In today’s dating world, many relationship seekers know that they may have only one meeting that will determine the decision for either person to go forward or dump the option.
Many first dates are with veritable strangers, met for the first time without the benefit of history, common friends, or authentic PR.
That pressure begs a different way of getting to know someone quickly to try to make the most accurate decision possible under the most difficult of circumstances.
Should people risk talking about themselves in a way that tells another who they really are, or save vulnerable or more embarrassing details for when they feel more trusting of the other’s responses? If they do choose the less chancy route, will they be accepted for who they really when they eventually fully emerge? Or, would it be better to chance early rejection or acceptance by being as honest as possible up front?
One of the most risky revelations is to talk about how much to share in the area of what a person actually needs from a partner to feel fulfilled in a relationship.
Many new daters hold back on what they know they will need for fear that a new partner may feel turned off by the responsibility to provide it. They offer, instead, all the things they feel will be pluses for that new partner to continue the relationship, and rationalize that foundation will make it easier for them to reveal the rest of them at a later point in time.
In order to resolve this all-too-common dilemma, many new daters are willing to act more independent and autonomous than they actually feel.
They talk cavalierly about their past relationships and, way too often, blame their past partners for the relationship’s failure. Rarely do they talk about their own accountability for fear they will see undesirable, or talk about repeated patterns that haven’t worked. They stay superficial and “cool,” seeming that relationships are just adventures and that they really aren’t looking to form a long-term quality relationship because so few work.
That seemingly light-hearted, devil-may-care attitude portends to be much stronger than it actually is.
Most women, and now and equal amount of men, once past the date-as-many-as-you-can-while-you-can stage of life ends, are truly looking for a great long-term relationship with someone they can continue to love. They hide vulnerability, insecurity, dreams, attachments, and fears, so as not to push away someone who might be overwhelmed by those expressions, even if the other person feels the same way inside.
The two-dimensional daters, hiding the depth of their real selves, circle around what each truly feels, fearful to reveal too much while trying to learn as much as possible.
As relationships develop, those internal, more authentic selves emerge.
Past losses, fears of forever failures, doubts of one’s self worth, and reluctance to be judged cannot stay forever hidden. Vulnerabilities are uncovered, insecurities are revealed, frustrations emerge, and desires for what might have been hidden strengthen.
What once might have been seen as softness and easy adaptation now might morph into fears of loss and the desire to control outcome.
Independence and comfort with alone time can become a need for a deeper commitment of resources. Insecurities turn into pushes for clarification and direction rather than easy inquiry about the future.
Jealousies emerge where non-possessiveness was promised at the beginning.
How the partners deal with these predictable new-found parts of each other will determine the outcome of the relationship.
Can a man who is totally attracted to his partner’s beautiful, open vulnerability still want her when that behavior slips occasionally into true need?
Can a woman who has fallen deeply in love with her manly man who can take care of everything, falter when life become overwhelming for him?
Can love make the difference when disappointments or negative surprises are never clear until they are necessary?
After four decades of working with couples, I can tell you unequivocally that this dating world demands a different kind of early interaction for these problems to disappear.
People need to know exactly who they are, what they need, what they can give, and what assets and liabilities they bring into their relationships. Moreover, they need to hold their heads up high in the way they present themselves to someone else from the get-go. In additions, they can’t be bitter, pessimistic, or expect any future partner to make up for the heartaches or losses they have endured in the past.
Authenticity and total honesty does not mean giving personal data that can be misinterpreted or used against the person speaking their truth.
But it does mean being unafraid to be completely real from the first moments of connection in a way that is self-respecting and compassionate to the other. That person on the other end should never be surprised later on that their new partner has fear of certain kinds of challenges but can handle others without distress. Or, feel they have been duped in an area that is sacred to them.
Of course, there are unexpected challenges in life that can exaggerate anyone’s negative traits in the moment of crisis, but most people understand those temporary lapses and are very willing to be called into support. They can cause ruptures, but the couple can get stronger through them if the rest of their relationship is honest and open.
I’ve written many articles on Psychology Today Blogs on my reasoning to feel this way, and the people I’ve helped become heroic have all benefited by these skills.
Please feel free to read some of these articles and to challenge your initial fears that drive you into hiding early on in a relationship.
“Are you Withholding Love?”
“The Six Most Common Enemies of Intimacy.”
“Why Can’t I Let Love in?”
“10 Important Questions you Should Ask a Potential Partner.”
“Who are the Keepers?”
“Bitterness – Love’s Poison”
“Should I Date this Person Again?”
“Can Romantic Love Turn Into Long-Term Intimacy?”
And my ebook, Heroic Love.
I’d love your comments anytime.
Dr. Randi Gunther – www.randigunther.com
We live in a very individualized world where independence and self-sufficiency is prized… especially when dating.
Unfortunately, that means that we avoid vulnerability and don’t learn how to show our softer side in relationships. It also leads to people confusing vulnerability with neediness.
If someone is needy, they rely on someone else for their emotional stability.
They can’t function independently from their partner or take care of their own needs. Vulnerability isn’t that way at all. Being vulnerable in a relationship is allowing your true self to show through.
Vulnerability is sweet and can be scary because it’s who we really are.
We aren’t always strong and dynamic and self-aware. Sometimes the other feelings take over and we feel fear or sadness. Letting your partner see that side of you shows them who you really are and enhances a relationship.
I remind my couples that we each desire a soft place to land.
Letting your vulnerability show through and being real with your partner allows them to be a soft place to land for you. Just take it slow in new relationships. If he’s the right guy, he’ll be there for you and appreciate the softer parts of your personality, too. If he doesn’t, then he’s probably not the right partner for you.
Teresa Petersen Mendoza, MS, LMFT – www.familysosinc.com
There is a big push for people to be vulnerable and authentic but women are given the message that if they are vulnerable they will come across as needy.
Women are told if you are needy then men won’t like you or they will push you away. Lately, I’ve been telling the women in my private practice that everyone is needy, we all just have different needs.
Some people need a lot of physical contact. Some people need a lot of personal space. Some people need to see their partner everyday. Some people need to communicate several times throughout the day. Some people need alone time.
If women can stop looking at their needs as a bad thing, then women can learn to be authentic about their needs, while at the same time being mindful that they aren’t just looking for their partner to fulfill their needs.
Three things women can do in order to address neediness versus vulnerability is to develop a process in order to clarify their thoughts and feelings.
The process includes checking in so that when you go to talk to your partner or act on a feeling, you will have clarity so that you come across as clear and intentional, versus needy and wishy-washy.
1. Check-in with yourself
Journaling is a good way to work on expressing your feelings, needs and desires. If you feel angry that you and your partner aren’t spending enough time together, write about it in your journal.
Take it a step farther and link it to a time in your childhood when you didn’t get enough attention or felt alone. Then you can start to see how not spending enough time with your partner is linked to feeling alone in general. From there, you can problem solve ways to heal the aloneness without turning to your partner to hang out more when that may not even solve the problem.
