Learning to be Vulnerable

3 min readOct 12, 2018

This is a strength, not a weakness.

By Matt Heaton on Unsplash

Psychologists say that a great deal of our personality is developed when we are very young. It can continue to evolve, but studies suggest that the foundation for who we are is pretty much set when we are still in elementary school. Of course, we can grow and work on certain areas. We ultimately hold the power over the type of person that we desire to be. However, if you consider this theory, it can go a long way to explaining why we are the way we are. Look at your childhood.

I was raised in an environment that was not very emotionally nurturing. My mother was young when she had me, learning not just how to be a parent to a child, but simply an adult. I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. She was very religious and a strict disciplinarian. Kids were seen and not heard. You didn’t talk back, you listened. You weren’t asked to do anything, you were told. How I felt or what I wanted was rarely, if ever considered.

So, I became guarded. I kept my feelings to myself for fear of them being stomped on and dismissed, as they had been on many occasions. The only thing worse than the pain itself is feeling as though your pain has been invalidated. As I got older, letting people all the way in felt uncomfortable. My relationships, friendly, romantic or otherwise existed only on the surface of my being. We could laugh, joke and have a great time, but you’d never know me on a deeply personal level. This also allowed me to always have the upper hand in a relationship. Because I was never invested enough for the other person to be able to hurt me.

Then, as I grew as a woman, I learned that keeping people at arm’s length and not fostering those deep connections makes it near impossible to build anything meaningful — and I wanted that. So, I began to make a conscious effort to make myself more vulnerable without fear of the outcome.

This is how every change begins. To go against your nature requires the conscious decision to do so. Once you’ve done that long enough, eventually, the behavior will become subconscious.

We’re hesitant to make ourselves vulnerable for a few reasons:

Fear of Judgement — When we show people who we really are, we open the door to them disapproving, thinking we’re weird, or…


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