Breakup expert Matt Shumate explains how leaning in to post-breakup pain makes you—and your next relationship—stronger.
Emotional vulnerability is a tough concept for bros to embrace. It opens you up to potential heartbreak, rejection, judgment, and ridicule. Say exactly what I mean? Pull back the veil on my thoughts and emotions? What will everyone think?
There’s a perceived inherent risk which typically trumps opening up. Most dudes abide by this risk and instead opt for bottling up their feelings and emotions. Not healthy.
Especially when you are just coming off of a bad break up, there is a strong desire is to shield yourself from any future pain and sorrow. But, you have to fight past that. You’re at an amazing place where you can truly dig deep, rediscover, and redefine who you are. Being vulnerable can help you get there.
There’s an array of amazing things that are unlocked when you put yourself out there. Let’s break them down.
Self love—Before you can truly love someone else, you must love yourself. Before you can love yourself, you have to understand who you are. What drives you? What makes angry, laugh, or cry?
The practice of vulnerability will quickly empower you to understand exactly who you are, and appreciate your unique quirks.
Deepens relationships—Laying it all out there will have a dramatic impact on the quality of relationships. Colleagues, friends, significant others. Everyone. It establishes honesty and transparency, making you more approachable and understandable.
By putting yourself out there, others will respond in kind. They will feel more comfortable expressing their innermost fears, concerns, loves, and quirks. You establish a strong foundation of mutual empathy that is the cornerstone for any deep relationship.
Love—CS Lewis once said, “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” A wise bro indeed. When you fall in love, that’s it. You have to release everything and embrace the unknown.
It’s scary as shit. But, when you are ready to seek love with a new partner, just go for it. Put yourself out there and your connection will grow infinitely stronger.
Therapeutic—Bottling up and harboring all those emotions isn’t healthy. It will come to the surface eventually manifested more than likely in the form of anger and rage. That’s not a crowd pleaser.
Searching introspectively and expressing your thoughts and emotions is the most natural and inexpensive form of therapy. Talk to another bro, write it down in your journal, do an audio recording.
Just dig deep and get it out there and your stress and anxieties will begin to fade away. It’s a lonely feeling to not have anyone to turn to when you need to talk shit through. But, that’s not the case. You have tons of people that care about you. You’re far from alone unless you force your self to be by bottling it up.
These are just a few of the immeasurable benefits of being vulnerable. Knowing the pros is one thing, but putting it into practice is another hurdle. It’s in our DNA to protect ourselves from harm or risk, so you have to dedicate yourself to make it happen. The good news is you can start small ….
Give compliments—It doesn’t have to be all about yourself. It’s expressing your true, genuine feelings which can be projected externally. Give somebody props for the way they look in that new dress or how you really appreciated their presentation at work. This gets you in the habit of showing how you fee.
Schedule some heart to hearts—Identify three people in your life that you have a deep connection with and reach out. Say, “hey man, I really wanted to get your thoughts on some stuff, let’s go grab a cup of coffee” (or hop on skype if it’s a long distance bromance). Get real with them. Talk about life, challenges, family, what gets you down, what makes you ecstatic. Get. It. All. Out there.
Don’t shut down the water works—This may rub some bros the wrong way, but trust me, if you have the urge to cry, do it! It doesn’t have to be because you’re sad. You could see a movie or listen to a song that you really connect with. Maybe your nephew gives you a big hug and says “I love you.” When you get that sniffle, don’t choke it back. Open up the floodgates.
Kill the smartphone—Are you the type that whenever there’s a second of discomfort or boredom, you reach for the favorite app of the week? It’s a crutch! Don’t depend on technology to fill the void in conversations. Fill your dialog with real, genuine thoughts, not pig noises from Angry Birds.
Becoming vulnerable is a challenging task. But, when achieved it can change your life in dramatic ways. You will attract the types of people that have positive influences in your life. Relationships will deepen. You will love and appreciate yourself for exactly who you are.
Get out there. Today. Let somebody know how you feel. Once you start down the path of vulnerability you won’t look back.
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