There are times in our relationships where we all just need to bite our tongues and not say what we are really thinking. This can actually help make a relationship healthier and improve your day-to-day interactions.
There are times, however, when biting our tongue prevents our relationship from developing into what it has the potential to be. Examples of when it is important to open up and talk are:
- When you are going through a really hard time
- When your stress is higher than your coping abilities
- Regarding your triggers and the things that make you most unhappy
We learn how to communicate primarily from our family of origin. The challenge is we aren’t always taught how to communicate during more difficult or more significant moments. As individuals you have to decide if you are going to risk being vulnerable with your partner. If you choose not to let your partner in out of fear of being a burden, getting hurt, or starting an argument, you essentially teach yourself over time to isolate in times of need. On a small scale this won’t seem like a big deal, but it has a significant detrimental impact on a relationship long term. You can reach a point where neither of you know how to support each other during struggle. It can be terrifying opening yourself up but each month, year, decade (yes decade!) the process only gets harder.
Being vulnerable is difficult. Trying to find the words when your anxiety is flooding you and all your destructive coping mechanisms are kicking in to protect you from feeling pain, makes it difficult to really open ourselves up and asking for what we need. One of the most valuable TedTalks out there is Brene Brown’s Vulnerability talk. I highly recommend you watch it with your partner. You can find it here. I would argue that the more vulnerable you can be in your relationship, the more you give yourself permission to really show up for yourself in your relationship, the more successful your relationship will be.
So try to find a place where you can start. Maybe it is asking for help or support after a long stressful day at work. Perhaps it’s giving yourself permission to properly label your emotions (ex. Calling sadness, sadness, not frustration), and realizing that showing your emotions is a strength not a weakness.
Whatever it is find a place that is slightly uncomfortable but not intolerable and move self-assuredly into it. After all, relationships are about growing together not apart.
What are some ways that you express yourself when you are having a hard day? Where/when do you find it easiest to be vulnerable? Let me know in the comment section below.