Ep.15 Vulnerability; the cornerstone of self-love and deeper relationships.

Tamra MerciecaPodcastLeave a Comment

Vulnerability, for most of us, is scary. It can quite literally petrify the knickers off us, for fear of being attacked or ridiculed. But the truth is, without being vulnerable, we limit the depth of our relationships. Our relationship with others, as well as our relationship with ourself.

Being willing to sit with ourself and love ourself in our most vulnerable moments… that takes courage. But when we’re willing to do so… We open the door to a whole new level of self-love. And when we’re willing to get vulnerable with another person, it gives the other person a chance to hold space for us, to show their unconditional love for us, and in doing so, build trust and communication so we can enjoy a far deeper bond.

Today on I Love Me the Podcast, we’ll be talking about this all important V-word… vulnerability. And how vulnerability is our superpower when it comes to establishing long lasting, meaningful relationships.

In today’s world, where we love to follow a curated image of a person on social media, the sheer thought of being our real, vulnerable selves, can feel completely foreign to us.

Foreign and ridiculously scary.

And this is because we’ve been so conditioned to avoid being vulnerable at all costs, for fear of what others might think of us.

Yet, in my experience, the willingness to be vulnerable is a super important key, actually no – an essential key – to deep and lasting relationships.

If you remember back to episode 1 – What is TRUE self-love – I shared how learning how to accept and love ourself, even in our darkness, most vulnerable moments, was at the heart of self-love.

What I meant by this, is that part of cultivating a healthy relationship with ourself, is being willing to own and accept ALL parts of ourself.

Especially the parts that people leave off their social media roll.

The parts that show our wounds and conditioning…

The parts of ourselves that we are here to learn and grow from.

And just as vulnerability and that ability to accept and be with our whole self, is good for us personally, so too is it a valuable part of a relationship with another person.

Especially our most intimate relationships.

Now you might be thinking…

Hold on…

If I tell my partner what’s really going on for me, he’ll run.

And run fast!

Well, the truth is, if you share your inner world with your partner in a loving way, and they run, then you’re kinda better off without them.

They’ve just freed up space for you to find someone who will stay by your side, no matter what.

Because you want someone to share your life with who will support you in your darkest moments, who will hold space for you when you’re struggling to find your centre.

And who will allow you to be honest with yourself, and with them, even if what’s going on for you doesn’t make sense or isn’t the norm, or goes against how you believe a relationship or life, should be.

Because life is a colour palate of experiences, that conjures up a diverse range of emotions, feelings and experiences… not all of which are comfortable.

So you need that reassurance that when you’re moving through some of these transitional times – because that’s what life offers us, right?…

…challenges and obstacles that help us release what’s no longer serving us, that help us build resilience, that guide us to a clearer space…

….when these things arise, we need to know that the inner chaos they trigger within us, will be allowed to be felt, and heard, so we can process and move through them.

We all need that.

For without it, we end up suppressing our emotions, shoving down our feelings, and living a life that doesn’t quite feel right.

Yet when you’re in a relationship that supports vulnerability – and sees the value in it – then you’re able to experience much more freedom and growth.

When you’re able to be vulnerable, and really share, and your partner hangs around… then you know you’ve probably picked a keeper.

And that offers you a deep sense of trust and commitment within that relationship.

Ok, so let’s talk more about vulnerability…

What is it? How do we do it? And most importantly, what’s to be gained from being naked and vulnerable with ourself and our partner?

Vulnerability is the willingness to get naked.

Not physically – although this can be part of it – but what I’m specifically talking about here, is the willingness to get emotionally naked.

To share what’s really going on for you.

Being vulnerable is essentially the willingness to be YOU.

To show your whole self.

Not just the curated version that you save for certain times and occasions and people.

YOU.

You in your fullness.

And in my experience, being willing to be vulnerable with yourself, is the first step in being able to be vulnerable with another person.

Because so many of us have been taught to shove down how we really feel, hide our true wants and needs, and essentially mould ourself into a person that we ‘think’ others will find acceptable and respectable.

