Another blog about vulnerability Jen?? I know. Please don’t yell at me. I’m only trying to help.

If you’re thinking “God I hate vulnerability. It makes me feel so uncomfortable. Is she every going to talk about anything else??” you definitely want to keep reading.

I can’t stress enough how vital vulnerability is in our relationships. Last week we learned that vulnerability is not weakness it’s actually a sign of courage and strength. This week I’m going to talk about why it is essential in creating deep and meaningful relationships.

So why is vulnerability essential in creating deep and meaningful relationships you ask? Vulnerability is the key to deep connection. You cannot connect with someone on a meaningful level if you are not willing to be vulnerable.

Now don’t get me wrong, you can’t just shout out your deepest, darkest secrets to every Joe Shmo off the street. There has to be boundaries.

Brené says “We don’t lead with Hi, my name is Brené, and here’s my darkest struggle. That’s not vulnerability. That may be desperation or wounded ness or even attention-seeking, but it’s not vulnerability. Why? Because sharing appropriately, with boundaries, means sharing with people with whom we’ve developed relationships that can bear the weight of our story. The result of this mutually respectful vulnerability is increased connection, trust, and engagement”.

She says that vulnerability and trust are like the chicken or the egg. Which one comes first? Well the answer is you need both. Trust is like building up layers over time. Slowly and surely the person we’re in a relationship with shows us they are worthy of our trust and therefore worthy of our vulnerability.

Brené uses a great example of a marble jar. I was a teacher in my last life so I can relate to this very easily. Each time your partner shows that they are worthy of your trust, you add a marble into your trust jar. Over time your jar of trust will be full and you will know that this person is worthy of sharing your vulnerability.

However, the opposite is true as well. If your partner does things that don’t allow you to put marbles in the trust jar, or you have to take marbles out, the level of vulnerability you share with them will decrease.

Are you still with me?

Marbles and trust and vulnerability, oh my!

Here’s something else I want to talk about. What are the not so subtle ways your partner might be destroying your trust jar? There are the obvious ones like lying, cheating, or disrespect.  But what are the smaller things that maybe we don’t notice at first, but over time they cause a rift?

Brené says “All terrible betrayals (referring to lying, cheating, disrespect), definitely, but there is a particular sort of betrayal that is more insidious and equally corrosive to trust. In fact, this betrayal usually happens long before the other ones. I’m talking about the betrayal of disengagement. Of not caring. Of letting the connection go. Of not being willing to devote time and effort to the relationship”.

This is the biggest cause of breakups. Not the obvious ones that people think of. This usually refers to the term “They grew apart”.  The reason people say “They grew apart” is because of the betrayal of disengagement. People stop caring and this leads to a violation of the trust.

She says “When the people we love or with whom we have a deep connection stop caring, stop paying attention, stop investing, and stop fighting for the relationship, trust begins to slip away and hurt starts seeping in. Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears-the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unlovable”.

Wow that is some heavy stuff! Every time I read that, I feel like I’m getting punched in the gut.

Let’s just reiterate that one more time. “Disengagement triggers shame and our greatest fears-the fears of being abandoned, unworthy, and unloveable”.

This was a huge eye opener for me. Now I know whenever I feel ignored, not heard, or unimportant it is triggering my shame that I’m not worthy of being loved.

Brené says “Trust is a product of vulnerability that grows over time and requires work, attention, and full engagement. Trust isn’t a grand gesture-it’s a growing marble collection”.

Pay attention to your marble jar. Who’s filling up your jar and who’s depleting it?

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