How To Be Vulnerable and Why It’s Important for Better Mental Health
Being honest, thoughtful, and communicative are essential components of meaningful relationships. Often seen as a sign of weakness, being vulnerable is also necessary for true intimacy. When people keep their shields up, this can cause relationships to struggle.
Vulnerability is sharing your deepest secrets, fears, and affection. This allows a person to connect with others and experience their true emotions. In turn, this vulnerability will build trust in both platonic and romantic relationships. To be vulnerable is to be strong, not weak.
What Does It Mean To Be Vulnerable?
Vulnerability is often described as openness and being willing to share. However, it goes beyond discussing comfortable topics. It requires being authentic about how you are feeling, who you are, and how things have affected you. Vulnerability is showing up as your true self even when it is uncomfortable.
In her TED Talk, The Power of Vulnerability, Brené Brown describes vulnerability as the core of shame and struggle for worthiness. Despite this, it is also the birthplace of creativity, belonging, and love. Many true meaningful experiences and relationships are not possible without exposing strong emotions.
On an individual level, vulnerability is opening yourself up to potential rejection. It is important to create healthy boundaries and choose who to be vulnerable with. While this requires bravery, it supports personal growth and allows you to be your truest self. For some, being vulnerable is sharing their beliefs in the face of opposition. Others show vulnerability by doing something they’re not good at. In all cases, vulnerability requires individuals to examine their innermost feelings.
Vulnerability is also essential in platonic and romantic relationships. Trusting another person to accept every part of you comes with the risk of rejection. However, it is better to let someone in with the possibility of pain than to keep everyone at arm’s length. Sharing goals, needs, and past pain helps to build empathy and understanding.
Being vulnerable shows that you trust your partner with the innermost parts of your life. Opening up, asking for help, and trusting others are the foundations for strong relationships.
Vulnerability is also important for more fulfilling interactions with friends and family. Sharing personal details helps to put other people in our shoes. This in turn creates stronger, more fulfilling connections. Understanding the joys and heartbreaks of each person’s story solidifies these relationships.
Benefits Of Being Vulnerable
While being vulnerable is scary, it comes with joy, belonging, and authenticity. Sharing your true self brings about individual and interpersonal benefits, such as:
- Finding new perspectives. By examining our own motivations and feelings, we improve our own self-awareness. This increases personal accountability and can identify patterns in behavior. Furthermore, vulnerability leads to acknowledging other perspectives.
- Gaining a sense of belonging. People have an innate need to feel a sense of belonging with the others around them. Beyond fitting in, vulnerability leads to people who accept your authentic self. Opening up is necessary to show those around you who you truly are.
- Forming greater intimacy. A cycle of trust and vulnerability is necessary to feel secure in relationships. Trust, safety, and deep connections allow people to form meaningful relationships.
- Working together with others. Asking for help requires admitting weaknesses that you might want to keep hidden. This vulnerability leads to teamwork, where people work together to overcome emotional challenges.
- Being open to change and growth. Vulnerability is often the catalyst for change. Being emotionally open exposes you to richer feelings and experiences. In addition, honest self-analysis allows you to examine the cause behind your actions. Once you are aware of why you are doing something, it is easier to make changes. Vulnerability is necessary to be present in the now instead of worrying about the future.
Along with the benefits discussed earlier, vulnerability has an impact on mental health. Opening up helps overcome negative emotions and fosters a sense of community. With the support of loved ones, vulnerability allows you to manage unpleasant emotions.
More Vulnerability For Better Mental Health
Those who have experienced hurt in the past tend to remain closed off to avoid any emotional pain. Although vulnerability is often seen as a weakness, it is the foundation for better mental health. By exposing your flaws and past pain, they lose their power over you. Vulnerability allows you to live your truest life.
Being vulnerable leads to strength which results in greater resiliency to emotional pain. Opening up also fosters deeper connections and a sense of belonging. By sharing with others, we are allowing ourselves to be seen and accepted exactly as we are. Taking this leap builds self-acceptance and can help overcome negative self-images. Along with increasing self-worth, vulnerability can decrease feelings of depression and anxiety.
Being closed off allows negative feelings to grow with no healthy way of processing them. Vulnerability is essential in therapy and relationships to improve areas of concern. In a recent survey, 87% of American adults agree that having a mental health disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. Vulnerability ensures that you do not have to go through internal battles alone.
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