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by Katie Bailey, MA, LPC

Did clicking on this post raise some angst for you because of the word “vulnerable”? Good job on taking the risk to click through and read it! The idea of vulnerability scares most people. Dictionary.com says vulnerability actually means “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” So of course, vulnerability makes people nervous – who wants to be attacked or harmed?

The reality is vulnerability is more of a super power. That’s right, a super power. We were all made for connection to one another. No one can truly enjoy life alone; we all want to be loved and feel important to someone else. Think about it: so many songs we hear are love songs, either about good relationships or bad break ups, the longing for true connection. We root for characters on our favorite shows to get together and we are crushed when they break up. Think of Ross & Rachel, Meredith & Derek, Kathleen Kelly & Joe Fox. So many of the songs we hear are about relationships. Remember Ed Sheeran’s song, “Thinking Out Loud”? That was a massive hit – in large part of its message: a relationship that is “evergreen” and lasts throughout the decades – even when the people in the relationship are aging, and showing – wait for it – vulnerability.

Check out some of the lyrics:

When my hair’s all but gone and my memory fades
And the crowds don’t remember my name
When my hands don’t play the strings the same way, mm
I know you will still love me the same

We all want this kind of connection to someone else. Someone to love us, even when we can’t do all the things we once did, when we aren’t as successful, or our bodies age and change. And to be confident in their love for us, no matter what.

This kind of deep connection only happens when we allow someone to truly know us, the good, the bad and the ugly. Being vulnerable means being real, being honest. Saying what you really think, what you really need, what you really want. It means allowing others to see your shortcomings, your fears, your quirks. When we allow ourselves to be truly known, we can have that kind of true, loving attachment to someone else.

So many of us fear trusting others. We live like turtles, tucked into our shells, and rarely actually pop out. And for many of us, I get it. I really do. People have hurt you. You just can’t risk that kind of hurt and pain again. The irony is, to really heal from past traumas, we need healthy relationships with others. Yet those past wounds keep us from trusting others, holding healing away from us. And we stay stuck in loneliness.

However, if you stay in your turtle shell, you miss out on life. Not all people will hurt you. You can learn to figure out who to trust and from whom to keep distance. Life is a team sport – we were not meant to do this all alone. And even though you may have people around you, if none of them know the real you, if you aren’t vulnerable with anyone – you are actually living life alone.

Start Counseling in Ambler, PA

Whatever your roadblocks are to sharing your true self with others, our team of therapists at Lime Tree Counseling are here to help you. It might be your marriage, but could also be a lack of true friends – we want to help you improve all your relationships. We really believe life is a team sport, and we want to help you figure out who is on your team, and how to play the game better. If you have been hurt in the past, we specialize in trauma therapy, and will support you to find healing and learn to connect with others again. We also offer anxiety counseling, marriage therapy and Christian counseling. Please send us a message today to get started with a free phone consultation or to schedule your first appointment. We want to help you live life as you were made to live!