BY: KEZIA ROYER-BURKETT
What is vulnerable communication? The word vulnerable means a person that is in a position of being susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm. The word communication means the imparting or exchange of information or news. If I sum up a meaning based on these definitions, vulnerable communications are the sharing of information (feelings, thoughts, etc.) while you are in a position where your feelings could be hurt, your thoughts could be judged, and you can be left feeling less than. For many people, including me, vulnerable communication sounds insanely scary and way out of my controlling comfort zone, but what is life without balance? I don’t think I was ever taught to be vulnerable; my dad always taught me never to show weakness, never cry in front of people and to always rely on myself and my abilities. But in a relationship, lack of vulnerability can be detrimental and as well as lack of communication. All healthy, loving relationships need good communication practices included into the foundation but communicating sometimes is the least of our worries. We know how to communicate, but do we know how to communicate with love and understanding? I think vulnerable communication is valuable in every relationship because it allows two individuals to connect to each other and love each other and display love in a healthy balanced manner.
I once read a funny meme that said that we spend the first two years of children’s lives teaching them to walk and talk then we spend the following twelve years telling them to sit down and stop talking – LOL. Society teaches us to be quiet, not to be attention seeking or free thinking, we are expected to act like everyone else and be “good” people. The innate instinct to protect oneself from harm can sometimes take over areas of our lives where defense mechanisms are not needed, and relationships are one of them. The norm is not to freely express emotions and to push uncomfortable topics under the rug.
To me, vulnerable communication is like going on a journey to understanding town and empathy city, where there is no judgment, but there are love and trust. When in a disagreement with a loved one and emotions intensify, most times logic begins to decrease drastically. Here are some points on how you can practice vulnerable communication;
- When communicating with a loved one about how you feel use verbs during your moments of vulnerable communication. Like I need, want, desire, hope for, etc. so that you are focusing on your needs while expressing your thoughts and feelings and not concentrate on your partner’s shortcoming or issues you may have with them at the time.
- Be detailed and speak specifically. If you can’t remember all of the details, then it’s probably not essential and cannot help. Truthfully communicate your thoughts and feelings.
- Get out of your head, being vulnerable means that you are sharing all of yourself without hiding behind the defense walls we put up so people can perceive us in a certain light. Ideal vulnerable communication allows no room for judgment by self or others.
Being vulnerable doesn’t always feel good, actually, it has never felt good to me. But it is the best way to communicate clearly, humbly and intentionally on difficult subjects and to be a genuine person. Vulnerable communication can only have successful results in a secure, loving, healthy, balanced committed relationship. It doesn’t have to be a romantic relationship, but the people involved have to love each other, differences and all. Vulnerable communication isn’t the and all be all, answer to relationship issues, but it is a great tool that disrupts the idea of judgment and regret. Hard to be regretful when you sincerely and lovingly share your thoughts and feelings with a loved one, with only the hope of being understood and heard. If you are in a healthy, loving relationship, you should be able to fearlessly be yourself and share your thoughts, opinions, and feelings with your loved one.
Are you dating or in a relationship? How do you communicate with your partner in difficult situations? Email me at Kezia@carib101.com with all of your love and relationship stories and if you have any questions or need some advice about dating and relationships. I love reading your stories and kind words of support. Love and Light.