1. Express what you feel.
We live in a world where it’s terrifying to be open. We’re scared to talk to people about what we really feel, yet our relationships depend on whether or not we do. We’re terrified to tell someone what is on our mind in a given moment, what we’re thinking, or how that person’s touch makes our heart leap. But we must. We have to stop putting up barriers between what we’re experiencing and what we actually confess to the other person. Who cares if it is scary, nerve-wracking, or crazy? It’s exciting. And when you tell someone how you’re feeling it opens doors and lets love flood in.
2. Do what feels right in the moment.
Enough with the holding back. Enough with the over-thinking. Enough with the wondering whether or not you should, and just do. Honestly, life’s too short to calculate every single thing. Too short to wonder how you should act in a given situation. Too short to stop doing what you want, and later wish you would. Quit living with regrets. If you want to reach for his/her hand? Do it. If you want to kiss him/her? Do it. If you want to pull him/her to you and pick him/her up and spin him/her in a circle in the middle of the street? Do it. The only one stopping you is yourself.
3. Be open about your past.
Vulnerability is hanging your dirty laundry out in the air and hoping the other person will still love you for who you are. But you know what? We all have dirty laundry. And the sooner you can be open about your past, where you’ve been, what has shaped you, and how you’ve changed—the sooner you’ll be able to have raw, honest, and beautiful relationships. So quit hiding your past and sweeping bits and pieces of yourself under the rug. The right person will love you for who you are, darkness and all.
4. Share something you never thought you would.
The deepest parts of you are the parts that another person wants to see. That person wants to unfold all your layers, watch you come undone in the palm of their hands. That person wants to know you, the real you behind the façade you show the world. That person wants to know your secrets, and share theirs with you. Let them. Let them open you, let them experience you. Share with them the things you cover up, the secrets you never thought you’d let out. That’s where true love begins—the moment you quit hiding.
5. Believe what someone tells you.
Vulnerability is trust. Trust, when every situation from your past is screaming at you not to. Trust, when you’re terrified. Trust, when you’re not sure you should. Trust, when you cannot guarantee that this person will keep your heart safe. You trust, because that’s the only way to let someone in. You believe what they say and give them a chance. Otherwise you’ll always be looking back in the rear-view mirror wondering what could have been.
Open your heart and open your ears. Listen to what this person is tell you—their emotions, thoughts, fears, insecurities. Not only is vulnerability sharing slices of you, but it’s carefully holding the pieces of another person and learning how to love them.
7. Stop guarding your heart.
You don’t have to be so protective. You don’t have to hold people at arm’s length. You don’t have to compare every new relationship to the past. You don’t have to expect people to earn your love—that’s not how this works. Stop guarding. Be open. Vulnerability is knowing that you may get hurt, knowing that everything could go wrong, knowing that love between two imperfect people will undoubtedly be imperfect, but choosing love just the same.
And that? That’s strong, raw, and real.