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Vulnerability – The Key To Real, Deep Connections

Written by: Jérôme Rey, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight thin their area of expertise.

 
Executive Contributor Jérôme Rey

Vulnerability and our ability to connect and relate are deeply rooted human qualities that are closely linked and have a significant impact on our self-perception, our self-confidence, ultimately on all aspects of our lives. These closely linked qualities of our emotional and social lives are central to our ability to make authentic and deep connections with others and to experience ourselves in a connected and free way.

Mature boys smiling on the terrace of their house hugging.

Vulnerability


Vulnerability refers to the willingness to show oneself and one's inner feelings and needs openly and honestly to others, which is crucial for understanding and acceptance in relationship. However, it also requires courage to open up in this way, as there is always the risk of being hurt or disappointed (again).


Bonding and relationship


Our relational capacity describes the ability to build and maintain close and healthy bonds with others. It is based on trust, empathy, and the ability to empathise with the feelings and needs of others. Strong bonding skills enable us to maintain relationships that are fulfilling and stable. As humans, we belong to the species of mammals that do not develop their highest potential as loners. We are beings who function best in cooperation on all levels. However, in order to fully realise our potentials, we need secure bonds. A strong bonding ability allows us to rely on other people and find support in times of need. If these attachment experiences were not sufficiently experienced in childhood, which is the case for quite a lot of people, we find ourselves (usually subconsciously) in a constant fight for survival. Stress, restlessness, depression, burnout, panic attacks, senselessness, physical complaints, and much more can be the result.


Vulnerability is a key to freeing ourselves from suffering and coming into our natural life force


However, our vulnerability has both a healing and a challenging dimension.


We often feel a certain ambivalence because vulnerability is closely linked to the memory of past traumas, which is why we still, often unconsciously, separate ourselves from feelings and needs today. This is because at an earlier point in our lives we had the experience that we were not welcome with certain needs and emotions.


The art today is to get back in touch with our vulnerability and the needs behind it: fully present HERE AND NOW, and to share this in a safe environment. With this new experience we can regain valuable life energy, strengthen our Self-power, and thus use our vulnerability as a source of strength that enables us to live a fulfilled and authentic life.


Vulnerability as the basis for relational capacity

  1. Authenticity: Vulnerability allows us to drop the masks, to be authentic, to share our true thoughts and feelings instead of hiding behind a façade.

  2. Emotional intimacy: Vulnerability is the key to emotional intimacy. When we can open up and share our deepest emotions, we create a deeper connection with our partner. This allows us to feel understood and supported.

  3. Communication: Vulnerability is the key in communication. It allows us to speak openly and honestly about our needs, wishes and concerns. This in turn promotes healthy and effective communication in relationship.


Challenges of vulnerability in relationships:

  1. Fear of being rejected, ignored, or abandoned: Many people fear showing themselves vulnerable because they are mostly unconsciously afraid of rejection and exclusion. Fear of abandonment and fear of exclusion is a deep emotion which is rooted in our evolutionary history. For our ancestors, in the past, it was essential for survival to be accepted in the community, and not excluded. As a child, we experience it the same way. We cannot simply change our family and our environment on our own. Therefore, deep in our subconscious, abandonment is associated with dying. We all know the fear of abandonment. But if this fear is connected to a real danger of dying, then we lack boundaries in life. We do not dare to form our own opinion or to communicate our boundaries. On the emotional level, we are cut off from anger and the natural joy of life.

  2. Fear of being dominated or manipulated: we can also be afraid to communicate our vulnerability if we consciously or unconsciously want to protect ourselves from manipulation or dominance. This often leads to our inability to allow for neediness or weakness. On the emotional level, we suppress the feelings of sadness and loneliness.

  3. Vulnerability requires courage: Showing yourself vulnerable requires courage. It can feel totally wrong to stand by our feelings. Shame and guilt occur in connection with our natural needs for closeness and freedom. In this case, in trauma therapy, we speak of toxic shame and guilt. Underneath there is always a positive need that was not seen or accepted in childhood and because of this we do not allow it ourselves today. So it can seem uncomfortable and scary at first, but the rewards in terms of deep and fulfilling relationships are worth it.

  4. Trust as a foundation: Trust is an indispensable foundation for healthy relationships. Vulnerability and trust go hand in hand. When we show ourselves vulnerable and share our most intimate thoughts, we build trust in our relationship.


Detailed scientific studies on the connection between secure attachment, self-perception, self-worth and the ability of social contact are provided by Steven Porges' polyvagal theory. It offers us a valuable neurophysiological basis for our relationship and contact experience.


In summary, vulnerability is a key to relationship skills. It allows us to build deeper and more meaningful connections with others, whether in romantic relationships, friendships, business or family relationships. It takes courage to be vulnerable, but the rewards are the strengthening of trust, true intimacy and mutual understanding in our relationships.


In order to develop our higher potentials as human beings, to create a society of peace and love and to protect our environment, we should focus more on developing our interpersonal skills. People who are able to understand their own emotions and those of others automatically show more respect for each other, live in greater peace and appreciate the gift of life to a much greater extent. In this time of great change, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the old approaches are causing us to suffer. We are challenged to move away from the old power struggles so that we are no longer in constant conflict with each other but realise that we can best reach our full potential through cooperation. Instead of competition and the fight for survival, we can focus on mindful togetherness. This intense and incredibly exciting transformational time invites us to discover and unfold our place in the "big picture" as wonderful, feeling, creative, powerful and cooperative beings!


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Jérôme Rey Brainz Magazine
 

Jérôme Rey, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Jérôme is undoubtedly a charismatic and passionate holistic therapist of the new age! At the heart of his work is: Live and embody your essence – He draws on decades of his own personal experiences with shamans, healers and therapists as well as years of experience in dealing with trauma. His profound knowledge is based on extensive training in the field of trauma therapy and spirituality. This broad spectrum of personal experience and professional knowledge forms the basis of his professional work and enables him to accompany people on their path of healing and personal growth.

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