2. Check-in with others
Having a support system to turn to in order to talk about things going on in your life is important. It can be friends, family, support groups or a therapist. Running your ideas, feelings and thoughts by someone will help to gather information about how to best handle a situation, etc. Friends have a wonderful way to bringing us back to reality if we are being unreasonable or needy.
Just this week, I was able to help a client see that her high expectations of a boyfriend had to do with the loss of a relationship with her father. With this new awareness, she is looking less to her boyfriend to heal that and more within herself to heal.
3. Check-in with your partner
Ask your partner how they feel about the relationship and your needs. Ask them if they feel support and cared about. Ask how you can be in better partnership and meet their needs. Checking-in with your partner can bring the most about of awareness to how you are showing up in your relationship.
You will also need to be realistic that if something is a big need for you and your partner can’t or isn’t willing to meet it, then you might need to consider a new relationship. If you have a high need for affection and your partner is cold, then it might be beneficial to talk about it and find out if you two are truly compatible.
Being vulnerable is about being authentic.
If you have certain needs, then be upfront about them without worrying about being needy. If you do feel like you are being needy, take some time to work out those issues so you can show up as your most authentic and awesome self!
Amanda Patterson, LMHC – www.amandapattersonlmhc.com
Sometimes women hide who they really are so their partner doesn’t pick up on their weaknesses or insecurities.
This information could be used against them in an argument or disagreement, making her feel disempowered and vulnerable. But shouldn’t she be able to be who she is without feeling exposed or needy?
Of course the answer is yes.
How can YOU be the real you with all your flaws and shortcomings and still maintain your sense of self?
The key is to know that you have the right to feel what you feel, think what you think, want what you want and also be able to say NO when you need to.
In other words, to not be afraid of having an opinion or being yourself.
So, if you are uncomfortable about certain things in your relationship, but are concerned that if you say something, it will be misconstrued to mean more than it really is, stop right there!
As an important, valuable, person your opinion, comments, thoughts, likes and dislikes are to be respected and acknowledged. Healthy relationships do that without undermining the other person and without using the information to coerce to get their way.
There is nothing wrong with feeling vulnerable, because we are all human and mistakes happen.
But vulnerability does not mean you are needy, helpless or incapable. It just means you are who you are – and that is not a bad thing in a relationship that understands being kind, accepting and thoughtful.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
My friend, Roz, disappears. I adore it when we get together.
We have such great conversations. But between our maybe-once-per-year visits, she lives a very separate life. Roz doesn’t call or text. If I invite her to a party, she cancels at the last minute. I sometimes feel strangely jealous of her other friends – the ones I don’t know. Are they so much better than me that she chooses them 364 days of the year?
If I give in to this mudslide, I feel like something is wrong with me.
When this pattern first started, I felt shame with every attempt at contact. Every time I picked up the phone, I thought, “Why am I so needy?”
In reality, I wasn’t needy, I just needed Roz: a specific person to whom I’d become attached. It is not needy to need. A little contact: a returned text, a plan for coffee next month…..It wouldn’t take much to keep some mutuality in our relationship – one that began with mutual support and all the right kinds of vulnerability.
I wrote her a letter.
Dear Roz, I am so angry that you have disappeared. What happened to our friendship? Did I do something to offend you? Why won’t you return calls?
In response, I got a card. Not a conversation. A picture of a tiny fairy, signed, Love, Roz. I felt crazy.
But instead of firing off another letter or email, instead of calling, I left my friend alone. For a year. Then, she called me. When we met for lunch, she kept checking her phone. I felt like an extra keychain dangling from her purse. So, I waited another three years. Roz got in touch again. She apologized for being so unavailable and I said I forgive you and enjoyed our two hours of deep conversation, and that was that.
Today, I let Roz make contact, when she feels like it. When she’s available.
Roz helped me learn something I needed to learn: Feeling needy is as much about the other person as it is about you. Every relationship has its dance, composed of the emotional needs of both parties. When you take a step forward, your partner may move back. Does that make you needy? Not at all. Vulnerable? Probably. You notice yourself reaching out and you notice your partner retreating.
How to cope with that vulnerability?
Breathe. Just notice. Allow yourself to show how much you care – and then go call someone else for support.
Dr. Deborah Cox – www.deborahlcox.com
Being vulnerable with another person can only happen if both parties feel a sense of intimacy and want expand that.
Vulnerability means that you are showing another person your whole self so that they can see you more clearly and create a better relationship with you. You show them the parts of you that most others don’t see, and by sharing them, it’s possible to leave yourself open to getting hurt.
To do this well, both people must be invested in the process, and both must be willing to be open to the other and to share painful or embarrassing things about themselves and then agree not to use this information to hurt the other person.
Neediness has a very different intent.
It’s not a problem to need others or to need them to do things for you. Where it becomes a problem is when we have expectations that our needs get met, but don’t voice them or when we are overly dependent on one person to meet our needs instead of meeting our own needs sometimes and getting some needs met by all the other wonderful people in our lives.
Neediness often comes from our long-term unmet needs, and has very little to do with the person we expect to meet them. They feel burdened by what we are asking because it is too much.
Vulnerability is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship.
Being able to talk about your fears and your mistakes and be understood and accepted is incredibly important, and, I would say, necessary in each of our lives. Without this, relationships stay at a surface level, and we never feel that we truly connect with the other person. Allowing them to share the same things about themselves allows us to understand them deeply and learn to trust them in a more profound way.
Every relationship develops at its own pace.
Take the time to listen to your own heart and your gut to make sure that what is developing is what you want, and talk about what isn’t working to extent that feels safe to you. Being vulnerable isn’t easy, but it is definitely worth it. And you’ll know when you’re being needy and might have to back off or frame your request a bit more specifically by the reactions you get from your partner. Keep the lines of communication open, and you can achieve so many things!
Becky Bringewatt, MA, LPC, NCC – www.mantiscounselingandcoaching.org
I don’t think you can be vulnerable if you are needy.
Think about it. Being vulnerable means opening yourself up to danger. Whether it’s physical or emotional, you are taking the chance that you will be hurt. To take a risk like that, you have to be pretty secure.
You are not going to risk climbing Mt. Everest if you don’t think you are physically ready for that challenge. In the same way, you aren’t going to let yourself be really seen by someone you could care about unless you are secure enough in yourself to run the risk of rejection.
We all try to minimize risk. Getting to know someone is a large part of the preparation for intimate contact.
You need to feel that the person you are opening up to will be sensitive and respectful. Even so, there are no guarantees. You could misjudge. You have to be able to fall back on your own secure sense of self to take the risk.
Needy people tend to make bad choices because they have such difficulty in being alone.
They tend to rush intimacy. They share too much of themselves hoping for the love and acceptance that deep inside they can’t feel for themselves. In contrast, some needy people hide themselves behind a mask; they present a pseudo-self, a version of themselves that they think will be more acceptable to others.
