On vulnerability

I’m learning one of the keys to success in relationships, any relationship really, is vulnerability. To truly connect with other people, you have to let them see you. And they don’t really see you unless they see all of you, including the metaphorically messy, smelly, less-than-perfect bits.

This isn’t a particularly groundbreaking insight. But, there’s more to it. To truly master vulnerability is to allow space for vulnerability in your partner. This is most relatably framed in the context of romantic partnerships, but in my opinion, applies to all relationships.

This is way harder than it sounds, I think. There are some deeply ingrained gender expectations that impact vulnerability in relationships. Under traditional gender roles, men are simply not allowed to be vulnerable. Even the most enlightened woman, if she’s honest with herself, may be instinctively uncomfortable with displays of vulnerability by a male partner. But I would posit that anyone who is uncomfortable with vulnerability in others of any gender isn’t truly mastering their own vulnerability.

You’ll likely hear a lot more from me on this issue in future posts. I’ve recently been turned on to the writing of Brené Brown and I’m currently devouring her work. If you’re interested in the topic of vulnerability, I recommend checking her out.

And speaking of vulnerability, I’m collecting stories of relationships that have transitioned. If you would like to practice your vulnerability, consider sharing a story (anonymously if you wish!) here.

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