SATURDAY, OCTOBER 31ST, 2020.-
🖊 April Eldemire, LMFT/Psychology Today 📸 routercheck.com
Imagine that your partner seems anxious about something. You’re not sure what’s going on, but you feel the tension in the air. How do you respond? Does part of you perceive this mood as a rejection of you? Do you reach out? Do you know how?
The way you respond to such situations is influenced by how you access and express vulnerability. Far from a weakness, vulnerability—the willingness to tell the truth and be yourself, even in the face of uncertainty—is a resource you can develop to the benefit of your intimate connections. “Vulnerability is having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome,” psychologist Brené Brown has said. “It’s our greatest measure of courage.” Here are three ways it can enhance a relationship:
Vulnerability improves your relationship with yourself. By facing and working through uncomfortable situations, rather than turning away or shutting down, you teach yourself resilience and increase self-confidence. You come to feel less dependent on others’ perceptions, promoting a sense of security that provides a solid foundation for connecting meaningfully with a partner.
Vulnerability establishes trust. We build trust when we speak truthfully about how we feel and what we need and give our partner space to do the same. Can this feel uncomfortable? Absolutely. But when we are willing to be vulnerable, we communicate that our relationship is a safe space to take chances. This trust is essential for discussing sensitive topics like money, sex, and parenting.
Vulnerability strengthens your bond. With deeper trust, we learn that we can show up as ourselves in our relationship without fearing rejection or shame because we are supported. Such a relationship becomes a powerful container in which to work together to heal past hurts, honor each other’s needs, and manage conflict with respect and humility.