Being vulnerable is one of the hardest things for most people to do. Vulnerability requires that we let our defenses down and show people our true selves. It’s letting the things we’d rather keep hidden—things like our fears, faults, and shame—be known by another person. It’s nerve wracking, and most of us would rather avoid it. It’s an emotional risk that could leave you heartbroken. But vulnerability is crucial to living your best life. It helps us connect and empathize with others, building stronger relationships and leading to better satisfaction with our lives. Here are some ways to overcome fear of vulnerability.
1. Evaluate Your Relationships
Vulnerability isn’t spilling all your deepest, darkest secrets to anyone who will listen. There’s no fear in showing yourself to someone you’ll never see again. It’s built on real trust with people who are a part of your life. Figure out which people in your life you have a solid relationship with and work on opening up to them.
2. Take It Slow
Trust is built (and destroyed) slowly. It’s a process made of small moments in which you trust another person and they trust you. You can’t rush it. You have to be sure that you can trust someone with small things before becoming truly vulnerable. Work on slowly building trust before opening up completely. If you’re too vulnerable with someone who betrays your trust, it could make it harder to be honest in the future.
3. Do It
The only way to overcome fear is to lean into it. You have to do the things that scare you in order to truly move past your fears. Once you have people in your life you know you can trust, you simply need to be open and honest with them. It’s obviously easier said than done, but it’s worth it. You’ll feel closer to those people. In turn, they’ll be more vulnerable with you, building deeper and more meaningful connections.