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Exploring Vulnerability and Resilience


Not many people are experts at relying on vulnerability to help build a reservoir of resilience. It’s extremely difficult to let your guard down and accept that you can succeed through vulnerability. Resilience isn’t just about white-knuckling it through a difficult situation with a plastered on smile so that you can come out the other side unscathed. It’s about realizing that you are going to feel vulnerable sometimes, but knowing that with vulnerability comes greater resilience.

Vulnerability in Relationships

One main area where vulnerability is necessary is within relationships. Whether it be romantic or platonic relationships, vulnerability is key. Very often, when we are in a new relationship, we are afraid to be ourselves, so we try to be the person that we think the other person wants. Doing this can lead to problems. Building a relationship on a rocky, unsteady foundation isn’t something you want. You aren’t going to be able to sustain that relationship.

Before you know it, all that you have built will come crashing down when real problems begin to crop up. Real intimacy in all relationships is about vulnerability. They are about being honest so that growth can happen together. Closed off relationships lead to two plants that grow side by side but never come together. Relationships that value honesty and vulnerability will grow to be intertwining vines.

Of course, relationships aren’t always easy. There are going to be conflicts and disagreements, but they don’t have to turn into arguments. To keep them healthy and respectful, you must have open discussions that are built on honesty and vulnerability. Sharing your thoughts and feelings with each other helps to keep both sides from shutting down. Even though there may be a difference in opinions, finding common ground and the space to compromise can lead to an even stronger relationship.

That is what builds resilient relationships.

A Collaborative Partnership

Healthy and resilient relationships thrive on being a collaborative partnership. Letting go of the “it’s my way or the highway” thinking is necessary so that both sides can see each other’s point of view clearly. Everyone has their beliefs based on what they have experienced in the past. These beliefs are your views, not the views. Relationships are not a contest. It isn’t about making every conversation into an argument so that you can come out on top.

Instead, relationships should be about finding the right path together. Relationships are about teamwork. It’s give-and-take, so not every day is going to be an even fifty-fifty split. Some days you’ll have to pick up the slack for your partner or friends. Other days, they’ll have to pick up the slack for you. A collaborative partnership is being okay with this and knowing that you can be resilient together, bouncing back from difficulties because you know that you both are doing your best for the relationship.

Another part of a collaborative partnership is making sure that there is vulnerability coming from both sides. Often in the heat of the moment, you may lash out at your partner or friend for doing something that you don’t like. Although a small outburst like this may make you feel better, it leaves your partner or friend wondering what they have done to make you so upset, even though it may have nothing to do with them. This is where vulnerability comes in.

Learn to say “I’m struggling and I need help” instead of lashing out. Realize what you are dealing with and bring it to your partner or friend in a healthy and respectful way. Thus, you’ll both be able to work through it together, creating a healthy and resilient environment for both of you. If you refrain from exploring vulnerability in your relationships, you are going to find yourself struggling with intimacy.

For example, let’s say that you are struggling with substance use. If there isn’t room to be intimate in your relationship, your partner may be hesitant to bring up your substance use. They may avoid it, brushing it under the rug until there is a lump the size of an elephant under the carpet. Only then can it be avoided no longer. By this time, it is usually too late to have a calm and civil conversation because the space to be vulnerable is long gone.

This leaves you feeling like there’s something wrong with you because your partner didn’t feel comfortable enough coming to talk to you about your substance use. This leaves your partner feeling bad for letting the situation grow because they wanted to hide their vulnerability. If you find yourself in a similar situation with a partner or friend, remind yourself that you are both humans. Humans make mistakes.

The only thing you can do is work out the current situation to the best of your abilities, then learn from your mistakes for next time. You have the power to use your mistakes as fuel to make you both more resilient for the next thing that arises. This usually means allowing yourselves to be vulnerable. It’s worth it.

The Guest House is here to help you learn to be vulnerable in your recovery so that you can improve yourself and your relationships with others. We can give you the tools you need to be successful. Call us today at (855) 372-1079. We can’t wait to speak with you and get you started with us today. Call now!