How to open up and be more vulnerable in relationships

vulnerable
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Have you ever been in a relationship where you felt scared to open up and be vulnerable? When you expressed your feelings, the other person shut you down.

Or maybe you were the one who iced someone out when they shared their inner life. Your fear of intimacy made it impossible to accept their invitation to draw closer.

Why do we struggle to be vulnerable in relationships? And how do we overcome the fear of exposing ourselves this way? Here are 6 ways.

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1. Get curious about why you struggle to be vulnerable

Have you stopped to consider where you learned that it’s dangerous to let people in? Maybe your parents discouraged open and honest communication.

If so, you associate emotional honesty with danger and have closed off from being vulnerable in relationships. Since your parents rejected your emotional needs, you equate emotions with distance not closeness.

Since your parents rejected your emotional needs, you equate emotions with distance not closeness. Click To Tweet

You have adopted an insecure attachment style which makes it difficult to let others into your emotional world. But with some work, you can earn a more secure attachment style and get that emotional intimacy we all crave.

2. Take baby steps

Start by reciprocating when someone shares their emotional world with you. That doesn’t mean dumping all your feelings on someone else.

But after listening to them, take the risk to share something that feels vulnerable to you. Sharing intimacies is how people draw closer together. You’ll find they respect your courage to open up.

If people pull away from you in relationships, it could be they’re not experiencing a deep enough connection with you. Once you start sharing more of your feelings, relationships go to another level and people trust you more.

3. Know yourself.

Take time to understand your wants and needs so you can express them. Knowing who you are and what you want helps you set healthy boundaries and establish clear communication.

4. Understand your values.

Do you know what’s important to you in life? Not everybody values open and honest communication. If that matters to you, you’ll spend time with people who share those values.

5. Choose yourself when being vulnerable

The choice to be vulnerable should come from a need to be seen and heard for who you are. Choosing yourself means you will never abandon yourself even if someone else does.

Choosing yourself means you will never abandon yourself even if someone else does. Click To Tweet

You might fear rejection but if it comes, you’ll never reject yourself. You support and praise you for the courage it took to be open and vulnerable.

6. Let go of the outcome

Most times when you express vulnerability you will get positive feedback. The other person will draw closer to you and reveal their own soft spots.

But in some cases, the other person will not take well to you opening up. Their own fears of intimacy and attachment issues will make them react badly to your attempts to show up fully.

If the outcome of expressing yourself is not what you’d hoped, take heart. This is not about you but about them. And it’s important information and a huge opportunity for growth.

Do you want to be in a relationship with someone who rejects you when you’re most vulnerable? Are they willing and capable of change? If not, look back at #5 and choose yourself.

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