Opening up can be frightening. Sure, maybe you can share your struggles with your partner or spouse — but your friends and family? That can be much harder. Even opening up to a trained and licensed therapist can be tough, if you’re not used to it. But you’re not alone: many people grapple with vulnerability.
If you tend to keep things bottled up or ignore problems, it’s important to learn how to be vulnerable. Not only is it key to emotional change, but vulnerability can also help you make friends, learn new perspectives, and succeed in therapy. Don’t shy away from overcoming your emotional shyness. Here are four reasons why vulnerability is important — and how you can work to overcome the fear of opening up.
Being Vulnerable Allows You To Be Open To Change
No matter how much you want to change, you can’t actually change until you’re willing to put in the work. And that work requires vulnerability — no matter how hard it can be.
Let’s say you have a bad habit that you want to break, like eating too much candy. You desperately want to stop. Candy is affecting your waistline and your regular trips to the vending machine are putting a serious dent in your wallet. Before you can stop your bad habit, you need to look at the root cause. Are you bored? Comforting yourself because you feel excluded at work? You may need to dig deep — and doing so requires vulnerability.
After all, you can’t examine your deepest, darkest feelings without revealing deep, dark feelings. Change requires serious, honest self-analysis, and vulnerability is key to finding that truth.
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Being Vulnerable Allows You to Understand New Perspectives
While it might be nice if the world did, indeed, revolve around you, chances are it doesn’t (unless you happen to be a 864,400-mile-wide ball of burning gas). Finding our place in the world requires accepting the importance of other people — and allowing yourself to be vulnerable can make that much easier.
Accepting new ideas and perspectives means acknowledging that your experiences aren’t the end-all, be-all of life. And that can be difficult! There’s no shame in not wanting to set aside your beliefs, even momentarily, but you must think bigger than yourself. Vulnerability helps you accept that your needs and desires aren’t always the most important — which is key to expanding your viewpoint and making friends.
Vulnerability Is Necessary For Successful Therapy
You can’t benefit from therapy if you don’t allow yourself to be vulnerable. How can you make progress if you refuse to talk about yourself? Yes, it’s frightening to lay yourself bare. It can feel like you’ve ripped your chest open and thrown your heart on the table. What will other people think? you might wonder. Will my therapist judge me?
But remember, we all have frightening secrets that guide our day-to-day actions. There’s no shame in seeking improvement; there’s no need to fear admitting your flaws. When you refuse to be vulnerable, you bottle up your emotions until they brim over, spilling into your life, damaging your relationships and stalling your progress. In therapy, opening up is essential for identifying and improving your areas of concern.
Vulnerability Builds Intimacy By Allowing People To See The Real You
If you have trouble making friends, ever wonder why? It might be because you’re scared to be vulnerable. Developing close friendships requires revealing private parts of yourself you might prefer kept hidden — otherwise, are they really more than acquaintances?
We get closer to people by learning more about them. Think of your favorite friends and family members. You experience their joys and their heartbreaks, and they stand by your side through yours. Empathy is the glue that solidifies friendships. But how can you share life experiences with a new friend if you’re afraid to open up? Try telling them about your fears and your concerns, instead of presenting a pretty face. Your relationship may go stronger.
Many people struggle with vulnerability. Don’t feel bad because you hate opening up to strangers — or even close friends. If you feel that your inability to be vulnerable is affecting your life, you may consider reaching out to a professional counselor. They are trained to help work through your issues and can help you be vulnerable when it’s most important.