karen header 3

Karen's Blogs

Blogs are brief, to-the-point, conversational and packed with information, strategies, and tips to turn troubled eaters into “normal” eaters and to help you enjoy a happier, healthier life.Sign up by clicking "Subscribe" below and they’ll arrive in your inbox. 

[No unsolicited guest blogs accepted, thank you]

How Emotional Vulnerability Improves Mental Health

When I encourage clients to be emotionally vulnerable, I usually get a response such as, “Why would I want to bare my emotions?” or “If I do that, I’ll get hurt,” or “That will give people too much power over me.” They don’t realize that being open and authentic has nothing to do with what other people might say or do to us. Rather, it has everything to do with who we want to be and who we want to share our intimate lives with.

Expressing emotional vulnerability may be useful in helping others engage more fully with us, open up and share their hurts, be less defensive and combative, and improve communication. In business or politics, exposing your tender emotions may be done to get others to let down their guard, to take them off guard, or to strategically shift the balance of power toward ourselves.

But none of that is the goal of vulnerability in intimate relationships which are about sharing, not seeking, power. Intimacy involves loving with lowered defenses, being ourselves without fear of reprisal, and knowing without a doubt that we’ll be loved and accepted. In intimate relationships, we aren’t vulnerable because we want something from someone, but because this is what love is all about or why bother.

Listen up: Openness of the heart has two virtues: to access our deepest feelings in intimate relationships and to assess if another can do the same. Vulnerability with intimates is the only way to test out if we want someone in our lives. When we’re open and honest, we set a standard of what is expected between two people. We’re saying, here are the ground rules: I’ll be authentic and expect that you will be too. We’re showing someone what’s required of them in terms of honesty and courage and observing if he or she has what it takes to respond in kind.

If we say, “I’m hurt,” will he think this is a statement of weakness and try to hurt us more? Will he think we’re spineless and can be easily manipulated? Will he take advantage of our honesty and show us what he perceives as his power by shaming us? If she responds to our “I’m hurt” with a sincere apology and offers up her own hurt out of a desire to match our vulnerability rather than one-up us, the relationship stands a chance. If she can’t or won’t do that, we haven’t lost a thing, but have gained the knowledge that she will not make us happy because we’ll be forever trying to teach her to be real so that we can be real too.

We must dare to be vulnerable because authenticity and emotional closeness and bonding simply won’t happen any other way.

Best,

Karen

http://www.karenrkoenig.com/

https://www.facebook.com/normaleatingwithkarenrkoenig/

http://www.youtube.com/user/KarenRKoenig

http://twitter.com/KarenRKoenig

APPetite on Facebook

Weight Stigma and the President
Chronic Pain and Food Seeking

shelf new

EBProfessionalBadgeLarge

This website is owned and operated by Karen R. Koenig, M.Ed., LCSW. It contains material intended for informational and educational purposes only, and reasonable effort is made to keep its contents updated. Any material contained herein is not to be construed as the practice of clinical social work or of psychotherapy, although adherence to applicable Florida States, Rules, and Code of Ethics is observed. Material on this website is not intended as a substitute for medical or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment for mental health issues or eating disorder problems, which should be done only through individualized therapeutic consultation. Karen R. Koenig, LCSW disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained on this website. This website contains links to other sites. The inclusion of such links does not necessarily constitute endorsement by Karen R. Koenig, LCSW who disclaims any and all liability arising directly or indirectly from the use of any information contained in this website. Further, Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, does not and cannot guarantee the accuracy or current usefulness of the material contained in the linked sites. Users of any website must be aware of the limitation to confidentiality and privacy, and website usage does not carry any guarantee or privacy of any information contained therein.  Privacy Policy