Either rushing intimacy or hiding behind a mask defeats the process of creating an authentic connection with another person.
There is no real intimacy if you can’t be who you are. When you value yourself you are more able to weather possible loss or rejection. While painful, it won’t destroy you. You know that you have value and that you will live to love another day.
Sally LeBoy, MFT – www.sallyleboymft.com
There is a definitely a difference between being vulnerable with a partner versus being needy.
Being vulnerable in a needy way implies that you are helpless and unable to do things for yourself. It can look like the constant need for validation from him about what to wear, a new job or daily decisions. It can be that he needs to constantly reaffirm that he loves you.
Being needy and vulnerable can come in the form of needing to be in constant contact with him when you are apart. He may step up at first and meet your neediness if it makes him feel like your hero. But being a hero gets old fast and he can start to resent your neediness.
Being vulnerable in a relationship is about letting your guard down and opening up.
It takes trust to be able to be vulnerable with your partner and allow him to see a side of you that others may not. Being vulnerable can come in the form of a shoulder to cry on when you are upset. It can be sharing your anxieties about work or family. Being vulnerable means that you can ask him for help when you need it without fear of what he will think. Being vulnerable when appropriate is sharing a part of yourself with someone you love.
The difference is that someone needy needs to be rescued.
Being needy implies that you are a victim of sorts and cannot do things for yourself. It can look like a fear of driving and the “need” for him to be the one to drive you somewhere because you are too afraid to drive alone. It may look like a need to be taken care of and provided for in a way that disempowers you. Again, he may like being the hero for a while, but it will get old with time. He maybe co-dependent and get something out of your neediness at first, but it creates an unhealthy imbalance in the relationship.
If this is a pattern in your life, it might be productive to seek support from a therapist. Address these issues before starting another relationship. Evaluate what behaviors you need to change. Determine what a healthy relationship should look like for you and set your goals accordingly.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
The key to success in life: in love, in our relationships, at work, or with our families is about expressing our most authentic self.
Authenticity is necessary to thrive nowadays. We as a society are consumed with information overload, much of which is superficial and false.
Truth and transparency always cuts through falseness and garners people’s trust, attention, and acceptance.
To reach the stage of deep connection and intimacy within our relationships, we again must be willing to show our authentic selves.
Authenticity is about being honest, real, and vulnerable in sharing feelings, needs, and core desires. Neediness on the other hand is about clinginess, lacking in one’s identity, and needing the other person to make one happy in life.
Authenticity is about standing in one’s personal power by sharing true emotions, wants, needs, problems, and dreams.
Authenticity is about leadership, respecting one’s self and others, and risking being deeply seen. Being seen for our authentic selves allows our imperfections to show. Authenticity is about accepting our imperfections and still feeling worthy of love and belonging.
Neediness is fueled by desperation and feeling unlovable and needing the other person to feel self-love.
Being vulnerable is about being brave enough to show our imperfections, to know we’re loved because of our ability to model truth, and to stand in our personal power by letting our real selves be seen.
Brooke Campbell, MA, RDT-BCT, LCAT – www.creativekinections.com
We are hard-wired to evaluate situations.
Safe/not safe? This is part of our blueprint. It is part of an elegant system designed for increasing the probability of survival when true threat is present. And when threat is not imminent our brain’s hard-wired survival system is designed to operate quietly in neutral.
In non-threat mode we can be open, present and engaging without defensiveness.
This state of openness and comfort in engaging without defensiveness is one way to think about vulnerability. The qualities of vulnerable are open, authentic, heart showing, and arms, either literally or figuratively, reaching out when we need or wish to ask something of others.
Feeling safe and able to be vulnerable is invaluable to building intimacy.
We do actually feel safe when the survival part of our brain isn’t telling us that danger is present and our behavior reflects this. We can be in that softer, more open place and thoughtfully determine how we wish to reach out.
Having needs. Also part of the blueprint for “human”. Sometimes we need comfort, company, reassurance, general emotional support, touch, love, help in doing things.
Asking in a simple, direct way for whatever it is that we need is the natural order of things for a species that is tribal. “I could use a hug right now. I need to hear that everything is going to be ok.”
Clear. Open. Direct. Nothing done in a manipulative way to try to get this need met. This is vulnerable.
Inevitably there will be those times when the answer we hear is no. Having an ability to tolerate being told no is immensely helpful to relationship building and intimacy.
There are three skills that prove invaluable to a fulfilling and sustaining relationship; vulnerability, comfort with need, and understanding and support for boundaries.
With these skills we’re able to check manipulation at the door and not bring it into the relational space where we want to build intimacy. If you find yourself not able to do these fairly well they can be learned. I’m saying fairly well because holding compassion for our failed efforts is another incredibly helpful skill in creating a life and relationship that can be cherished. Sometimes guidance from a trusted mentor, or sponsor, or therapist can be instrumental to our learning or strengthening these relationship skills. It’s worth the effort.
Know what you are feeling. Know what you need and want.
Calm your nerves and appreciate that vulnerability is a strength that often takes courage. Have compassion for those times when the road feels a little rocky when you’re working to build safe harbor with someone else. And, most of all, keep going when things are falling into place in a way that makes your heart sing.
Sherry L. Osadchey, MA, LMFT, SEP – www.sherryosadchey.com
Vulnerability gets a bad rap.
Most people think that to be vulnerable means that you are weak or incapable of dealing with your feelings. Quite the contrary! To be truly vulnerable means nothing more than being in and stating your truth—being able to identify what you are feeling, needing, or aware of, and then sharing this with another human being. In most cases, it is a sign of strength when a person knows themselves well enough to genuinely share their inner experience with others. And often, it is this ability to invite others into your internal world that allows deep and strong bonds to form.
When does vulnerability turn into neediness?
This occurs when someone is sharing something with the pure intention of changing someone else’s behavior. Manipulation of another’s emotions is a form of control, and this does, indeed, mark insecurity or weakness; it is a sure sign that an individual must rely on others for their sense-of-self or self-worth.
How do you allow yourself to be vulnerable without becoming needy?
1. Stop to listen deep within to identify as clearly as possible what it is that you are feeling or experiencing,
2. Assess whether you feel safe sharing these thoughts and emotions with the other individual(s) who is/are involved,
3. Slowly share your “truth” about what you are feeling—explaining what you are feeling and what seemed to cause this reaction (even if you know it because of past insecurities),
4. Ask the other person to accept what you are telling them without judgment, and
5. Observe the response you receive. If the other party cannot allow themselves to be vulnerable enough to hear what you are saying, this is a sign that perhaps they have their own issues with allowing others into their world. Conscious connections with others always entail clear understanding of what each person thinks/feels. If you are in a relationship with someone who cannot share equally, there will always be an imbalance and you will need to re-assess the health of that connection.
Aligning with your truth at all times assures overall health—“soul health” as I call it.
