you had a trust issue with your previous boyfriend who cheated on you, that will most probably create some trust issues in your current relationship. What you need to acknowledge here is your own behavior and start doing things differently.
Stop letting your past interfere with your present. Instead of focusing on all the things that can go wrong, start paying attention to the good things in your relationship. Be kind and loving towards your partner, show them that you care about them, have fun with them.
Share what you’ve been going through. That’s what vulnerability is about. Once you start trusting your partner, it will become easier to share things about yourself over time.
You may start with something that happened to you in the past and had a great impact on you: the divorce of your parents, the death of a loved one, a bad breakup. The more you share, the more connected you will feel to your partner.
Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable. As Brene Brown calls it: it’s ‘the power of vulnerability.’ When you feel doubt about sharing a part of you with your significant other, remember: vulnerability is a power, not a weakness. And it’s going to help you and your partner grow not only as individuals but also as a couple.