Vulnerability

Some people have a very difficult time allowing themselves to be vulnerable.  There may be a few select people who they have allowed to see themselves in a vulnerable state, but for everyone else, they have their walls up for whatever reason, or perhaps boundaries that they don’t like other people to cross.  They are uncomfortable sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings, for the most part.  There may be several different reasons for this.

The first and probably most obvious that comes to mind is the fear of being hurt, which comes into play even more so if that person has been hurt in the past.  It may be due to a relationship or two that ended badly or due to losing someone with whom they were very close.  The fear of getting close to someone, only to have that person taken away from you for whatever reason is a strong emotion.  Some people may view being vulnerable as being weak.  I think this may be especially true for some men.

Some people have anxiety over conflict and don’t want to discuss any topics that are touchy and may lead to a heated discussion or argument, so they just keep their thoughts to themselves.  My husband fits into this category.  He doesn’t like me asking too many questions either.  I can tell by his defensive responses that he feels like he is being grilled.  Without him being willing to talk about many things, it has been very difficult to understand his perspective and what he is thinking.  I can only make assumptions, which is never a good thing.  It is one of the big reasons our relationship has gone down the tubes over the years.  His anxiety over conflict has actually caused a lot of conflict, but he has no interest in trying to figure out why the anxiety is there in the first place.  I have a feeling there are too many painful memories that would come to the surface.  That’s another reason some people may not like to divulge too much personal information.  There may be a lot of painful memories associated with what they might share, and they don’t want to think about it or relive any of it.

I believe there is a certain level of trust, closeness, and intimacy that you cannot have with another person unless you allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of them.  So I think it’s important to be able to share your thoughts and feelings with people who are most important to you.  This is not to say that you should share every thought that comes to mind at any given time.  There is a time and place for everything.  But if you are closing yourself off because you don’t like having deep and meaningful conversations, you don’t like sharing your innermost thoughts and feelings, and you don’t like anyone else seeing you in a vulnerable state, then I think you are missing out on some special connections with other people.

I actually think it is a stronger person, male or female, who allows themselves to be vulnerable than a person who is afraid to do so for whatever reason.  I have had a pretty strong connection with a couple people in my life so far whom I know don’t let just anyone see the more vulnerable side of them, but they let me see the “real” person that they are, and that was especially meaningful to me.  So don’t be afraid to be all that you really are, even the most vulnerable you, in front of at least some people.  It might just lead to something special!

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4 thoughts on “Vulnerability

  1. I don’t know that it is necessarily a guy thing as I have had a couple of girlfriends that have had walls up and didn’t want to open up to me, but you do make some good points.

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    • It’s not necessarily a guy thing, but I do know several men who have a hard time opening up and expressing their feelings or discussing things that require them to be vulnerable. I think that may be partly because many people believe it is still expected that men are to be strong and not show emotions and women are expected to be emotional. It may be the case that women tend to be more emotional, but that doesn’t mean men should feel they are not allowed to or should be afraid to show emotions or be vulnerable. I understand the reasons why many people are. I just think it’s worth overcoming those fears sometimes.

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  2. I agree, but it is definitely difficult for many people for whatever reason. Fear of being hurt or rejected or whatever else can be a powerful thing.

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