When we speak our truth, there is no regret, which allows us to move forward in life without any obstacles that may obstruct our growth or evolution.
Dr. Katherine Kelly – www.drkatherinetkelly.com
Recently I had a session where a man was able to access his feelings of being alone in the relationship when his partner was angry and he realized that to share this meant he felt vulnerable and slightly at risk of being seen as ‘unmanly’.
It’s not that different when the roles are reversed! Women can come across as being needy, pushy and critical. They can take on the role of being the pursuer! When this happens their men become more inclined to distance themselves, they withdraw, retreat, shut down emotionally and sometimes physically. But don’t we need to share vulnerability in order to have intimacy?
Yes, real relationships based on truth, intimacy and mutual support mean that we are able to share our needs, desires and fears as well as our hopes, dreams and joys.
It’s the sort of relationship that most people aspire to have, where the support feels mutual and the connection strong. In order to know how to share your vulnerability without coming across as needy, it is important to know how to own your own feelings and to be able to manage your own emotional state without pulling towards your partner to rescue you.
This means that you are OK with your own vulnerability.
That you hold a stance of tenderness and compassion towards your own experience. By offering that loving kindness to yourself, you can soothe and contain your emotions so that you can be vulnerable without being overwhelmed by your emotions. It means that you can be self–validating so that even if your partner does not validate you, you can be ok with expressing the tender and more private parts of yourself.
It also means you can gage how you are effecting your partner and when you may be over-sharing. I once heard a man say that his wife seemed to feel that every thought she had needed to be shared. This can be tiring and boring. We all need to be independent and inter-dependent in relationships.
In a nutshell you will know whether you are being needy by the effect it has on your partner.
Gage whether your ‘sharing’ makes him more likely to become distant. Does your sharing allow you to hold onto your own experience or does it leave you feeling unsure of your boundaries and is it having the effect of repelling rather than increasing closeness?
When you are able to fully stand in your vulnerability that is actually really powerful.
In effect you are sharing from a place of presence and truth without trying to get your partner to change or to respond in a fixed expected way. There is no element of manipulation that can be so off-putting. In a way the question you may like to ask yourself is:
Am I expressing vulnerability without expecting or hoping to control, manipulate or change you?
Is this about my truth or about wanting something from you? When it is attached to wanting a necessary outcome, it’s not vulnerability it is needy!
We all want to feel supported in relationships but getting this support is not the end goal of expressing vulnerability.
Being open, truthful and real is balanced with knowing and respecting the effect of your sharing on your partner and knowing what is your intention in sharing. It comes down to a willingness to be intimate first with yourself and then to be able to risk sharing that intimacy with another without trying to influence that outcome of that sharing.
Margie Ulbrick, LLB/BA/GD SOCSCI – www.margieulbrickcounselling.com
When you’re vulnerable you’re open to emotional wounding.
Even when we try to defend against and ward off heartache, it’s not easy to do. Moreover, when we close ourselves off to vulnerability, it’s impossible to be open to hurt’s flipside which is being loved and cared for. Shutting off vulnerability only brings on another kind of wounding—feeling lonely and unloved.
Having emotional needs is also difficult to avoid. To flourish, we require love, attention, feeling special and cared for.
There’s nothing wrong with needing these things. This is the human currency that is the basis of romance: I’ll try to fulfill your needs and you’ll try to fulfill mine.
The key to success is how we express our vulnerability or our needs. Sadly, both concepts have gotten a bad rap, as if we should make sure never to be either of them. Vulnerable has come to mean putting yourself in the position of inviting hurt, while the word needy implies “too needy” and wanting too much.
When thinking about these states, ask yourself these questions:
1. What is it about vulnerability that scares me? Do I have an outdated notion of myself as not being able to handle hurt? What skills or attitudinal shifts would help me tolerate some hurt romantically so I can eventually find someone that I can comfortably be vulnerable with?
2. How can I test romantic partners to assess if I can trust them not to wound me intentionally, badly, and often? What are signs that a partner is or isn’t trying to hurt me and take advantage of my vulnerability?
3. What meaning can I make when I am hurt other than that “I’m too sensitive”? Could I learn to consider what a partner says or does as about them and not me? Could I accept that love involves minor hurts and that many derive from competing needs?
4. Are my needs reasonable or do I expect too much from a romantic partner? If you have emotionally healthy friends or family, get feedback from them on the subject.
5. Do I share my needs in an appropriate way or do I express them as demands, desperate pleas, or as if I’ll crumble if they don’t get met?
Being vulnerable enough to connect deeply with romantic partners and sharing needs is more art than science.
There is no magical formula for success. The best women (and men) can do is to recognize when they over- or under-protect themselves emotionally and be conscious about whether or not their needs are reasonable and expressed appropriately.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
Vulnerability is a hot topic.
You hear the importance of being vulnerable in relationships but you haven’t been trained how to be appropriately vulnerable. The technical definition of vulnerability according to Merriam Webster Dictionary is: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded; open to attack. That sounds like something we should be avoiding! Much to our surprise, research into the world of vulnerability has identified it as the key to connection. Without vulnerability, the hope of true connection is lost.
What does it look like to be vulnerable?
You want to walk on the very fine line that marks vulnerability without oppressive neediness. That’s a tough balancing act and most people don’t have a lot of experience doing it. You are bound to err on one side or the other at times: too reserved/shut off or too needy/whiny. So accept that you won’t always do this well. You’ll get better over time as you practice.
As I usually say, everything we want to do better in life requires awareness.
Start by paying attention to yourself. Know what you’re experiencing physically, emotionally and intellectually most of the time. This will really help you as you venture into the vulnerability valley.
When you are engaging with a potential partner, especially at the beginning, it’s actually healthy to be a bit reserved.
You are setting yourself up for pain if you don’t. Ideally we risk our deepest selves, or vulnerable parts only with those we have built trust.
If you are just meeting someone he has not built any trust with you yet. So dole out little bits of who you are. It’s ok to share basics about your past, what you are doing today and what you are dreaming about for your future. That’s a good place to start with sharing some of who you are without going overboard.
If you had a really painful past, just say that. “I had a painful past but I’m thankful for where I am today. I have learned a lot about myself and I’m looking forward to where I’m headed.”
Simple, real but not too informative.
This person gains your trust as he listens intently (looks at you not his cell phone), is willing to honor your boundary of not revealing everything at once and never uses this information to hurt you. In turn, he shares a bit about himself as well, not giving you every juicy detail but also not keeping the conversation entirely focused on you and therefore avoiding any risks himself.
It’s helpful when you are sharing deep parts of yourself to own responsibility for your life.
Don’t just share that your boss is a tyrant. Take responsibility by adding you own that you could get a better job but you’re scared to take that risk right now. Owning why you feel what you feel immediately creates a shift from being too needy and victim-ish to being vulnerable and taking responsibility for your experience. That is a super attractive quality!
Karen Thacker, LPC – www.journeyforward.net
Neediness is the byproduct of lack of self-worth.