But that isn’t who we are.

That’s simply a curated version that lacks depth and authenticity.

So firstly, we need to be willing to embrace ALL of ourself.

And be open and available to feel our feelings, which we explored in last week’s episode.

Because the truth is… we’re all holding onto ‘stuff’.

And the more willing we are to be with that stuff, without needing to judge it, but simply sit with it, feel it and allow it to release, the better we become at loving and accepting ourself.

And as you know, loving and accepting ourself is the foundation of any healthy relationship with both ourself and another person.

So we want to cultivate this ability to hold ourself in our most vulnerable moments.

This will help us feel safer, and more able to do it with someone like a partner.

For an essential key to lasting, meaningful relationships, is the willingness to get naked emotionally.

To be vulnerable.

Vulnerability will not only change your relationships, but it will change your life.

Think about it…

To allow another person to see you feeling your feelings.

The whole broad spectrum of feelings that come along with being human.

Showing your true self.

Your raw, open, real self.

This is truth and honesty at its best.

It’s saying:

This is me.

For our real self is not the person most of us parade around our world in.

Our real self has so many facets, so many layers, and some of those parts of us are not always well accepted in society.

Hence why so many of us shut down our true feelings and avoid any form of vulnerability, because we see it as weak, or even disgraceful.

Yet, I see the willingness to be vulnerable as a great strength.

Especially when explored within the safety of a loving relationship.

Because it takes real courage to show all of oneself.

It’s not easy being human, especially if we don’t accept ourselves fully.

But what you’ll find, is that when you are vulnerable with another person, it gives them permission to do the same.

And when two people are willing to show their true selves to each other, this not only builds rapport, a far deeper connection is formed.

A connection that allows for greater transparency.

Unfortunately though, there tends to be a real fear around being vulnerable, around sharing our deeper feelings and desires, our gunky bits and past hurts.

We worry what the other person may think of us.

Instead we feel this need to always project confidence and poise.

And so we wear a metaphorical mask, to hide parts of ourself that we don’t believe our partner will accept.

Yet in wearing this mask, we limit the depth of relationship that we can experience with another person, because they’re only seeing one part of us.

For its vulnerability that creates the space for us to really get to know our partner.

Think about it…

Our partner has a whole life of experiences and feelings, and we can’t possibility know and understand all of it.

But we can seek to know more of this person, and being vulnerable with them, is the doorway that opens us to the possibility of a deeply inspiring and intimate connection with this person.

The doorway that opens up a whole new layer of trust.

Yes, being vulnerable with our partner allows us to build trust.

There’s no way I could have survived three international moves, amid a pandemic where we essentially got locked out of our home country for two years with a young child, if I didn’t have this level of trust and connection with my husband.

There was a lot going on during this time, and feeling safe to be vulnerable was what helped us get through it unscathed, and in the process, further deepen into our relationship.

Build such a deep trust in one another, that I now have this inner knowing that we can survive anything.

And like I said…

When one person is vulnerable, it gives the other person permission to do the same.

It’s very common for two people to be feeling the same anxieties about a certain part of their relationship, but both of them are just too scared to bring it up.

And so this unspoken thing continues on, unresolved.

Yet, if one of you is willing to lovingly raise that topic, chances are, on some level, the other person feels similarly.

They may not always speak of it in the same way…

I certainly have a different way of speaking about life, than my husband does, so sometimes it takes us a while to realise we are actually on the same page…

But if you’re feeling something isn’t working, the other person will be feeling that too.

You can’t live with someone and not feel that something’s up, when something’s up.

Even if it’s unspoken.

Maybe your partner feels disturbed by something else, something different, and by you sharing your feelings about your issue, they feel it’s ok to share what’s going on for them at work, for instance.

One of the best ways to build rapport and trust with someone is to share a personal experience.

To share how you feel about something.

Not in a winging, nagging kinda way – where you’re always complaining about something, or blaming it on the other person – but in a considerate way that shows that you’re human.

