The most recent “Love of My Life” helped me see and understand something I was unaware of.
She would share something about her inner life with me and I would listen attentively, and when she was finished I would thank her for sharing it. I love understanding my lover at a deeper level so any time they share their experience I am definitely interested. On several occasions though, she would pause when finished, put a hand to my forearm and say, “that was really vulnerable for me to share”.
“Oh!” I would say. “Ok”.
The reality is I have never really understood or agreed with the conversation around vulnerability in intimate conversations. I understand it now.
But often, I will share something, and the person (usually the woman) I am sharing it with will acknowledge how vulnerable it was for me to share. Except it wasn’t. Why? And, why not?
Let’s examine this together:
If you feel something is “vulnerable to share” that means you are psychologically and emotionally exposing your underbelly to someone when you share it. Like when a cat reveals their tummy to you - and as a natural predator, they know they can be gutted so this is a sign of safety and trust. - Following the metaphor when someone shares something vulnerable for them it means they either feel safe enough with you, mustered enough courage to share it, were able to set aside their fears for long enough, or “white-knuckled it” though their fears to share it in spite of the fact that they are emotionally very sensitive about the matter and your response has the power to devastate them emotionally.
It also means they are dependent on you for your approval at this moment to feel okay about themselves or about the thing they are sharing.