Why do we resist this??? Why Is it so hard to say how we really feel, to be open and honest about what’s on our mind? Why do we struggle so much with this???
Being vulnerable was something that I always considered weak. I am a highly sensitive person and feel things incredibly deeply, and for a long time I hated that about me. I called myself “needy” as if it was the worst thing in the world and I resisted every desire I had to show that side of me in fear of looking, well, needy.
I always swore that I was an independent woman, that I didn’t need anyone, and that was all true, yet, in an attempt to prove this, I pushed people away and closed myself off from receiving any type of love in fear that it would somehow make me less than.
Not only was this a recipe for disaster for obvious reasons, but in doing this I was actually being so inauthentic that I was losing the best part of me.
Here’s the deal, I LOVE love. I love everything about it. I love hugging and kissing and snuggling on the couch and doing stupid little sweet nothings to make my hubs feel loved, and yet, I rarely acted on it. I never said the things I wanted to say or did the things I wanted to do because I had decided it was cheezy AF and I was afraid of showing that side of me.
Wanna know the kicker??? He already knew that side of me!! Thats the part of me he fell in love with in the first place, and that’s the part of me that changed as soon as shit got real between us.
We fell in love and suddenly, I had something to lose. Fear kicked in and OMFG “what if he stops loving me for who I am?? What if he thinks this is annoying?? I’m being too needy, I need to pull back so it’s not too much, I think I might love him more than he loves me so I’m just gonna back off and not let him know,” this, and so much other shit that starts making your inner voice go completely haywire started pulsating through my mind.
So slowly, but surely, I stopped doing all of those things, I stopped saying I love you first, I held back on being overly excited about date night, I would purposely sit on another chair in hopes that he’d ask me to come sit with him. I stifled that which has now become my favourite part of me because I was afraid to be vulnerable. I was afraid of letting him know how I really felt.
This is where the separation really started. Never once did I consider how he must be perceiving my change in behaviour, I had created this vicious cycle where I was holding back, desperately hoping he would pull me back in, yet, from his perspective, I was holding back, so something must be wrong, and he should probably just tread lightly so that he doesn’t rock the boat. And so the gap grew, both of us feeling equally justified, both of us secretly hurting.
Which brings me back to my original question, why is this so hard for us to grasp??? Why couldn’t he just say “Hey babe, you seem kind of distant, everything ok?” Or better yet, why couldn’t I just say “I really love you, and quite honestly, I’ve never loved anyone the way I love you and it kind of scares the shit outta me” neither one of us would allow ourselves to be this vulnerable, we were both longing for a deeper connection, but too afraid to actually express it.
If you read last week’s blog post you know that this behaviour ultimately ended in an inevitable affair and our masks eventually were removed. After being together for 4 years, married for 2, we finally shared our fears, our hesitations, and as I mentioned in that post, bared our souls to one another for the first time ever.
I don’t condone his behaviour or the choices that he made, not one bit, but I can understand it. We all love to be loved. It’s warm and comforting and lovely to know that another human cares so deeply about your happiness and well being, our egos love to be fed and when you don’t have that connection from the one you love, it makes it waaaay easier to get distracted when someone else tells you all the things you want to hear.
Let me just be really clear, still not ok.
But not ok.
The biggest thing I learned in all this, was the importance of being true to me. No matter what. To speak my truth and share what’s in my heart, always. I learned to embrace my needy-ness and to acknowledge it as an incredible strength, not a weakness. I took off my mask and embraced every cheesy, sappy, over sensitive thing about me. I owned who I was for probably the first time in my entire life, and there was an overwhelming sense of freedom in that.
The second biggest thing I learned, was that my husband could not read my mind. I’m not sure if this comes as much of a shock to you as it did to me, but let me tell ya, communicating my thoughts, how I was feeling and internalizing things was a huge gift for both of us.
When you can turn to your partner and say, “Just a heads up, I’m feeling a little emotional and I might need you to be a little more patient with me, or give me a little extra love” they appreciate it immensely. Just for the record, that doesn’t translate to “You need to kiss my ass and worship me” it’s more of a heads up that I need him to take the reins and be affectionate even if I might seem distant. It’s our way of saying, hey, it’s not personal, you just need to go the little extra mile right now.
In theory all this seems pretty simple, until you get pissed off and start a fight because he seems to care more about making his friends happy then he does you. (Or whatever irrational thought might be triggering you to make you feel insecure.) In the moment, that feels so true, but ultimately, you’re not mad, not at all, your feelings are hurt because you think he doesn’t enjoy your time together anymore.
Anger is just sadness’s bodyguard. We use anger as a shield so that we don’t have to share our real feelings.
I’m gonna let you sit with that one for a minute and let it sink in.
It’s easier for us to use anger as a way of protecting how we really feel, than actually communicating our feelings. It’s like the ultimate vulnerability shield!!!
When we can look beyond our anger and acknowledge it for what it really is, you start to approach things from a different angle.
I’m not saying it’s easy, embracing my vulnerability is still a work in progress.
It is so easy when I have my pissy pants on to justify why I have every right to be mad, but when I allow myself to look, and I mean to really look, at the underlying issue, it doesn’t take long for me to realize where I’ve once again put my guard up and need to tear down more walls.
The challenge I will present to you today is not to never get mad again, but for you to look at the times you do, to look at why you’re mad and what it might be that’s triggered it, and get real with it. I mean really real with it. Ask yourself a few questions, “Why am I so mad” “What is this anger protecting me from” “If I wasn’t feeling angry, how would I feel?”
And just sit with those for a minute, and get real with the underlying issue. It is then that you will shed some light on what it is that’s really bothering you.
It’s ok to share what’s in your heart, way too many arguments begin with one person not understanding another’s feelings and most often it’s because we are trying to mask them.
Take off your tough guy mask for a change and just be real.
Not only will you feel a huge sense of relief, but your partner will likely be so grateful to eliminate the guessing game of “wtf is wrong with her now”!!
Allow yourself to be needy, I’m not talking stage 5 clinger can’t live without you needy, but more of a “I need a little extra affection” or “ I need you to understand how this makes me feel” kinda needy. Embrace your need for love, for affection, for silly gestures or whatever it is that make YOUR heart happy. Don’t judge it or hold back in fear. Embrace it, Own it, Honour it, and allow yourself to be vulnerable enough to ASK for it.
Don’t underestimate the simplicity of being open with your feelings. Not only will you maybe learn a little something about yourself, but you might also come to realize that your willingness to be vulnerable might actually be your biggest strength and the key to getting everything it is you truly desire from your relationships!