Vulnerability doesn’t have a good rep. We often associate vulnerability with weakness, but interestingly enough vulnerability has been shown to be an important element of healthy relationships. Brené Brown, an expert on social connection, conducted thousands of interviews to find that vulnerability is at the center of social connection. So, being vulnerable can improve relationships.
So what exactly is vulnerability? In this sense, it’s the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed emotionally. Which is why most of us struggle with being vulnerable, when we live in a society that values strength. But being vulnerable is so important because it helps you to build trust and feel close to the people you have relationships with.
If you want to strengthen your relationship with someone try these 4 ways to be vulnerable:
Be authentic: Speak your truth
Being authentic, I believe, is the overarching way of being vulnerable.
Being honest about what you think and feel can be hard. Especially when telling a little white lie or not saying how you truly feel, may make the conversation easier. But this doesn’t improve relationships. It might help in the short term, but in the long term this can stunt the growth of your relationship.
Instead, the next time you’re having a conversation and you’re faced with either speaking your truth or staying silent. Try being honest about how you feel. It’ll be hard at first but the more often you do it, it’ll feel more natural to you. You’ll have less of a sense of not being your true self and the person you’re talking to will have the opportunity to truly get to know you.
It’s very difficult for many people to speak their truth. This is something that I’ve struggled with as well, but I came to realize that you can’t have a real relationship with anyone, be it your friend, partner or family member, if you don’t allow them to see who you truly are. You have the control to allow people to see as much or as little as you like, and it’s important that you take the risk of letting them see you.
Be open to feedback
With people who you are close to, be open to their perceptions of your actions and words. You’re given the opportunity for self reflection and this can assist you in determining the areas in your life for continued growth.
Be honest about what you want
Too often we stay silent when we have the opportunity to say what we want. But we don’t, because we don’t want to appear needy or put the focus on ourselves. It’s just easier to let it go. But this will hurt you in the long run. Not being honest about what you want, can lead you to feel your needs aren’t being met and and you’re not valued. So, ask for what you want.
Be willing to accept help
We live in a society where independence is held in high regard. And while there’s nothing wrong with striving for independence, we must admit that sometimes we need help. It’s hard to go through life alone and without help. Remember, the most successful people in the world wouldn’t be who they are without the support of others.
And a bonus…
Don’t be afraid to say that you don’t know something. Whether at work or at home. It’s ok to not know. No one knows everything. You’re not stupid or less of a person for not knowing the answer to every question. You can let people see that you’re human.
So, keep these tips in mind to be vulnerable in your relationships. I hope they bring you closer and increase the trust in your relationships.