And you’re still figuring things out.

Just like the rest of us.

When we can offer this kind of transparency, then our partner knows that they can trust us to be honest and share what we’re really feeling in any given moment.

Our honesty, and humility is endearing.

On the flip-side, we might not always like what we’re hearing when the other person is being vulnerable, but unless someone starts off with a vulnerable sharing, then both people remain in the dark.

They don’t really know what’s going on for each other.

And if we don’t really know what’s going on for our partner, then those suppressed feelings and emotions and issues start to fester.

Those issues get bigger.

And before we know it, those little issues have grown into issues that feel way too grand to be resolved.

That’s when the partnership starts to break down, maybe there’s an affair, or you simply decide it’s too difficult to go on, and you seperate.

Issues are much easier to deal with in the early stages, when they first pop up.

When you first start feeling uneasy about them.

Being vulnerable is a foundational part of helping keep the house – that is your relationship – steady.

If you don’t lay a solid slab of concrete, if you build your relationship on sand, then at some point, it’s gonna sink.

Being vulnerable, is that solid foundation.

One of the key foundations to a deep and meaningful relationship that has the strength to stand the test of time.

When you’re vulnerable with each other, and vulnerability becomes a way of doing life together, you create a great little team who can do so much more, and feel good while doing it.

And by being willing to be vulnerable you’re better able to help each other, serve each other, and support each other.

Happy partnership, happy life!

Plus… when you share something that’s been weighing you down for a while, boy do you feel relief when you empty it out.

Saying it out loud is therapeutic in itself.

This is why I believe vulnerability is one of the most undervalued and misunderstood of all human qualities.

Without the willingness to be vulnerable, we cannot build deep and lasting relationships.

There is no better way to earn a person’s trust, than by putting ourselves in a position of emotional nakedness, and in doing so, inviting the other person to hold space for us.

So…How do we be vulnerable?

First of all, we need to know the difference between emptying out emotions on our partner, and asking our partner to hold space for us, as we share.

There is a BIG difference between the two.

And if you’re just unloading to your partner, without any concern for how this may effect them, then you may not be met with such a loving embrace.

Being vulnerable, especially if you haven’t done this with your partner before, or it’s quite new in the relationship, then you want to preface it with a little introduction, something along the lines of…

‘I’m feeling some big stuff right now and I’m wondering if you’d be willing to hold space for me, so I can share what’s going on for me.

Please know, this is my stuff’….

…because whenever we’re moving through something, it’s always our stuff.

Sure it may be being reflected in our partner, and I go into detail about this in episode 7 – Use your relationship to grow your self-love!

I’ll pop a link in the show notes…

But you need to really emphasise to your partner when you’re wanting to open up and be vulnerable, you need to let them know, that this isn’t a conversation where you want to blame them for something, or lash out… you simply want to share how you’re feeling, what’s going on for you, and maybe that is related to some of their decisions or actions or behaviours, in which case, you simply want to lovingly communicate how those things are making you feel, without making them right or wrong… but simply wanting to bring to their awareness that their actions have a follow-on effect that doesn’t feel good for you.

The important thing here, is that you need to share how YOU are feeling – what’s going on for you YOU.

Keep it about YOU.

Don’t expect your partner to fix you, rescue you or change themselves.

This is a practice in sharing what’s going on for YOU, without any expectation, aside from asking your partner to hold space for you.

Maybe there is something that your partner could do to help you out, but it’s important to recognise that this is about you simply sharing what’s going on for you – how you’re feeling – and then allowing what needs to happen happen, without any expectations.

I’ll share a personal example with you…

My husband and I ended up choosing a particular school for our son to begin his school journey, because he had some unusual extra needs that this school believed they could cater for.

But it meant that we’d have to drive at least 20 minutes each way – which wasn’t a big deal – but when I did the sums after the first term of driving him to school, I realised that I was spending around 2 hours a day on the road, allowing for finding a park, and so forth, which was taking away from the small window of school time I had to work and prepare meals and all that jazz.

