Most people, when they think of vulnerability, often see it as a weakness. It’s something that makes them weak and exposed. What if we saw vulnerability in a different way? What if we saw it as a fortress?
In this article we will explore the idea of vulnerability and why it is important to have it in our lives. We will also talk about how to be more vulnerable in our relationships and why it can be so beneficial.
What is the vulnerability?
Vulnerability can be viewed as the ability to be open and honest with our feelings, thoughts, and experiences. In this sense, vulnerability is presented as a resource for personal development and growth.
On the other hand, a state of vulnerability would allow us to be able to show our true selves to others. Even if it means we can be hurt.
And that may be why we refuse to experience vulnerability. Being vulnerable takes courage and strength, because we expose ourselves without knowing what will happen. We hope that the other person will accept us as we are.
We know that human beings are primarily oriented towards pleasure and certainty. This is why vulnerability can be so threatening.
Why is vulnerability important?
But if the vulnerability generally does not produce a pleasant feeling. Why would it be important to experience this in our relationships?
Vulnerability matters because it can help us break through the barrier of superficiality that characterizes contemporary relations. Help us build closer relationships with others. Because when we are vulnerable, we let the other enter our inner world and know us as we really are.
This can lead to a deeper level of trust and intimacy. Also, being vulnerable can help us grow and learn more about ourselves. This allows us to get in touch with our emotions and understand ourselves better.
What are some examples of vulnerabilities?
Some examples of vulnerability are sharing our deepest fears and concerns with someone, being honest with our mistakes, and admit we need help. Other times, we may find ourselves vulnerable by opening up to our feelings or sharing something personal with someone.
Vulnerability in the psychotherapeutic relationship
A clear example of a relationship where we often use vulnerability as a resource is the helping relationship that is established in psychotherapy.
With a psychotherapist, we can experience what some call psychological safety. That is to say an environment built in collaboration with another person (the therapist) characterized by:
- Acceptance without prejudice
If you have been in psychotherapy, you will know that these elements allow us to speak openly with the assurance that the other person really cares about us. To understand our world and therefore to promote in ourselves the same attitude, that of seeking growth by allowing us to be who we really are.
But we must not forget that this relationship has a limit. And that only happens in a helping relationship as a professional health care service. However, we can learn more from this example about how to integrate the experience of vulnerability into our daily lives.
How can we be more vulnerable in our relationships?
There is a lot of ways to be more vulnerable in our relationships:
- Try to share some things that we wouldn’t normally share with others. Which can include our thoughts, feelings, fears and experiences.
- On the other hand, be more open and honest with the people around you. It means being honest about our feelings and thoughts, even if we are afraid of how they will react.
- Finally, we can also be vulnerable in admitting that we need help or support from others. This can be difficult to do, but it can be very beneficial for our relationships.
Don’t forget that social vulnerability is often considered a weakness and that these transformations in your relationships may come as a surprise to many. But daring to be vulnerable and allowing others to have a safe relationship to be is also actually a strength.
Try to practice the attitudes we mentioned above (empathy, respect, confidentiality and acceptance). Giving it to people you know will inevitably bring it back to you.
Additionally, creating growth relationships based on moments of vulnerability can allow us to get in touch with our emotions and better understand ourselves.