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What is stopping you from being who you want to be right at this moment? It is time for a new holiday ritual, and a new word for 2023 is vulnerability!

Art by Nevaeh Jashae Foster 


The Secret to Intimacy: Deconstructing the Fear of Vulnerability

by share

Before the semester ends and the new year begins, I wanted to express the significance of vulnerability because imposter syndrome and new adjustments can make opening up emotionally and socially uncomfortable. With Thanksgiving behind us and the New Year approaching, we need to treat ourselves with care. I mean, you would not treat your friends and family like you treat yourself, would you? No, not everyone is doing better than you, and maybe you should try gifting yourself this year. Get uncomfortable and have fun for the rest of the year. Oh- and please, change now. The new year/new me mindset is delaying you from being who you want to be and going places you want to go. What is stopping you from being who you want to be right at this moment? It is time for a new holiday ritual, and a new word for 2023 is vulnerability!

I would like to agree with the idea that understanding Pistanthrophobia and Anthropophobia will help us all overcome our fears while unlocking our power. Therapists encourage– no, no, no, I am just joking —please do not worry about the gigantic words researchers use. Those are not important right now, and I am pretty sure you read over them sounding something like pi-san-throw-fo-bia. Pisanthrophobia is a fear of trusting people in intimate relationships or situations, and anthropophobia is a fear of unacceptance by the people around you. Memorizing what each of these words means is far less important than understanding how to reconceive how you view vulnerability. 

I want to introduce you to two best friends with benefits: vulnerability and pride. The two strip each other of everything in the name of love, truth, and honesty while creating barriers and defense — the withholder is compelled to accept. 

Vulnerability vs. Pride

Vulnerability is the state of emotional exposure in which we relinquish our prideful and defensive nature to acknowledge uncomfortable emotions. It is facing fear when failure is a possibility.

For example, living with my extensively masculine, military, six-figure-making uncle instilled a sense of pride in me that I am trying to rationalize — and get rid of. I feel like I need to be the breadwinner in every room, everything needs to make sense, and I need some form of control in every relationship to make me feel safe. I can give you advice on my worst day, pouring from empty, but I would never allow you to hear the sadness of my voice because I need to feel well-balanced. If I am the muse, the voice, how could I lack when people need to learn from me? I know, wow. These are my thoughts. 

Some of you will be like me, pride is a factor in every room. Others only have an issue being vulnerable after venting or sharing their emotions with a person who does not make them feel comfortable, seen, or heard, which is normal. For this, boundaries and self-reflection will become valuable. 

How to be Vulnerable

Being true to who you are creates a stronger relationship with yourself, your ideas, and the people who surround you with love. Kristine Fredheim, a psychic medium and spiritual advisor, comments, “When we all feel safe, we will love deeper and this can truly make a huge impact on the world.” For myself and for you, I have researched multiple ways to soften the fear of being emotional and compassionate:

  1. Reflect on how you truly feel and vocalize it. Ask yourself how you feel and what caused this emotion? I believe right before you vent, you may feel that protecting yourself means to stay quiet and solid. You may feel your muscles tighten or your stomach drop. Stop allowing uncomfortable situations and feelings to hold you from the growth you were destined to reach. After you try to understand how you feel, you can release these emotions with other people, or if that is too much, in a journal. If that is too permanent, write on a piece of paper and burn it. Trust me when I tell you, the breath you breathe after releasing your burdens can lead you to a state of mindfulness and tranquility. 
  2. Stand on everything you say, feel, and think. I believe that one reason for our pride being as prevalent is because we are not fully aware or confident in who we truly are becoming. Give up perfection and notice your authentic power. People will go against you and that is OK, stick to your version of vulnerability and self confidence. Never go back on what you have created because of a bad audience or negative comment. It is yours to create and yours to break. 

Falling Short: Back to Pride

Inevitably, there will be a person that will come and bruise your ego or a job that rejects you, and these situations will encourage pride to betray the compassion and communication you built with your heart and mind. It is OK to feel scared, when you feel like your mind is clouded it is usually best to do what you’re subconsciously afraid to do. In that moment it most likely will be talking to the nearest person about how it feels for you to be rejected and you start realizing the root of it all — maybe how it reminds you of rejection from your parents.

That. Is. Life. It is OK to be a hot, crying mess! Be patient! It is not OK to build up everything inside your mind until you can no longer sleep or eat. I still struggle with vulnerability in rooms of career development and in interpersonal relationships. Growing through the emotions and recognizing what your body and soul are asking of you is essential. Humans are supposed to feel. If you ever stop, then worry. 

Present Moment Power

Be in the moment. I believe everything you do requires obedience and discipline. If you know you want to be H.O.T which means humble, open, and transparent, then you must change difficult conversations in uncomfortable spaces. You cannot effectively express how you feel if you are subconsciously worried about the past or the future. And remember, no amount of pride equals strength. To be true to self, to find genuine communication with your mind and soul is a flex that will go beyond your Instagram aesthetic. By all means, protect your heart — self reflect on who you can be unguarded with. Your close friends, mentors, friends, therapists, family, and partners should allow you to fall backwards into their arms right into an aura of comfortability and safety. Allowing yourself to be free will encourage the spirit of others to be free around you. Be in the moment. 

Methods that have guided me to un-feel the fear:

  • ‘Be Where Your Feet Are’
    I was at a friend’s dorm and saw ‘Be Where Your Feet Are’ on a white board. The influence that these five words have had on my life thus far is imperative to the present moment power I have focalized to grow and breathe throughout the beginning of an intimidating but developing journey. Find your five words.
  • Journaling your vulnerable thoughts
  • Studying the faith behind the pattern
  • Self Reflection Questions
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comments (2)

  1. Kim L. Acreman

    So much insight in a young adult. Great article we can all learn from.

  2. Barbara Seylar

    Your article is informative and interesting. I am so proud of you.