Oprah once wrote, “vulnerability is being willing to express the truth no matter what, the truth of who you are, the essence of your core of what you’re feeling at any given moment. It’s been able to open up your soul so that others can see their soul in yours”
What does this tell us about vulnerability and intimacy?
It tells us that if you want true connection with another human being, both parties (or more if your polyamorous) need to have a willingness to be completely vulnerable with one another, to expose their true authentic selves and from this place of naked truth, real intimacy is found.
So, in this post we’re going to take a deep dive into understanding what being vulnerable in relationships really means and what we can take moving forward - with our past, current and future relationships.
Note: We’re going to get deep, like soul to soul deep. Oh, and we’re going to be vulnerable.
Are you in?
Let’s get started.
What is vulnerability in a relationship?
Vulnerability in relationships is the willingness to reveal your heart and expose your deepest truths to another person.
To fully express your thoughts, feelings, desires and/or opinions no matter what others may think of you.
It’s about being completely transparent and honest to yourself and your partner.
To share a moment, to hold space, to fully express yourself; I see you. I am hearing you. I am witnessing you.
Showing up as you are. Naked. With nothing left to hide.
Why is vulnerability important in a relationship?
When two people are able to dissolve their ego and allow their hearts to open, this allows space for the love and intimacy to expand and grow.
Without judgement. Without fear. Without rejection.
From this place, this place of connectedness and love, you are then able to bring intimacy into your high-vibe relationships like never before.
For relationships to be full filing, exciting and loving (all) parties must allow for all parts of their personality to shine through.
The good, bad, and the ugly.
Vulnerability has a way of exposing our truths, our insecurities and our deepest fears.
This paves the way for the mask(s) to crumble and the true self to shine through.
Is being vulnerable a weakness?
Not at all.
And here's why.
Vulnerability get’s a bad wrap.
This may have something to do with it’s definition.
According to the oxford dictionary vulnerability is described as:
“the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”
It’s of little wonder why we associate vulnerability in relationships as a bad thing.
I mean really, who wants to get attacked or harmed?
The truth of vulnerability is actually quite different.
Being vulnerable in your relationships is the greatest measure of courage.
It’s the opposite of weakness. It’s strength. Its bravery. It’s empowerment.
Here the thing.
Vulnerability is the soup of all your emotions. Go gently with it, and you might just discover a superpower you never knew of.
Dare to express your true emotions.
Show up and be seen, be vulnerable in your relationships, and who knows, it could be the most liberating feeling you've ever had.
How do you practice vulnerability in a relationship?
There’s only one way to get good at being vulnerable and that is to practise it.
This is simple, but not always easy.
Emotions can be scary. They can also feel liberating and freeing when they are allowed to be expressed.
Here are a three main ways to practice being vulnerable:
- Get comfortable being with your emotions
- Allow your emotions to surface and run their course
- Surrendering to them
We’ll break these down more a little later.
But first, let me tell you something...
This is not an overnight success story. It takes practise, discipline and consistency.
It's not an easy task, I’ll give you that.
However, with thoughtful practice you'll begin to develop better emotional communication with your partners.
It’s one thing to practice being vulnerable and exposing your fragilities, but it’s another thing to actually execute it.
So before you give up on telling someone you love them - only to run away and cower for the rest of your life - I first want you to try these small steps:
- Make time each week with your partner to hold a space for each other to be radically honest about how you’re feeling. Timing is pivotal. If your partner has come home from stressful day at work, this is probably not the best time to ‘have a talk’. But why not schedule a time on say Wednesday called the ‘honesty hour’ instead. You'll thank me later I promise.
- Get to know who you are so you can mirror the kind of communication and behaviour you want to receive from your partner. If you don’t know yourself, then how on earth is your partner expected to.
- Vulnerability stems from the emotion of grief (and not fear which is the common presumption). Practice talking to your grief, write about your grief, and express your grief to your partner. The more you sit with this grief and accept it, the less vulnerability you will feel.
