What is Emotional Vulnerability:
Emotional vulnerability refers to the willingness to show and express one’s emotions. This includes feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety, and other uncomfortable emotions. It involves being open and honest about your feelings and thoughts, even if they are difficult to express or might make you feel exposed or uncomfortable.
In today’s society, Emotional Vulnerability is hard to come by.
The reason is that it requires a great deal of trust and courage. Many people have been hurt in the past, leading them to develop defense mechanisms that prevent them from being vulnerable to others. They may have learned that expressing their emotions can lead to rejection, ridicule, or dismissal, which can be incredibly painful.
In addition, vulnerability requires a safe and supportive environment in which to share and many people do not have access to such environments.
My Journey to Emotional Vulnerability:
Growing up in Foster Care, I was never in a safe environment. My childhood traumas led me down a path of great difficulty to display my emotions as an adult because I feared rejection.
My guardians were not attentive to my feelings and quite often rejected any feelings or opinions I had. Consequently, this led to the lack of confidence I had in myself and the capability to display deep emotions well into my adult years.
I remember an ex-partner called me cold, uncaring, and distant. At first, I was offended because I could not see the destructive ways in my demeanor. I did not recognize that I was not expressing my feelings, lacked showing affection, and bare on being attentive.
But deep down I knew they were right. I knew that my past traumas were keeping me from truly opening up and being myself. Something in me had to change, so I vowed that I would work on being vulnerable. Ideally, I wanted to show a side of me that I was too afraid to show anyone.
- I first started to work on my fear of rejection. I learned that rejection is normal and I need to start taking chances that may lead to it.
- I began to voice my emotions and set boundaries in my relationships.
- And most importantly, I started to feel more difficult emotions, instead of stuffing them down like I would normally do.
My journey to emotional vulnerability has been long, with a lot of ups and downs. However, I have seen so much growth within myself, in the way I communicate and express my emotions. Additionally, vulnerability can lead to greater empathy and understanding.
When we see someone else open up and share their emotions, it can help us to better understand their perspective and relate to their experiences. This kind of emotional connection, not only can be very powerful and can help to build stronger relationships, but build strength within yourself.
Of course, vulnerability is scary and uncomfortable, and not everyone feels comfortable expressing their emotions.
It takes courage to let down your guard and be honest about your feelings, especially when there is a risk of rejection or judgment. However, when it is done in a safe and supportive environment, emotional vulnerability can be a truly beautiful thing that allows us to connect with others in a deeper, more meaningful way.
*Updated post from November 16th, 2022*