Now the question arises that if all of those things are true, then why is it so difficult for us to be vulnerable? Why do you shy away from being vulnerable, even with your closest friends, even with your partner?
And the simple answer to that is that we live in a society where being vulnerable is equated with weakness. You hear messages that being emotional, or being emotionally vulnerable is seen as weakness, which gets internalized over the years. In our society, vulnerability is often associated with power, and being vulnerable, showing your emotional needs or pain is equivalent of giving someone power over you. So instead, you keep those parts of yourself locked within you, so no one else can see it when you are hurting.
Let me use an evolutionary example to explain this - If you think about it from the physical perspective of an animal in the wild, when they get hurt, they often respond with more aggression to guard agains the threat, to themselves. They are not gonna show their wounds until it’s a member of their pack - someone they absolutely trust.
Same thing happens with humans. When you are hurt, you try to hide your pain and your sensitive spots, because you don’t know who else can hurt you - and trusting anyone can be difficult in those moments.
But the problem is that it doesn’t work when it comes to relationships and bonding. Shutting down emotionally or not sharing your moments of “so-called weakness” may feel comfortable. Building those walls may make you feel safe for a moment, but those walls don’t just keep others out, they also lock you in.
So, if you’re not ready to take down your walls, then that’s fine, but you do need to build some windows and maybe a door in the wall, to let a selected few into your world - to whom you can show your emotions and with whom you can be vulnerable.
In the long run, relationships and true emotional bonds keep you safer than any walls you can build around yourself.
But it is still a risk. It’s a catch 22 situation, where the way to heal from that pain, to heal from that hurt that you’re experiencing is to open-up, to seek emotional comfort, to be vulnerable, and at the same time, that in itself feels risky, and you shy away from that.
What can you do? How do you move past that?
And the only reason option there, the only path you can actually walk is to take a calculated risk. To figure out who you can trust and to what extent? You don’t have to trust everyone with everything. It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing sort of situation.
And keep in mind that it will always be a risk - It will always be a risk to open-up, to be vulnerable, to even be emotionally close with someone, but the trick is to find someone - a trusted partner, a few trusted friends who are worth the risk
And that’s the quest that you are on in this life when it comes to your emotions - That who are the people in your life, that you can trust. Now do be patient with yourself along the way because it will take some time to figure out whom you can trust in what matters, and to what extent.
And that vulnerability is not something that you can shy away from, but that vulnerability is what will not only help you feel better, but is also so important for your relationship to develop, so you develop a genuine emotional closeness and a bond, rather than just hanging out as roommates.