It is the act by which we hope to gain the love we desperately crave from outside sources rather than from within. Neediness can masquerade as being “totally in love” with someone when in fact, it is not “love” we are feeling, but a deep longing to be loved.
Vulnerability is the act of opening one’s heart to the soul of another.
It’s about sharing your truths and authenticity as it is – unchanged, unaltered and without the need for approval. It is letting someone into your life in a natural, organic way not as a means of getting something.
I remember dating a man who said to me, “You are telling me too much too soon. Why don’t you just let me learn about you naturally?” I remember thinking, “I’m just an open book! What’s his problem? Doesn’t he want to get to know me?” He was sensing my insecurity, pushiness and neediness and it was totally turning him off!
My energy (translated into words) looked something like this:
Here I am! All of me! Let’s go, let’s do this! Hurry up and see how wonderful I am. I have a great family, lots of brothers, I can hike and bike and play hard. I have a cute butt. Have you seen my cute butt?! I make great money, I am a wonderful mother, your parents will love me and therefore, you want me because I’m rad and it’s time you figure this out because I don’t want to waste time! Fall in love with me now so we can seal the deal, ride off into the sunset together and you can spend the rest of your life filling my needy void!
Ew! Before our relationship even had a chance, it was sunk. I quickly became his hook-up because, of course, I was already giving away the cookie too! My needy behaviors were not an easy thing to admit, but I had to admit the truth to myself or I was never going to break this pattern.
The Quick Answer
The major difference between vulnerability and neediness as demonstrated by our behaviors is self-worth – having it or not having it. When we have self-worth, we are not in a hurry to fill the “partner void” as quickly as possible. Our entire essence softens and slows down. We become more particular about whom we date, how often we date and if there will indeed be a second date! We stop trying to sell ourselves or speed things up and instead allow for natural unfolding.
It can be hard to identify our needy behaviors because we get really damn good at excusing them. I invite you to take a radical self-inventory by honestly assessing the list below.
If you see yourself in any one of these behaviors (no excuses please), it’s time to stop dating and cultivate your self-worth first.
1. Blowing up his phone by texting or calling. Not having patience for him to contact you
2. Feeling as if the relationship is not progressing fast enough
3. Not making plans in case he calls last minute
4. “Accidentally” showing up where he is at
5. Drive-by stalking behaviors in order to keep tabs on his whereabouts (includes Facebook stalking)
6. Having constant “what are we?” or “where is this going?” conversations
7. Trying to “sell” yourself to him by peacocking around or telling him all the reasons you are so wonderful
Sisters, hear me and hear me well, attracting the right partner starts within. Healing your self-worth and raising your self-confidence will emanate through your essence and smack your man right between the eyes. You won’t have to sell yourself or really “do” anything because he will be as attracted to you as steel to a magnet just because you’re you!
Kristen Brown, Author & Certified Empowerment Coach – www.sweetempowerment.com
Vulnerability and neediness are often confused.
Even though they may seem very similar they are very different. Neediness or being needy is just that, you are in need of something from someone else. Often times neediness manifests itself as cry for attention.
When you are feeling needy it is usually because you are feeling neglected, unheard, or unseen.
Someone is not paying attention to you or giving you the attention you feel you deserve. If you are feeling like you need attention, ask for it. Or better yet, give yourself what you need. Give yourself that attention you crave, do something nice for yourself or for someone else. Do something you love.
Ask yourself, “Why is that I am feeling neglected or that I need attention?” If it involves another person, talk to them. This is where vulnerability comes in.
Vulnerability is opening you up to others.
Allowing others to see you for you. For you to be completely honest, vulnerability feels like being naked and exposed in front of the world.
Vulnerability is scary. It’s being open.
However, there is power in being vulnerable, in being you. When you are vulnerable you are able to see those who love you for you and those you no longer need in your life. Vulnerability is talking to someone and telling them how you feel. Saying it uncensored and asking for what you need, like if you are feeling needy.
Neediness is an indication, a calling to be vulnerable.
To open yourself up to someone else, to say how you feel, to ask for what you need, regardless of what they say or how they react.
Margaret Bell, MA, NCC – www.forwardkindheart.com
The first step is to admit that you are needy.
Then explore how it is that you feel revealing information about yourself is going to help with revealing the feeling of neediness. Neediness is the need to relieve the feeling of being needy. Neediness is a sense of feeling a lack within, feeling empty and needing to fulfill yourself.
Seeking and needing a relationship is one of the ways we do this as human beings. Revealing too much is a way that we perceive will create connection to another when it actually pushes them away rather than bringing them closer since there is a sense of “neediness.”
The idea of being vulnerable is a virtue of strength and comes from a place of awareness of your own weakness to fall in love and be out of control and risk loving and in some cases being hurt.
To be vulnerable, there is a foundation of inner fulfillment which is one of the most mysterious parts of being human which comes from a sense of connection with life on a larger scale, some refer to this as “spirituality.”
The feeling of falling in love is one of the most sensational experiences we have and yet so fleeting particularly if we are experiencing it in a state of neediness, it is evasive and heart breaking.
When falling in love from a place of vulnerability, we are embracing and allowing another person to know us in a very sensitive and gracious way, which requires trust and willingness to be “seen” and risk being left or hurt. To be vulnerable is a willingness to take a chance to be loved and to love.
Practical Steps to deal with neediness and increase vulnerability
1. Admit and be aware that you are needy and want a sense of fulfillment
2. Observe what is happening within yourself and outside of yourself when you feel the neediness happening. Describe it from the senses whether in a journal or in therapy for example, get used to observing and describing the neediness as you experience it.
3. Notice by observing how the other person is responding to you as you are revealing all of this information about yourself and engage your STOP skill, which is: stop talking, observe your breath, half smile, make a small joke and proceed by changing the topic.
4. Discipline yourself to take at least 3 days off from contact with him when you observe you are being needy, get yourself at least back on track with your personal “balance” or “center” meaning get yourself in a place where you can notice you went through the day without texting, social media stalking, processing with your friends, etc. If you feel overly anxious with no contact, you are in the needy zone and it’s a clue to have no contact.
5. Let him call you to make the date. If he doesn’t, good to know and move on. If he does and you are still feeling needy, decline kindly and make a gesture to call him and do when you are feeling back to your center. This is the most challenging since when you are in needy zone, the impulse to say YES is overwhelming, but try and finally do this and it will help.
6. When you go out with him, breathe in between sentences and pause. This will help slow down your speech and get you in touch with your senses.
7. Learn how to meditate, pray (if that is comfortable for you), exercise, and gain some kind of connection with life in a spiritual sense, this will help with connection with life and create fulfillment personally as you reengage with interpersonal connection.
Lisa Bahar, MA, LMFT – www.lcbahar.wix.com/lisa-bahar
We all need each other, but we should not be needy.