A year earlier my husband had decided to change careers, so he could better support the family financially – he wanted to take the money-earning pressure off me – but it meant that for the first time in our relationship I would be the one doing most of the cooking and chores and running our son around.

And I happily agreed to this, because I wanted what was best for our son.

And at the time, it also felt good, to not have to rush back into work, after a year off, and start making money.

But in reality, as we headed into Term 2 of the year, I started to feel invisible.

I started to feel like I was the one that was responsible for all the more mundane bits and pieces of life – the ‘gap filler’, if you like – and I felt like after taking a year off work to hang with my son before school started, that now I wanted to dive back into work, that there wasn’t really enough time and space for that.

I felt like my husband’s new career was the more important of the two.

And it made me start to think ‘Why even bother trying to create anything, when I only get this tiny window of opportunity to work?

And now we’re always going to put my husband’s work time first, because he’s the one currently earning all the money.

Now, I need to say, my husband wanted to offer me a chance to not have to earn money because I’d been the main breadwinner our whole relationship, so he was doing this because he wanted to support me in having more freedom, less pressure and a chance to just chill out for a bit.

So he was coming from a really loving space, and I was really grateful for this.

But this situation was also bringing up some insecurities in me.

It was making me a feel a bit like I was nothing.

I wasn’t seen.

Because I’d always had this successful career, that clearly I’d started to identify with, in perhaps not the healthiest of ways.

It happens!

And of course, this feeling of not being seen… this was all in my head, because my husband always appreciated me.

But when we have a limiting belief playing out, then our experience of a situation, might be quite different to the actual reality of it.

And I share more about how limiting beliefs work in episodes 2 – Programmed for Love – which I’ll pop a link to in the show notes.

So I was quite upset.

I felt quite down on myself…. a bit lost

And when we get that way, we know it’s a new opportunity to move through something that’s been holding us back.

And so firstly I was unable to pinpoint exactly what the problem was, all I knew was that I felt unseen.

Alongside a lot of emotion.

My husband and I chatted a bit, and then I took some time for myself.

I started tuning in, which is my personal practice for clearing and shifting beliefs and emotions that are making me feel stuck in life.

And what came through for me, after I identified these beliefs of ‘I’m not seen’, ‘I’m invisible’ and ‘I’m nothing’, was that my whole life I’d been trying to be seen.

And I’d used my career to help me be out there in the world.

Sure I was doing good things in the world – helping people, which I love.

But a part of my motivation was that I wanted to be ‘seen’.

Because growing up I did not feel seen by my parents.

So I’d spent my whole life seeking out what I never got as a child.

And most of our adult habits are born from experiences we had as a child.

But this wasn’t serving me.

It was stopping me coming from a completely pure place of wanting to serve.

Of wanting to help people love themselves.

And I’m sure some people could feel that in-congruency in my work.

What came through for me in my tune in, was that my career – my work – is just one thing I pour my energy into.

And it’s not about being seen.

It’s about sharing an energy of love through teachings and guidance that can help lift the vibration of the planet.

When I realised this, I felt a sense of relief.

I felt more on purpose.

I could see that I was bigger than my career because my career was simply one expression of who I am.

And that energy was something to be shared through all parts of my life; in my mothering, in being a partner to my husband, in being a friend… in cleaning the bathroom…

When I could see this, I was able to release the need to be seen.

Because I realised my purpose wasn’t about being seen.

It was about sharing the energy of love, in any given moment.

And in any given situation, work-related or not.

Now… 

Guess what happened next?

My husband didn’t realise I was tuning in, so came into the room, and went to leave when he saw I was tuning in, not wanting to interrupt my flow.

But I asked him to stay.

What he said next, set me free:

‘I could drive Zen to school in the mornings, and then drop the car back home and ride to work, so you get an extra hour or so in the morning.’

I felt my whole body relax even further.

In releasing the need to be seen, I felt like I was actually being seen.

For we can only ever experience something in our life, when we’re not attached to having it.

