Vulnerable: Adj. susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.
Being vulnerable is something that I think most people don’t enjoy. It’s a scary feeling to put yourself in a position where you don’t control the outcome and you honestly have no idea how it could go. I am a bit of a control freak, (shocker I know!) and so I NEVER put myself in a situation where I don’t know what the result will be or how you get there. I didn’t realize that I was like this in the beginning, I knew I was a control freak but not to this extent. Today I am learning to put myself in these situations because I can’t control everything in my life and I need to learn to be more in the moment.
My lack of vulnerability hasn’t just been noticed in my personal life but it is also affecting my relationships with other people. I’m not putting myself out there enough to meet new people, be more open and intimate with my friends, and I often push people away for fear that they don’t want me. Now my therapist would probably say it’s due to experiences I had growing up, blah blah blah, but I’m not here to point the blame on people, I’m here to fix it, get better, and be better.
These past few weeks I struggled with my mental health and it is the first time I ever sought help on a constant basis (I’ve dabbled in therapy before but I really needed it on a daily basis). I thought I would try a new online therapist as my work schedule can make it tricky to see a therapist in person, and I am a much better writer of my feeling then verbal (add it to the list of things I’m working on). I’m not writing this to make anyone feel bad for me, but because people need to talk about so that if they are going through something similar they know they aren’t alone.
I’ve gotten a bit off track, back to vulnerability. My therapist showed me a few tips on how to be more vulnerable and in the moment when dating. I thought it would be something that could help other people!
1. Stop Trying to Be The Best
Now, this might seem a bit ridiculous sounding because OBVIOUSLY you want to be the best version of yourself, but that can be exhausting day in and day out. It is best to just be yourself, then your partner will see you during the good and the bad days. For example, I constantly push myself to be better but there are days where I just need to do nothing. My partner and I always pushed each other to do more and better each other but we often felt defeated when we didn’t get things done. You need to allow yourself down time and make your partner aware that you can’t be on your A game all the time.
It can be hard to talk about your feelings, some people are naturals at it, and others really struggle (Welcome to team struggle bus, I am the leader). It can be really daunting to tell someone when you are hurt, mad, or feeling frustrated about something. It might seem like if you voice your concern then it will only make things worse and it honestly might for a little bit but at the end of the conversation you and your partner will be on the same page and you will feel so much better about the situation.
** Note: not all relationships can be this way, some people just love a fight, if this is the case then you may want to rethink your relationship and if it is something you can be happy in. You should be with someone who you are able to communicate with, or at least try to. It is KEY! Please learn from my mistakes.
3. Go For It
Back to my lack of not being in control, I have learned that if you want something there is no harm in trying. I recently put this into effect, and it had a positive outcome! I wanted someone to spend the night, and I was terrified to ask because our current relationship is a bit tricky right now. If I wasn’t trying to be more vulnerable then I would have just let them go home and then later been sad that they didn’t stay. Realizing that they can’t read my mind, I took the plunge and as he was about to leave I said, “You should just stay” (I’m quite the romantic, I know). Looking back on it, I probably should have asked a question but this was direct and to the point. Don’t be afraid to ask someone to hang out, or stay the night. Worst case they say no and you are right back where you were. Rejection is part of life and experiences, and it won’t kill you.
4. Show Your Appreciation
Aside from the obvious, Thank you, telling or showing someone your appreciation for them. Just simply saying, “I appreciate you, or I appreciate when you do ____” can be extremely beneficial towards your relationship. People like to be thanked and it could be for anything, big or small. Ok so lets say that your partner makes your coffee in the morning, or answers the door for the Skip The Dish order, plainly saying, “I appreciate that you answer the door, It means a lot to me” can make your partner feel loved and also remind them that you noticed what they are doing for you. Relationships are all about a partnership and reminding them that they are loved is worthwhile.
I am almost finished one month with my therapist Deane on TalkSpace and I would recommend this service to anyone who just needs to talk to someone. I have talked with Deane every day twice a day. We talked about issues with my lack of communication, how to accept love, and what I can do to make the relationships better in my life. She provided great tools for me to use and I am thankful for her help. Going forward I am going to use her advice and put myself in more vulnerable situations (so long as they don’t harm me). I would encourage you all to also do this if you don’t already. We can go through this journey together and don’t be scared to talk about how things are going for you! I am always here to talk 😀
Moral Of The Story: Get out of your comfort zone, you need room to grow!