An article on Vulnerability and High Vulnerability
The painful lesson I learned about the difference between Vulnerability and High-Value Vulnerability
You know when something is still new and raw that it’s difficult to write about it because it brings you right back to the moment and the excruciating awkwardness and even the pain is still acute. The luxury of time hasn’t been available for healing and forward momentum. However, this is such an important lesson for anyone else to read that is struggling with getting a commitment from a man, that I am willing to share so that hopefully another woman won’t make the same mistake as me.
I had met a man in the early days of my online dating foray. In fact, he was the 2nd man I met, and after my first disastrous “Meet n’ Greet” he was more than refreshing. Was I instantly attracted? Yes. His essence was masculine and strong, and I was powerfully attracted to him. His intellect, his assertiveness, he exuded confidence, and yep there was undeniable chemistry between us and right from that first-night sparks flew.
I did everything that I thought was right. I made sure that he knew my boundaries, knew that I am a one man kind of woman and that once intimacy had occurred I sure expected the same. In fact, these are his exact words: You say that you want a man who isn’t involved with pursuing other women while involved with you. I told you that I date more than one woman, and will
continue to do so until I find my match. Knowing that I agreed to not have sex with you while dating other women, is this acceptable to you? I agree that I will not have sex with you if I am having sex with someone else.
It seems really clear to me. I am a trusting person by nature, so a man’s word even one I barely know, I will accept and trust. Foolish maybe, but I can’t go through life not trusting. Trust is given until it is broken.
Anyway, this relationship and honesty is not what this topic is about. It’s about vulnerability. Fast forward 2 ½ months later, and I was still dating this man, growing the emotional connection, yet still trying to be guarded with my feelings. My gut said that this man, no matter how attracted I felt to him, had issues with emotional freedom and connectedness. After many dates, overnights, and a shared vacation, I realized that it was time to speak my mind. I knew instinctively that it wouldn’t be well received. I knew that he would be non-committal, but to not express my thoughts would have been dishonest. To not hold him accountable to his word above, and not to try to show that he is playing with real people here, women with feelings and emotions. It’s not just a numbers game. I was trying to engage his humanity, get to his emotional core and tap into his compassion and empathy.
I summoned up the courage at dinner one night on vacation. He had no clue that it was one of the most difficult things I have ever done. I felt completely exposed, and scared and vulnerable. In 24 years of marriage, I had never asked for anything. Anything I had had been freely given, I hadn’t had to ask for it, so here I was sitting at this table trying to summon up the nerve and stop the tears welling up in my eyes. I didn’t want to give him the power to see how much this meant to me, or how raw I felt. I also didn’t want him to think that my emotions and tear-filled eyes were any kind of manipulation. So I was open and vulnerable and spilled out why I thought that it was time to take the risk and be exclusive. I explained that I believed he would experience more freedom, more joy than dating multiple women each week, let alone the knowledge that I knew he was intimate with more than just me. I also knew that our relationship could not grow any further without exclusivity. My heart will not allow itself to feel and embrace my emotions without it. My guard is fully set high, and in order for this relationship to flourish that guard has to be lowered and I would have to let him in, and feel more, care more and dare I say down the road possibly love more.
Here’s the real lesson here to all women. I was truly being vulnerable, but by trying to speak non-emotionally and to be in such control, it fell flat. All women feel that men hate emotions and we try to keep them in check. You need to come from a place of High-Value Vulnerability. My mistake was not letting him see how I felt. I was all business, I wasn’t my true self. I was more concerned with him not feeling pressured or controlled than I was about keeping true to who I am and how I was feeling. Unless you show how you feel loudly and clearly, a man won’t understand where you are coming from…and he won’t respond or bond to you.
I was open and raw, truly bleeding, and all he saw was talk and conversation and felt pressure. Had I practiced High-Value Vulnerability, he would have felt it more and the chances are that he would have responded more favorably. I needed to show him my rawness and my heart, and by keeping a stiff upper lip and not spelling it out, I failed miserably at conveying my true emotions. We think too much which makes us numb, too un-vulnerable. Men are fighting the fear of commitment, the fear that they can’t meet the woman’s needs, that they’ll lose their sense of freedom. If you show them your true self and are prepared to show up from a place of High-Value Vulnerability, then I believe your chances of speaking right to their heart is far greater and you can avoid my mistake and heartache.
Online dating leaves us so well connected on the internet but so under-connected in person. To top that, men are reeling from the deep hurt and pain from their failed marriages and past relationships. You are trying to convince a wounded man to take a leap of faith and trust that you will not hurt him, but keep him safe, supported and nurtured. There’s nothing wrong about my “Stiff upper lip, conversational approach” however there’s something to admire about an unfiltered raw woman not to mention something so beautiful in a man that can be their true selves and tap into and show their true emotions. When we are being our true selves, whatever that looks like it’s a deep and special thing.
I learned the hard way that it is one thing to feel acute vulnerability on the inside and another to be High Value Vulnerable. I felt vulnerable and exposed as I sat at that dinner table, I felt like I was risking it all, but he didn’t see my vulnerability. I was using coping mechanisms to protect my heart and he couldn’t sense my vulnerability. It felt too painful to show him who I truly am.
So whilst I epically messed up, and I’m not sure that there is a “redo” with this man, what I know for sure is that the difference between feeling vulnerable on the inside which is so important to your personal growth it’s another to be able to communicate and connect with a man vulnerably. Tap into that vulnerable emotion and just feel and absorb it.
And it is this vulnerable communication that will also help men fall in love with you and lead you towards a committed relationship; a deeper relationship.
Here are 3 ways to do it:
1 )Embrace what you are feeling. It’s okay to feel scared, embarrassed, needy and isolated. Peel back the layers and expose those emotions. They are what help you grow emotionally and so what if you get rejected? There are men out there that will love you for your vulnerability and softness. Take the risk, expose yourself, and be prepared to be hurt. Through that hurt, you will grow as a woman and your match is out there, ready to meet you and your needs right where you are.
2) Practice surrender. Surrender instead of resistance. Release the urge for defensiveness, trying to dominate and be combative. Practice the art of softness and femininity vs defensiveness. It is the surrender rather than the “push” When you surrender you invite more joy, ecstasy, happiness, and more softness. You unlock your sensuality and femininity, and when you become unlocked you are able to show High-Value Vulnerability in front of a man more. He will feel more of your energy, your softness and hopefully inspire him to enter a committed relationship. Inspired by a woman’s’ softness of surrender and trust. Trust for the process and eventually trust for him.
3)Turn the need for self-defense into total submission. I don’t necessarily mean submitting to a man, although that for sure could be a part of it. I mean submission to the process, the flow of life and submission to the flow of your emotions. Your emotions are there to guide you and they define who you are. Embrace them and follow your gut guided by your emotions. They don’t make you “weak” they make you open and able to receive and give love. How strong are you if you feel incapable of love? It’s okay to feel, it’s a strength to feel. We block our emotions to prevent the fear and that weakens us. What’s the only way to stop being low value i.e taking value from the world? It is to feel the vulnerability and stop resisting and submit.
I hope that this inspires you to open yourself in ways that I didn’t have the strength to and that my mistakes and inspiration to write this article help you to find your true raw and beautiful self and show up with High-Value Vulnerability.