So what can you do if you are paralyzed by fear or unable to risk being vulnerable with your partner? First, you need to acknowledge it. Fear doesn't go away on its own — it tends to morph into something else. Did you ever notice that trying to be perfect and walking on eggshells doesn't work because it drains you of energy?
5 Top Reasons Why Vulnerability Leads to Intimacy:
- Vulnerability increases our sense of worthiness and authenticity.
- Vulnerability helps us feel close and connected to our partner, yet achieve our own sense of identity.
- Being vulnerable helps us ask for what we want and avoid stonewalling (shutting down or distancing ourselves from a partner).
- It allows us to build trust in others and to become fully engaged in an intimate relationship.
- Being vulnerable allows us to open our heart — to give and receive love fully.
According to Dr. Brown disengagement is the most dangerous factor that erodes trust in a relationship. The only way to avoid this is to risk being vulnerable with your partner by asking for help, standing up for yourself, sharing unpopular opinions, and having faith in yourself and your partner. The ultimate risk is allowing yourself to fall in love, which requires letting go of control — and of the fear of being hurt or abandoned.
Four Steps To Allowing Yourself To Be Vulnerable With Your Partner
While all relationships present risks, they are risks worth taking. Even if you have been abandoned or cheated on, you can surrender your shield and allow your partner in. Healthy partnerships are within reach if you let go of fear and believe you are worthy of love and all of the gifts it has to offer.
- Step One: Visualize yourself in an honest and open relationship and work toward allowing yourself to be more vulnerable and open with your partner.
- Step Two: Challenge your beliefs and self-defeating thoughts about accepting nurturing and support from your partner.
- Step Three: Remind yourself daily that it's healthy to accept help from others and a sign of strength rather than weakness. Don't let your fear of rejection or past hurt stop you from achieving the love and intimacy you deserve. Practice being vulnerable in small steps and keep a journal or talk to a therapist or close friend about your progress.
- Step Four: Create a more trusting relationship with a partner by giving yourself permission to be vulnerable and take risks — one where you can be comfortable sharing your dreams and being your authentic self.
Intimacy can be an important source of comfort and provide predictability in an uncertain world. The truth is that all relationships end; through breakup, death, or divorce. Why waste time being preoccupied with fear of your relationship ending? It is possible to be vulnerable to others without losing parts of yourself. By doing this, you'll be able to restore your faith in love, trust, and intimacy.