Putting yourself on the line for love seems incredibly bold and heroic, but for many years, I thought it was downright insane. I never understood why I had to let down my guard and show emotion in my relationships with family, friends, and boyfriend. It was easier to stay neutral because that way, I could never get hurt. After one too many failed relationships, however, I decided being vulnerable might not be so bad after all — and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Here’s why:
Loving Myself Is Easier When I’m Vulnerable. For a long time, I was so emotionally armored that I didn’t even have a relationship with myself. I was closed off and disconnected from my own feelings, and the worst part is that I didn’t even realize it until much later in my life. Communicating with my inner self and choosing to love myself first only came from being vulnerable and honest with myself, and it’s made a dramatic difference in my life.
I own my feelings instead of denying them. When I would find myself getting upset, I would force the feelings away. I would tell myself to buck up and move on, but now I welcome my emotions and understand they’re an important part of processing my experiences. I own them instead of fearing them, and that allows me to cope so much better.
I Experience Old Things In New Ways. The easiest way to explain this is romantic comedies. I used to hate the genre because I didn’t understand it. I saw my mom cry when she watched any and I looked down on her for being weak. Now, after exploring my vulnerable side, I enjoy cheesy romantic things because I understand the emotion behind them now.
Friends Don’t See Me As A Cold-Hearted Bitch Anymore. I’m known for giving straightforward, no-BS advice to my friends, but sometimes my more vulnerable friends would get upset and I didn’t understand why. After connecting better with myself, I give the same honest opinion to my friends but with a bit more sensitivity and empathy behind it. I’m more open and understanding, whereas before I would wrongly dismiss them as being weak.
Giving My Heart To Someone Isn’t As Scary Anymore. Allowing myself to fall in love with someone used to be the scariest thing because I always assumed I was going to get hurt. I put up high walls and never let anyone get past my rough exterior. It took a long time to slowly let down the walls, which allowed my true self to come through. I learned that taking my time with someone new is my safest bet. Letting yourself fall in love is extremely scary, but understanding your vulnerability allows you to have the deepest love with someone.
I Say “I Love You” More To My Friends And Family. Blame it on a rough childhood, but I was never comfortable saying “I love you” to anyone. After plenty of meditation and getting in touch with my vulnerable side, however, I don’t feel awkward expressing my love for my family members now. In fact, I do it regularly, and it’s brought us all closer together.
I’ve Grown Stronger From Trusting My Emotions. I never understood the term “gut feelings” before. It sounded more like a trip to the ladies’ room than anything significant. As I researched more about being more in touch with my feelings and learned how to do it, I also realized that my body and emotions can tell me the answers to questions I have before I even ask them.
I’m Able To identify negative feelings and replace them with positive ones. In my dating life, I was always so negative and I felt I could never catch a break. I shut down when things got emotional and would always question everything. I never thought I was good enough for guys and would distance myself. These days, I’m able to give myself a chance to open up, date different types of guys, and work on building an emotional connection.
My Creativity Has Skyrocketed. This trait was one I didn’t expect to enhance. Being a writer, I use my creativity constantly, but other artistic areas of my life were lacking. I started by keeping a journal to write down my emotions, which was something I thought was silly at first but turned out to be awesomely fulfilling. Journaling turned into more creative writing, which was all new to me. I thank being vulnerable for letting me discover a new passion.
I’ve Closed Old Wounds that I Never Thought Would Heal. After getting my heart broken by my fiancé three years ago, I shut myself off from the world. I swore I’d never fall in love again and I stuck to it for awhile. Eventually, I was fed up and I started the agonizing process of facing my rejection and the truth so that I could heal. At first, I was overcome with negative thoughts about myself and my worthiness, but I quickly realized those negative thoughts weren’t going to get me anywhere. I reversed my thinking and started trusting myself again. I then released myself from the shame and self-loathing. By being vulnerable and trusting with myself first, I’m able to mirror that in my relationships and friendships.