You can’t have one without the other.
We crave intimate relationships, but is that possible without being vulnerable?
Here’s the dilemma:
We want love, we need love, and at our core, we want to be emotionally intimate with those we love. But this deep connection requires that we are open, authentic and vulnerable — and the emotional exposure is absolutely terrifying!
Why do many of us find falling in love so unsettling? Why do we often end up shutting down or running away in the face of intimacy? Why are we uncomfortable with being open and real in our relationships? Because of our intense fear of vulnerability.
We hate rejection.
We’re afraid that if we show who we really are, with all of our flaws, imperfections, and inadequacies, we will be rejected, criticized, or viewed as weak. When we experience rejection, especially from someone we’re in love with or someone who we want approval from, we instinctively throw up those defensive walls of protection.
This can become a pattern of behavior that ultimately hinders us in future intimate relationships. We find it harder and harder to tear those walls down and allow people in for fear of being hurt or rejected again. We, ultimately and ironically, sabotage the thing we crave the most in order to feel safe.
Intimacy requires vulnerability.
One of the biggest benefits of getting older is realizing that the joy that comes from being honest and vulnerable far outweighs the pain of rejection. You discover that when you have the courage to expose your real self, others naturally feel more comfortable and inclined to be intimate with you. Overcoming that fear of being rejected and taking the risk to be vulnerable results in what you desire — deeper connections with those you love.
Being your true self and expressing that authenticity in your life and relationships also has the inherent advantage of increased inner peace and increased outward attractiveness. Why do you think we love being around little children, animals, or sometimes the elderly? They have no pretenses or facades. They are what they are and we’re intrinsically comforted by their authenticity. Furthermore, being with someone who is “down-to-earth” and vulnerable give us permission to be the same.
So if you’re wondering how to overcome the fear of intimacy in your relationships or with yourself, this is a great place to start!
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