We have all been here.  Struggling with vulnerability, but what does that mean or really look like in reality?  Being vulnerable means sharing yourself, honestly and openly.  Vulnerability involves letting the emotional walls of anger down to expose the more raw feelings of pain and love. 

A recent example for me was during an argument with my husband.  He was frustrated with me for a comment I made…something to the effect of “Why are you sitting there when we have a lot of unpacking to do?”  He immediately went to a place of frustration, a protective wall of anger to shield his pain and hurt.  It was easy to play ping-pong in our protective shields of frustration, until I noticed it was happening and decided to do something different. 

I got quiet.  I was mindful of what was happening.  I noticed his pain through his anger.  I identified in that moment that I had hurt him.  I noticed that I had pain too and I chose to share it instead of hide it. 

I said, “I realize that I hurt you.  I’m sorry.  I realize that I’m hurting because I feel like I’m not good enough to you as a wife.”

From there we could have a different dialogue; one that involved us sharing how we were hurt and why, instead of falling into a blame game.  By moving to a place of pain, I could hear him in ways that I could not just a few moments before.  He made sense to me and I made sense to him. 

Vulnerability moved us forward.  Mine helped him find his.  It only takes 1 person to start moving things in the right direction. 

Heather Ingram, PsyD, BCB