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The word “vulnerable” isn’t typically used in the most positive scenarios. Turn on the news and you may hear the anchors talking about how a new tax reform has made us vulnerable to higher unemployment rates, or how a change in military protocol has made us more vulnerable to attacks. Your doctor probably uses the word a lot, too. This or that activity can make you more vulnerable to colds, flus, skin cancer, infections, and other nasty conditions. So when we use the word vulnerable in love and relationships, naturally, the hairs on the backs of our necks stand up. We’ve been conditioned to believe the being vulnerable is always a bad thing, but when it comes to having meaningful, satisfying relationships, being vulnerable is your most powerful tool. Just watch and see what happens when you put your guard down. Here’s what happens when you decide to be vulnerable.

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You analyze interactions less

Because you say what you need to say in your interactions, you don’t walk away analyzing them—wondering if the other person understood what you wanted or what you meant. You said what you wanted and what you meant. So your head is free and clear of regret when you leave.

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You find vulnerable men quickly

You quickly find potential partners who are also vulnerable. Men who are comfortable being vulnerable are extremely attracted to women who are the same way.

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You filter out closed-off men

You’ll instantly frighten off men who are skittish around talk of “feelings” and “needs.” Good. Let them go. They were going to waste your time anyways.

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You stop being strung along

  1. A) You realize just how many people were stringing you along—in work, in your love life, in your friendships etc. and B) You remove yourself from those situations because you finally have the nerve to say, “I need this from you” and as such, put those people in the position to say, “I can’t give you that.” Okay. So everyone is free now.
A troubled wife turns to Reddit for advice after struggling to forge a relationship with her new husband's ex.

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You realize how similar the human experience is

When you begin to open up about your desires, your dreams, your fears, your painful experiences and other intimate matters, people open up to you. And you start to realize how similar the human experience is for everybody. There’s a comfort and calmness in that realization.

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You inspire your friends

Your stories of extricating yourself from ruts and unsatisfying relationships (you have plenty of these now that you’re opening up about your needs) inspire your friends. You motivate several people to finally become vulnerable and state what they need in some of their unsatisfying relationships.

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Life feels more exciting

Being vulnerable feels like a magic power. You’ve noticed that, when you are vulnerable, people brighten up around you. You find that people tell you things they often wouldn’t. There’s a sort of buzzing energy on your skin.

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You feel strong

That’s the funny thing about being vulnerable. You’d think it would leave you feeling beaten down and frightened, but it actually makes you feel strong. You see how everyone else is actually impressed and even intimidated by your openness.

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You don’t internalize negative feedback

If someone says something that comes off as a little judgmental or critical, rather than sit silently with it and let it affect you, you ask them to clarify, or tell them they’re being a jerk. Either way, you address it rather than internalize it.

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You call people out more

If someone is being a bad friend or partner, you just tell them. You don’t take it personally. You make them deal with the consequences of their actions—you make them feel guilty (as they should) rather than you feel bad.

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People gravitate towards you

Vulnerable people want to be around you, and those seeking the strength to be vulnerable want to be around you. There’s a magnetism about you.

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You are treated better

When you become vulnerable, it shows in even your small interactions and simple words. Restaurant hosts give you the best table. Baristas give you complimentary scones. You radiate a positive energy that people respond to, and want to reward.

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People confide in you more

You may find that friends and family members who were always rather private start to open up to you about their personal issues. They see that, since you’re vulnerable, you won’t appear frightened or reject them when they open up to you.

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Your lows are lower, but less frequent

Yes—when you are vulnerable, you can get hurt worse than when you were guarded. But you’ll be hurt far less frequently. Since you’re so open about what you need, you avoid unsatisfactory situations that you used to get dragged into.

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Your highs are higher, and more frequent

Only when you are vulnerable can you experience deep, meaningful connections with people. And that’s the highest of highs. In fact, you generally feel happier all of the time because you feel more connected to the world.

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