I get it: Vulnerability is a lot easier to preach than it is to practice. Deciding to bare your soul is one of the riskiest things you can do in a relationship. It opens you up to criticism. It leaves you with nothing to hide behind or to take cover underneath.
But if you want to truly be engaged in a long-term relationship, you need to stop running. You need to stop hiding.
Love is a trust fall, one that can be terrifying. Once you begin to fall, you lose control. You can’t ever know whether the other person will ultimately keep you safe or let you hit the ground. It’s the uncertainty that sends you reeling as far away from the idea of emotional transparency as you can possibly get.
There’s a lot at stake; namely, your own heart. It’s easy to retreat, to want to hold onto some of your own power, to deny the fact that you’ve placed so much of your faith into someone else. But that act of trust, that suspension of disbelief, is what love is. You have to fully surrender to reap love’s benefits. In love, you are susceptible to wounds at any time. There’s no way around that fact.
Vulnerability is bravery because it’s ignoring the odds. It’s forgetting every reason why love may break you and instead giving it (and your partner) the benefit of the doubt. It’s offering up your soul, your mind, and your care to someone whose good intentions cannot be guaranteed.
But you must do it anyway. Vulnerability saves time and aggravation. It eliminates potential arguments and the circle of endless questioning and uncertainty. If you obscure your needs and desires, how will your partner ever be able to serve you in the way you’d like them to? Likewise, if your partner doesn’t open up, how will you ever be able to meet their true needs? Having an honest conversation about your stressors, your triggers, your emotional baggage, your hopes, and your wishes will alleviate so much pain. No one in a relationship is a mind reader, so being emotionally transparent is vital to your happiness.
You must tear away the curtain that obscures your heart. Tell someone you’ve gone on a few dates with that you’d like to become exclusive. Tell your girlfriend of one year that you really, truly love her. Tell your boyfriend of six years that you’re ready to sit down and talk, because your childhood trauma is holding you back from being truly present. Vulnerability has no timeline, but once you get there it’s transformative.
Nothing connects two people quite like the rawness of the truth, the messiness of reality, the romance of feeling safe enough to open up to someone. It takes any relationship to the next level. It opens the door for further communication. It connects your partner with the real you, not just the carefully-cultivated, socially-acceptable version of yourself. It shows your partner that you value them enough to let them in. It’s one of the highest, most telling acts of love that you can bestow upon another person.
Vulnerability is a beautiful risk worth taking. If you are dropped on a trust fall, remind yourself on the way down that you did the bravest thing you could have possibly done in love.
You allowed yourself to be totally and completely seen.