The thought of being vulnerable can be unappealing.
You know those dreams that involve you standing naked in front of a crowd of people? What a total nightmare! Imagine that level of exposure! Helplessly standing there while the crowd takes a good look at all of your real or imagined flaws. Judging you. Staring at you. Talking about you to the other people around them.
Primitively speaking, being vulnerable puts us in danger and danger means risk of death.
Think of nature programs that show little turtle hatchlings that have to make the walk from where they hatched to the safety of the ocean. You’re urging them along as you witness their plight from your t.v., and feel relieved when they evade being snatched up by a predator.
In real life, you are not at risk of actual death, but your survival instinct kicks in to protect you from emotional “death”. You put up a wall, making it impossible to experience vulnerability with your partner.
One of the main reasons that you are afraid is because of past hurt.
This may have been with your current partner, childhood, or from a relationship in the past. You might have opened up to someone only to have them betray your trust. Then you felt stupid, rejected, or shame. You’re not in a hurry to feel that way again, so you keep your inner-most thoughts to yourself. It makes sense and it feels safe.
However, what insulates you also isolates you. The protective wall works both ways. When you protect yourself from the risk of being hurt you also prevent the reward of emotional intimacy.
If you or your partner have difficulty with vulnerability, chances are you are not experiencing deep emotional intimacy in your relationship.
That’s where feeling disconnected and unloved lurks.
Either way, you are at risk, aren’t you? You open yourself up to the possibility of being hurt just by being a living, breathing human in a relationship. If you are at risk either way- and you are- it makes sense focus on the reward.
What will you gain if you choose to be vulnerable? Intimacy, deeper connection, and a richer experience.
What is the cost if you don’t?