The idea of neediness as a negative came out of the work of co-dependency. The real issue with neediness and co-dependency as I am linking them is that you lose part of who you are so you can be connected to another. When you are needy, you have a hunger that can overpower your good judgment and ability to set boundaries between you and another.
So what are boundaries?
It is the ability to present yourself as the individual you are and also inviting the other to talk about him/herself without fear of being judged. If you respect boundaries in a relationship with another, you will feel freedom to be you and add to each other’s lives creating health within a relationship.
Have you ever met someone for the first time and felt that immediate connection and you divulge everything about yourself and more (too much information)?
Usually that person reminds you of someone in your family or the past (it could be unconscious) and before you know it you are pouring your life story out. When you do this you are forgetting about wanting to know about the person you are with. You are the creator of a monologue or a narcissistic diatribe. You are not creating respectful interactions by drawing boundaries that can help create health within a relationship.
If you want to invite someone into your life is what I consider being vulnerable, you need to be aware that you have to give the other the opportunity to talk and reveal him/herself to you. If the other party stays quiet that could be indicative of either not wanting to become vulnerable with you for whatever reasons, or he/she has fear of becoming intimate, or he/she is pulling a power move in this new relationship to announce who is in control.
So women: Talk a little bit about yourself and then ask the other a question about him/herself.
If he/she is not willing to divulge, then you can decide if you want to venture further in a relationship where the power is lopsided. Remember the person you are talking to is not a relative or past friend, no matter how comfortable you feel. It is a new person you want to get to know from a position of strength and creating a relationship amongst equals.
You may want to have a new relationship, but you don’t need this relationship. Only when you really get to know someone and develop a connection based on mutual needs that are met then you will truly need each other that is based on health not co-dependency or being needy.
Dr. Patricia Pitta – www.drpatriciapitta.com
One of the many complexities of intimate relationships is understanding the difference between being vulnerable and being needy.
One of these helps promote connection and strengthens a relationship while the other can lead to its demise. My hope is that after reading this you will not only have greater clarity about what each of these looks like, but you will also gain some insight into how to foster vulnerability and closeness in your relationship.
What does it mean to be needy?
In its simplest form, being needy means looking to your partner to meet your needs. Their success or failure to do so has several serious implications. Since no partner is capable of meeting all of our needs, if we are relying on them for our sense of happiness or to boost our self esteem, we will end up not only feeling disappointed but also unloved, unhappy, and insecure.
Neediness promotes an undesirable and unattractive dependency on our partner.
This is because when our partner fails to meet our needs, we will be devastated and unable to cope. When we are needy we lack the capacity to self soothe on our own. Our self-esteem depends on external reinforcement instead of a strong internal sense of self.
What does it mean to be vulnerable?
Being vulnerable in your relationship is quite different. At its core, being vulnerable means being your true self, regardless of other people’s response or reinforcement. It means vocalizing your thoughts and your feelings even if you may not get the reaction or desired outcome that you want. It also means that when your partner disappoints you or does not meet your needs, you are able to soothe yourself. Your well-being does not depend on your partner making your feel better.
Vulnerability takes courage, inner strength, and a solid sense of self and it is the key to having a healthy, resilient, and passionate relationship.
How can you start being more vulnerable in your relationship?
It can feel scary and daunting to let our guard down in our relationship, especially if we have been hurt in the past. However, by taking small steps you can begin to break down those barriers and allow your partner to get to know more and more parts of you.
Here are some ways to begin the process of opening up:
– Even if it feels scary, be your true self around your partner. This means letting your partner see your strengths and your flaws.
– Build up your capacity to self soothe by finding healthy ways to manage your emotions. This makes it easier to trust that you will be okay no matter your partner’s reaction or response.
– Keep your focus on the present and away from the “what ifs”. If we are caught up in fears about the future or always anticipating worst case scenarios, we will never feel safe enough to be vulnerable. In contrast, when we are grounded in the present and able to feel gratitude for what we have, we are able to be more open and genuine — both of which promote greater vulnerability and intimacy in our relationship!
Dr. Kelly Mothner – www.drkellyhb.com
Women are given all sorts of rules when it comes to dating.
Unfortunately, most of those “rules” suggests that we sacrifice our wants, needs, and even voice to be more appealing to others. You might have even heard it being phrased as being vulnerable in order to date successfully. Well this seems quite unfair and doesn’t make room you to be true to who you are. These dating rules also misrepresent what it means to be vulnerable and genuinely connect with others. Isn’t that the ultimate goal of dating?
We all have a need to connect with others (i.e. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs).
That need for belongingness can either drive us towards a path of openness (e.g. vulnerability) or trap us into an agenda (e.g. neediness). When we find ourselves with a laser focus on how our dating experiences must turn out we miss out on the adventure provided by meeting new people. When we have that spirit of an agenda, or laser focus, we can end up with an unintended consequence. Those we meet can often tell, and likely end those relationships prematurely.
Ladies, we have the power to be vulnerable without being needy.
Let’s make dating more about celebrating those moments of possibilities. Dating can be an exciting adventure. Let’s practice approaching the dating scene with purpose, flexibility, and vulnerability.
One way we might do this is to honestly ask yourself “Am I truly ready to date right now?” “In what ways am I willing to push beyond my comfort zone to connect with others?” “How might I deal with rejection?” If you can answer these questions and even discuss these answers with a trusted person in your life you are making the brave steps of embracing vulnerability. You might be amazed at what happens next.
Dr. JaNaè Taylor – www.taylorcounselingconsultingservices.com
So many women dream about having the greatest relationship where their man will be there for them no matter what the circumstances—both good and bad.
But how does one go about that? We hear everywhere from books, movies, social media musings, relationship seminars to name a few that we have to be open to communicating our honest feelings in order to move our relationship to a deeper and intimate connection level. This act of vulnerability is hard to achieve because it can be very scary.
Exposure of one’s utmost true thoughts, feelings, wants and desires could be met with rejection and judgments from the person you want understanding and acceptance from. The question is then, how can we share our innermost feelings and forge a closer relationship without appearing needy and fearing rejection?
First, it’s important to understand the difference between being vulnerable and being needy.
Being vulnerable means expressing your most innermost thoughts and feelings without the fear of rejection or judgment.
It’s a way of letting someone know who we really are in order to grow a more in-depth connection leading to greater sense of emotional intimacy. When you express your feelings in a vulnerable way, you are coming from a position of strength. You want your partner to know who you are, your good qualities and flaws alike, your hopes, dreams, desires, emotions, thoughts. You are not invested in the outcome of your revelations. Your partner, then, has a choice to respond or not.
Oftentimes, it facilitates self-discloser from him because it makes him feel safe to also share his feelings and trust is build. Of course, you would like a positive response from him but you may not get it. If that happens, your self-esteem will still remain intact because your happiness doesn’t depend on him validating you. You able to cope with disappointment by self-soothing; that is, finding other ways to make yourself feel good.
Neediness, on the other hand, denotes a type of clingy behavior that can push him away.