I felt in this moment that my husband valued my work.

Of course he valued my work, he always had – but of late, I’d started to feel that my work was not as important as it had been in the past.

When ultimately, it wasn’t that my husband didn’t want me working, he just didn’t want me feeling like I had to earn money.

And so my husband began driving my son to school.

Now…

This shift in responsibility would never have happened, if I hadn’t shared how I was feeling with my husband in the first place.

And I was resistant to sharing how I was feeling, because my husband had initially raised this concern about me doing all that driving when we were choosing the school – he was worried that I would tire of it, that it would take up too much time – but I’d felt strongly that it was the best option, and being the very committed mother I am, would do almost anything if I feel it was the right choice for our son.

So I was scared that my husband would say ‘I told you so’.

Which thankfully, he didn’t.

So generally when there needs to be a shift, it feels uncomfortable to raise it with our partner.

That’s part of what makes us feel so vulnerable.

We don’t know how they’ll take what we share.

But ultimately, being honest saves a whole lot of hostility down the track.

Because just think about it.

If you’re resentful for something, if something isn’t feeling right, if you’re unhappy about how something is currently working, then if you don’t speak up, it festers, and it leaks out into your interactions with your partner in a way that causes a disconnect.

But if you’re willing to be vulnerable, share what’s really going on for you – what’s currently bringing you undone – then that creates the space to move into a deeper understanding with each other, and thus initiate change.

So for me, it was about raising my concerns with my husband, not expecting any answer in the moment, but then going away and being with my feelings.

I had a good cry, because I felt confused.

I felt invisible.

I share how to feel your feelings in episode 15: Feelings. Fall in love with feeling yourself.

And once I’d let out those tears, then I started to ask myself:

What are the negative thoughts that are making me feel this way?

For those thoughts are generally our current beliefs that may not be working for us anymore.

And then I cleared those beliefs.

Now when we clear our limiting beliefs, something miraculous happens.

It opens the way for a new experience.

For me, it was about gaining an extra hour a day to work, as opposed to trying to cram my work into a school day, minus travel time to and from the school.

That extra time felt really empowering for me.

It made me feel like actually, there is space for me to do the work that I feel so called to do.

And that my husband is willing to support that.

But it couldn’t happen, unless I was willing to be vulnerable first.

So vulnerability is where we start.

It offers us a platform upon which we can shift and change things for the better.

In that way…

Our vulnerability really is inspiring.

It’s the willingness to get naked, to put everything on show, which invites others to do the same.

And when we have two people getting naked together, a deeper bond is formed.

The kind of bond that strengthens our partnership, and trust in one another, so that we can learn that no matter what, this person’s got our back.

So this week, I invite you to get vulnerable.

Start being more honest with yourself.

Start holding space for yourself.

That’s the first step.

And when you feel ready, if you have a partner, start to share more with them.

Show a little more of yourself, and how you’re feeling about things.

Sometimes we need to sit down, breathe, and be willing to consider that life could be easier, if we were wiling to be a little vulnerable about what’s really going on for us.

Please know that being vulnerable – embracing this whole big vulnerability thing – is super empowering, and that with practise is does become less scary.

Next week is one for the women with periods.

If you feel vulnerable when you bleed, if bleeding is painful or difficult, I’ll be sharing some potent tips on how to care for yourself when you menstruate, so you remain healthy well into your twilight years.

So if you’re after some Womb care 101, that’s what we’ll explore next week!

And as always, if these teachings are helping you, I would love if you could help me by leaving a short review or rating, so we can help others know where to look for some solid teachings on self-love.

Thanks for listening, and if you’re loving what I’m sharing on I Love Me The Podcast, and want to dive deeper into self-love, take a peek at my online school gettingnaked.com.au where I teach you how to strip off the layers of childhood conditioning, so you can fall in love with YOU.

Sign up for your free Self-Love Starter’s Kit there, and if you do enrol in any of my programs, know that a percentage of profits go to planting trees, so together we can re-robe Mother Earth.

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