Letting yourself be vulnerable is perhaps one of the riskiest things we can do as humans. It goes against every natural animal instinct we may have left in us. It calls on us to risk it all: to willingly expose our necks to the chopping block. So if being vulnerable is so risky, why is it essential to our psyche to accomplish such a task? Why take the risk? One theory I have been cultivating is that vulnerability is a necessary ingredient to any healthy relationship but it is a bit more than that: we, as humans, need someone to be vulnerable with. Without this fellow soul in transcendence we really are nothing but a shallow version of ourselves: a glossy cardboard cutout as compared to flesh and blood.
As I said being vulnerable is a huge risk, and not like the kind that comes with an exciting adrenaline rush. There is little fun involved: simply fear, embarrassment, and if your lucky, possibly validation. Validation from vulnerability is the most pure kind of validation.
When you find that person, the person who knows all your weaknesses, you will never want to let them go. In their eyes you may find the understanding you so desperately need to find within yourself. You may find that your sleeve is a perfectly good place to keep your heart. The things we find so unacceptable about ourselves may find peace in the acceptance of others. Maybe others will tell you that this is unhealthy: to rely on others to learn more about yourself, but sometimes we need a little extra help. I don’t believe showing your vulnerable side to someone has to be unhealthy.
On the other hand, if there is something missing in your relationship, it may be time to take a closer look at how vulnerability is being distributed. If your partner is exposing their emotions more than you or perhaps the other way around then something has to give. Finding a balance in healthy emotional risk taking is essential for any healthy relationship. It may take trial and error to find such a balance. Being vulnerable isn’t a one-time thing. It is a continuous process.
The most important thing about vulnerability is to do it for yourself. Don’t do it to build a connection, but if that happens it will just be an added bonus. Take the plunge, accept yourself, say what is on your mind, then take the time to look up. I think you may find that the world is still spinning. If I can do it, so can you.