- Be a better listener. When you're expressing your core emotions you need emotional security from your partner. When you know your being heard, seen and understood this helps you to openly express without judgment.
- Self love. A daily practise of self love can do wonders to your emotional state. Period. Work on yourself, love yourself and be kind to yourself.
Why not try a few of these ideas out for yourself. With regular practice they can lead to stronger, more fulfilling connections with your partners.
What vulnerability isn't?
Vulnerability isn't for the faint hearted.
I'll give you that.
And, it's also not about telling everyone and anyone how you feel.
There's nothing wrong with wearing you heart on your sleeve, as long as you have discernment and boundaries.
By this I mean, choosing the right people, the right circumstance, the right moments to open up and express yourself.
Boundaries are important to keep yourself in check. If you fail to have a lack of boundaries , you'll be left feeling overexposed, completely depleted and broken.
Vulnerability is all about empowerment and not about disempowerment.
Trust me, I've learnt the hard way.
Examples of vulnerability in relationships
Now that you know what vulnerability can look like in a relationship situation, let me give you a few more examples to help explain it further:
Example 1: A few weeks ago. It was my son's 8th birthday party. A friend of mine (who I had feelings for) rocked up with her children.
There's was quite a bit on tension between us from a previous exchanged that ended abruptly.
Anyway. She turned up, in a weird and defensive way.
So, I thought fuck it.
I'm going to speak my truth here and say how I feel.
I asked her to pull her sunglasses down. I looked her straight in the eye and said I love you.
The result. Vulnerability on steroids.
How did she answer?
Not the same that's for sure.
How did it feel?
Terrifying. I'm still recovering... No kidding.
But, having said that, I'm so proud of myself for living congruently and honouring my heart. And, that's what really matters.
About seven years ago, I was introduced to girl named **Poppy (obvs not her real name), she was new in town with her young family.
We had just finished a joy ride in a postal van that me and my partner had bought to travel around Europe in with our son.
We both got dropped off to have our final chat/ goodbye together before I departed.
As our conversation got deeper, more intimate, the flirting became more obvious and more intense.
Then the strangest thing happened...
We stood in front of one another, locking eyes for what felt like hours but really only minutes went by.
Neither of us spoke a word.
I felt I was drowning into this abyss of love.
Acknowledging there was something soul nourishing deep between us, I said "what is that" referring to our eye contact/ feelings - her reply "I'm not sure", with a smile which could only be described as Rasāsvāda.
This felt like I was in presence of unity consciousness.
Vulnerability kicked ass that day.
A few weeks after giving birth to my first son, my partner and I decided to get a little sweat on between the sheets.
This was the first time my body had been fully exposed since childbirth.
I felt vulnerable, awkward and saggy. Did I mention unworthy and unsexy?
Being a witness to my slight discomfort, my partner softly, tenderly and lovingly held space for me to go slowly, he encouraged me to talk through my emotions and most importantly he didn't push me! he let me call the shots.
I learned a lot about re-la-ting-ships that day.
When someone shows you respect, it's actually quite easy to be vulnerable.
Amen to awakened men.
These are just a few examples of how vulnerability can be expressed in a relationship, but they should start to give you a picture of what it's like, and what to expect.
I’m not going to lie.
Venerability is hard, it’s scary and it feels dangerous.
But, if you want real intimacy in your relationships and lets face it, who doesn't, it can’t happen unless you’re prepared to be completely vulnerable with our partner(s).
The way I see it is this...
If you want to experience deep, fulfilling, intimate relationships with your partners then you have to open up and allow yourself to be vulnerable - regardless of the consequences.
However, if you want to stay safe and experience relationships through a mask then you know what to do. You can simply ignore everything you've just read.
Let me know in the comments below, you're personal experience of vulnerability and how this has shaped your relationships.
With love & gratitude,