Here, those expressing their thoughts, feelings, wants and desires are totally invested in a specific outcome, which has a demanding quality to it. If your need is not met, you will likely feel stressed, judgments will be made and conflict may occur. This is why it’s so hard to share feelings. You don’t want to be rejected. Sometimes we make assumptions of what will happen if we tell what we really think and feel. However, we are usually wrong.
Disclosing these feelings gives him the opportunity to clarify whatever the issue may be and a greater connection can be made. We cannot rely on others to makes us happy but we do need the courage to take a risk in order to allow others to know who we really are or else the relationship will most likely remain superficial and shallow.
What can you do to avoid getting hurt in relationships?
1. Don’t depend on others to make you happy.
2. Don’t give your power away. If someone treats you badly, let them know it’s not okay.
3. Love yourself. If you don’t love you, how can you expect others to love you?
4. Loving yourself first will help you avoid getting hurt because you won’t take bad things so personally.
5. If you continue to feel unappreciated and not understood by your partner, it may be it time to realize that you need to graciously let go of him, that he’s just not the right one for you.
Dr. Joanne Wendt – www.drjoannewendt.com
It’s human nature to protect ourselves.
We were given the “fight or flight” response as a survival technique in a dangerous world. Thankfully, we live in a fairly safe place where we don’t have to fight to survive on a daily basis and we have no real predators.
In relationships, however, you’d be surprised how many people behave as though they are in very real danger, when they actually are not. You’d never know that it’s also human nature to want to be close to another human. We crave connectedness – to be seen.
There is a tide of fear that runs through many people who fear sharing their hearts with another person.
“What if I get hurt?” they say to themselves. “I can’t show my weaknesses, I have to appear strong at all times.” They fear being vulnerable and don’t realize that vulnerability is what makes others feel close to them and few understand that vulnerability actually shows great strength – not weakness.
When vulnerability looks weak, it’s probably neediness.
Some people go too far and share their hearts too quickly or too much or with a hidden agenda of “fix me” or “I need you to make me feel better.” That’s NOT vulnerability, that’s insecurity and a level of neediness that is likely to scare healthy people away and attract only the unhealthiest of enablers and rescuers.
To have a real connection with someone – a true heart to heart connection – you have to be truly vulnerable and that takes courage.
Vulnerability is the act of being transparent, being authentic, showing your true self to another. It takes tremendous strength and confidence to be who you are – even when you’re self-evaluating and thinking unkind thoughts about yourself. Still – be yourself and decide to be kinder! When you remove the criticism your realness expands and others will want to be with you and be near you.
Bette Levy Alkazian, LMFT, BCPC – www.balancedparenting.com
Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” -Lao Tzu.
Love is a feeling that many desire, but are afraid to take the risk to attain it. With anything in life comes risk, but it can be particularly scary when your heart is involved. What exactly is love anyway? According to the Online Oxford Dictionary, love is a strong feeling of affection. It is intense and deep, causing people to act in ways they may not had otherwise. With love comes mistakes, with mistakes comes lessons learned; causing people to evolve.
The first step in finding everlasting love, is to love yourself first.
Once you are comfortable with who you are, and have a deep appreciation for yourself, the next step is to give and be willing to receive love from others. In order for this to happen, you must be willing to exhibit some level of vulnerability. A person is vulnerable when they are presenting their true self, and are not holding back due to fear of rejection or judgement. Sure that fear is there, but you choose to move beyond it in order to have more fulfilling relationships and life experiences. You are saying, take me as I am.
When you disclose information about yourself, trust can be gained, and then a relationship has the potential to become stronger. In fact, Dr. Brown from the University of Houston’s Graduate School of Social Work, conducted a study, which found that vulnerability lies at the route of deep social connection; it’s the gateway to intimacy.
Let me be clear, vulnerability is not a sign of weakness, but rather, one of strength.
It is being secure with yourself. Needy on the other hand, which some people tend to do in relationships, is a sign of insecurity. The constant need for attention, approval, too agreeable, hiding their true self, and insecure attachment, all show a distrust in yourself and others. Is that the type of life you want to live?
My guess is no, which is why I am going to introduce you to a critical exercise created by Dr. Brown that will help you be more vulnerable, rather than needy.
According to Dr. Brown, the first step is getting comfortable with vulnerability. She believes that, “vulnerability is our most accurate measure of courage.”
When we expose ourselves to others, it is then we gain a deeper purpose out of life. Be mindful of your feelings and thoughts as you embark on new territory. I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone by taking a leap of faith and listen to your heart. What is it telling you?
The next step is to put it all out there; speak what is on your mind.
After doing this, how do you feel? Are you having doubts or feeling nervous about what you just did? If so, then that’s a good sign because that means you have made yourself vulnerable. The dread in the aftermath is what Dr. Brown calls a “vulnerability hangover.”
If you have not felt any of the feelings mentioned above at any point in your relationships, then you have not truly made yourself vulnerable to another. Remember, vulnerability is the glue to sustainable relationships.
Robin Ennis, LMSW, CPC – www.prominentpathways.org
I think of healthy vulnerability as sharing some of your inner self in a safe way.
The goal is to share a part of who you are a little at a time, and seeing if the other person is compatible with you.
Stay connected with yourself, rather than expecting validation from your date. You are checking him out to see if there is a like-minded connection to go on the next date.
Healthy self-compassionate messages to yourself sounds like this:
“I’m nervous about how much to share about myself. That is normal. Remember that this is just as much about me deciding if he is a good fit for me. I think I’ll be a best friend to myself on this date and pay attention to my intuition and any red flags I might notice. I’m a valuable person and deserve to be with a guy who treats me with respect and wants to get to know me. I will share a little about myself and see how it goes.”
“Dating is stressful. It is so hard to know how much to share, how outgoing to be. It is normal for me to want to be in a fun dating relationship and eventually find a life partner. It is also very important to share about myself a little bit at a time so I don’t give too much of myself away.”
“Who I am and what I have to offer in a relationship is valuable and precious. I want to balance my desire to be in a dating relationship with my equally important desire to not share too much too fast. I can always share more of myself as I get to know my date over time. I want to take care of myself emotionally as I date. That is up to me.”
What is even more important than making a connection with your date, is staying connected to yourself by paying attention to your thoughts and emotions, and caring for yourself with compassion – as you would your best friend. Being a compassionate advocate for yourself will help you be vulnerable in a healthy way and not become needy – expecting too much from your date.
Kim Fredrickson, MS, MFT – www.kimfredrickson.com
No one likes a needy woman and certainly no one ever sets out to BE a needy woman.
Seriously, who would ever start their day thinking “I’m going to see how many people I can completely suck dry or alienate with too much info before noon.” No way. It just doesn’t happen. So what makes some women become needy?
Offering too much information (“oversharing”) happens for many reasons but for most it’s a longing for acceptance. Simply, we want to be liked. Unfortunately that’s exactly how oversharing comes across. Like one of those incessant yappy dogs, too much information starts to sound like a repeated loop of “Like me! Like me! LIKE ME!” Most people on the receiving end will be caught frantically searching for a way out of the conversation.
