Want To Be Loved? You Have To Learn To Be Vulnerable

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By Good Men Project, Featured Columnist - November 15, 2014 - Updated August 26, 2016

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By Jordan Gray for The Good Men Project

Jordan Gray says that, while intimacy can be downright terrifying, there are ways to let someone love you.

Intimacy can be downright terrifying.

I have had dozens of clients over the past few years who have described a sense of fear in allowing someone to see them emotionally. They feared getting close. They feared being comforted. They feared laying their heads down on their partner’s chest because the “what ifs” in their minds wouldn’t quiet down for a moment to let them enjoy themselves.

As a personal survivor of a few awful break ups, this resistance to intimacy makes complete sense to me. Our minds go to great lengths to avoid repeating past pain. If the script in your mind is telling you “Remember the last time you opened up to someone? It really didn’t end well for you…” then you will have a natural reluctance to opening up to anyone else.

But you must.

For your emotional fulfillment, and that of your partners, you have to learn how to let people in.

You can amass a perfect structure of health, wealth, and personality… but if it is all a front to keep people at arm’s distance then you won’t ever be truly fulfilled.

Maybe there was an awful breakup. Maybe someone cheated. Or someone made you feel not good enough.

And you’re afraid to let someone in.

By learning to choose vulnerability and let someone see you for who you are, you will gain access to a world of fulfillment, joy, creativity, and blissful love.

3 Ways To Let Someone Love You Deeply:

1. Figure Out Your Emotional Patterns:

Everyone has them, but few people are aware of what they are.

Maybe you’re a child of divorce. Maybe someone broke your heart. Maybe your parents had such a perfect marriage that you’re afraid that you can’t live up to it.

Whatever lies in your emotional past, there’s a good chance that there are a few stones left unturned.

Our thoughts and beliefs are largely run by our subconscious mind. It’s what I call the “Iceberg effect”. You’re aware of the 10% of the ice that’s above the water line, but in reality, it’s the 90% of the ice that’s hidden from view that runs the show.

How do you figure out what these blind spots are? You may need someone to help you with that.

Whether it’s a highly attuned and emotionally skilled lover, a therapist, or a specialized coach, some external perspective on your situation is the most effective way to see what’s really running your emotional life.

2. Communication:

Once you figure out what your fears and emotional patterns are telling you, make sure you let your partner in on them.

Communicate with your partner early and often so that when your “thing” comes up, it isn’t as much of a surprise and you’ll both feel like you have more control over the situation.

If words are too difficult to use when you start to feel vulnerable, establish a signal between the two of you that means “my insecurity/fear/thing is coming up right now and I need you to love me through it/be patient with me/give me a moment of space.”

There are no hard and fast rules about what intimacy should look like so figure out the road map that makes the most sense to the two of you.

Make an effort to become experts in loving each other in the way that each of you needs.

3. Let Them Love You When You Need It The Most:

There will be times when your fear/insecurity/thing will come up and you will want to push your partner away. This is your shame speaking and it is up to you and your partner to help you navigate these sometimes scary moments.
Let your partner help you when you feel at your weakest… they want to help you through your old pain.

Shame whispers in your ear “If I let them see me at my weakest, then they’ll find out how unworthy of love I am and they will leave me.”

Love says “I can tell that my partner wants to help me right now, and I also want them to help me. So I will let them.”

Your partner isn’t turned off by your moment of “weakness”. In fact, being able to let your partner see you in this state actually makes them feel more trusted and close with you.

So let them in. You, your partner, and your relationship will benefit.

Why Is Intimacy So Scary?

What we desire the most, we often fear.

You want to be loved so deeply and seen so completely by someone that you feel like they can read your thoughts just by looking into your eyes… but you also fear that when they find out all of the things you’ve kept hidden from people all of these years that they won’t like what they find and they will abandon you.

But just like courage is about acting in spite of your fear (as opposed to not feeling any fear), true intimacy comes from letting someone see you despite your reservations (as opposed to not having any reservations in the first place).

Nobody is immune to the fear of letting someone in. And those that deny it’s existence are generally the most firmly entrenched in their denial.

Love will always be a risk. But you can either risk letting someone see you for who you are, or you can risk not having ever experienced a true intimacy.

If you don’t put yourself out there and make mistakes in life, you will eternally ask yourself “What if I had tried? Who could I have loved? Who could I have been if only I pushed myself that extra step?”

So take a deep breath… tell your trusted lover what you need… and then have the courage to receive it from them.

Originally appeared at The Good Men Project. For more from Jordan Gray, visit his Jordan Gray Consulting

photo credit: pedrosimoes7 via photopin cc

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