No one wants to feel shame. It encompasses insecurity, fear and anxiety. It can be difficult to be vulnerable in a world where people are fast to judge you, but a major way to have a fulfilling emotional life is to allow yourself to be vulnerable.
Here are 5 ways you can have better relationships and be happier by being vulnerable.
- Recognize your vulnerabilities. Start by looking at what makes you feel angry, sad, self-conscious or annoyed, and find the common thread between these experiences. Once you identify these fears, you can start to counter them.
- Know that humans are wired to feel shame. The only people who do not experience shame have no capacity for human empathy or connection. The feeling of not being enough is a shared experience. Simply being aware of this can help you feel more comfortable letting your own guard down and engaging in authentic connection with others.
- Identify your avoidance tactics. This simply includes includes behaviors that reduce stress by distancing oneself from the problem. People escape their shame in different ways. Sometimes these avoidance tactics can become unhealthy daily habits or even dangerous addictions. The next time you are tempted toward one of your bad habits, wait five minutes. Think through what is going on and what you are feeling during that time.
- Find your safe place. Being vulnerable actually takes more courage and inner strength than people realize which is why you probably do not want to start your vulnerability journey on a first date. You want to know your feelings will be protected and cared for by the person with whom you share them, such as your parent, spouse or friend.
- Take small risks. Vulnerability is ultimately a willingness to take a risk. Playing it safe will never be fulfilling. Start with small risks, such as asking a co-worker for help with a project or trying a new class at your gym. The smaller risks build confidence for the larger ones.
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