This kind of neediness is very different from being vulnerable.
Vulnerability is about safety and the risks of getting hurt. Here’s a shocker: we’re ALL vulnerable. You can’t ‘act vulnerable’ and you certainly can’t be invulnerable. We all want to feel safe and we all want to avoid getting hurt. In fact women are the most vulnerable gender of our species when it comes to relationships. This isn’t a sexist view! Think about it, women must assume a position of evisceration just to have sex! What’s more emotionally and physically vulnerable than that?!
After a relationship break-up, awareness of our vulnerability is at its peak.
The memory of feeling hurt causes our instincts to kick into protection mode. We realize that someone we felt safe with stopped liking us and it’s painful. We desperately want to feel likable again. However, recovering from a lost relationship is no different than when we heal from a physical injury. Have you ever broken an arm or leg? How long after the cast was removed before you stopped favoring it to protect it from reinjury? It takes awhile, so slow down:
1. Recognize when to talk to a professional
If the local barista knows your breakup story, you’re oversharing. Unresolved loss needs support and guidance that a loyal friend is not in a position to give. And? If you have updates on your ex which were uncovered by online harvesting and pumping mutual friends for information, CALL TODAY. You deserve to resolve this pain.
2. To thine own self be true
Shakespeare wasn’t the only one to recognize the importance of your relationship with yourself. If a knight in shining armor always needs a distressed damsel, forge a better relationship with yourself. Then see who you attract!
3. Interact differently than you ever have before
I learned one of the most useful relationship tools from couples expert Harville Hendrix – BE CURIOUS. Get out of your own head and get out of your own way by being curious about the people you interact with. Asking questions of someone else will allow you to control the flow of information and if that first date reciprocates with being curious about you? Schedule a second date!!
Valerie Jencks, MS, LMFT, LCPC – www.valeriejencks.com
In your vulnerability is your strength.
This is the secret of the divine feminine. As women, we may not realize the POWER of our position. We have been taught to fight like men do, but we cannot win well this way ¬– or serve or help or change or heal.
The masculine has a power in his own right, is well understood and known.
This has been the primary energy in the world for many millennia. Up until now! The times are changing, and it is the time for the re-emergence of the feminine principles, of compassion, of peace, and inclusion. This is what the world is so desperately in need of now.
The feminine is not masculine! Our power is in our Yin, to the masculine’s Yang.
We can literally soothe the savage beast and heal this helter-skelter world.
In my workshops on masculine/feminine spirituality, one of the teaching stories I tell comes out of the ancient lore of the Celts.
“It was said that when the men came home from battle, bloody and wounded, and full of fight and rage and death, the women would meet their men at the outskirts of the village with their breasts bared.”
In this one simple and singular act, the women broke the will of the men’s bloodlust and savagery. This instinct to be vulnerable, to literally expose the most sensitive, heart-centered part of themselves, returned their men, in one elegant gesture, back to their families and communities.
This gift of vulnerability is highly underestimated, and generally misunderstood for weakness, so often.
And this is a great loss to us all. For in baring our hearts, our souls, our feelings, our tears, we help heal our world, our men, and even the masculine within us – for we are all of us, a mix of both.
When we kill the feminine, the masculine will rule.
The masculine without the feminine is unbalanced and brutal and coarse. The feminine brings heart, and love, and tenderness to mankind’s most mortal wounds.
Do not be ashamed of this tenderness. It is your gift. Let yourself fully embody the embrace of the kiss, the touch, and the love of the divine feminine. In this way, we can heal ourselves, and we can heal each other. In relationship this means to lead with your heart and to stand in the strength of love, in the power of compassion, and the truth of real love.
This is not weakness. This is strength.
We can create a new world that heals our lives, our men, and ourselves.
The 3 New Ways to Consider Vulnerability
1. Vulnerability is not neediness, helplessness or weakness.
2. Vulnerability is brave. It requires the courage to tell the truth with your heart open.
3. And finally, vulnerability requires real vulnerability! So, yes, it will be scary and fearsome to stand with your heart open in the face of anger or fear, but this is the very thing that will heal our world.
When next you find yourself with the opportunity to open your heart ¬– let love rule – in truth, in simplicity, in authenticity, and in power. Simply love, heart on your sleeve, in the power of vulnerability, and watch what happens!
Diana Lang, Counselor and Author of Opening to Meditation – www.dianalang.com
Learn Why Men Pull Away
There is a deep-seated “Gap” in communication that very few women (or men) understand.
It’s the #1 reason why men pull away.
To be truly irresistible to a man, you MUST understand this gap, and the way feelings of love get confused and entangled in a man’s mind…
Many of us women enter into relationships with a strong, almost overwhelming, desire to be in partnership.
We tend to want to be in a relationship so badly that we will unwittingly come across as super needy, ultimately driving away a potential partner. Sometimes, especially when we first start dating someone, or are just getting back into dating after a divorce or long relationship, we don’t know how to date very well. This leads to the stereotypical problem of women oversharing, and again driving away a potential partner.
So how the heck do you tell the difference between being vulnerable in a healthy, direct, clear way, from being needy, clingy or oversharing?
Here are some ideas:
Vulnerability looks like:
– Understanding your particular needs in a relationship
– An awareness of your past relationship successes and mistakes
– Sharing your thoughts and feelings, over time, as you get to know someone
– Examining how a date feels, both as you are on the date, and afterwards
Neediness looks like:
– Dumping your whole personal story on someone on the first date, or within the first few dates
– Freaking out that he hasn’t called, texted, or said exactly the right thing at the exact right time
– Asking everyone you know their opinion on the relationship
– Forgetting to engage with the person in front of you on a date, and instead “future-tripping” about if they are “the one,” or not “the one”
Examples of healthy vulnerability:
These examples are culled from my work over the past 20 years with clients, from my friends and colleagues and from my own personal story of learning to date again after an 18 year relationship (which is still a work in progress!).
1. On a first date, pace yourself!
Set yourself up for success by limiting how much alcohol you consume (I recommend no more than 1-2 drinks), practice some questions you like to ask on a first date, think through some of the ways you may have overshared in the past and remind yourself that this is an exploration of a new person, not a determining date for marriage.
2. Share your story over time.
Especially if you have a complex relationship with your ex, or a sexual abuse history or other trauma, take good care to not reveal those stories until you have determined that the person is worth sharing with! Give yourself a few dates before you enter into heavy topics or very private material about your life.
3. As you move past the first few dates, recognize how much communication you prefer in a relationship.
For example, I really like to hear from someone regularly through the week.
Therefore, once I begin dating someone past the first few dates, I talk about my desires and ask them about theirs. We have a conversation about communication and what works best for us both.
Dr. Carrie McCrudden, LMHC – www.coloradotherapycare.com