Shared vulnerability can build more intimacy, mutuality, being seen and heard, empathy, or community. Inviting shared vulnerability means earning another’s trust that you can consistently offer attentive, curious, and compassionate listening. Here are four strategies to invite shared vulnerability.
Misunderstandings can be painful. We can easily avoid this by checking what the other person understood from what we said, and ask the other person to do the same. Doing this is especially important when it comes to planning, shared decision-making, and when emotions are strong. Also, the more someone knows you, the more they think they already know what you mean -- which can get in the way of really hearing you. Here are a variety of ways to approach this simple strategy.
Effective and connected dialogue requires significant self-awareness, mindfulness, and skill. You can focus on any of these six areas that most often escape your awareness: anchoring and staying grounded; boundaries; thoughts and beliefs; stuckness or attachment; feelings and needs; and requests. Read on for a list of questions to help you focus on how to do that.
For each reactive pattern there is a perceived threat to a tender need. Knowing these tender needs helps us figure out how to interrupt these patterns and creating new ways of perceiving and relating to life. In addition to knowing the need, knowing the healing response and the primary reactive behavior helps with transformation.
In general, criticism is a reactive response discomfort. When someone criticizes, they are not yet able or willing take responsibility for their needs. All criticism is a tragic expression of feelings and unmet needs. When you meet that criticism skillfully you not only care for yourself, you can facilitate clarity, and constructive communication, about what the other person is truly asking for.
For this practice assume that reactivity is arising any time you are distracted and not enjoying something. Practice throughout the day by focusing your attention for a few moments on something specific that you find pleasing. Notice the sensation of joy or pleasure in your body, and hold attention there longer than usual. This interrupts tension and contraction. Keep remembering to do this. When you go too long without directing your attention in this way, the practice becomes less accessible.
Conversation can become more satisfying with depth. Depth is occurs when connection unfolds towards a depth of intimacy, presence, attunement, sensing -- and silent attentive connection where another is attentively seen and heard. Inviting this level of sharing in conversation relies on at least three major elements: attentive silence, the desire to connect and be known, and focus on present moment experience. Learn more about this way of engaging.
How is trust best supported? Do you know what you do to contribute to making it easier or more difficult for others to express the truth (even in the most mundane moments)? Smaller requests can also built trust over time if they're rooted in the present moment, and are specific enough. Learn more about building trust...
What's the real reason you choose to talk about something or not? "Privacy" can become a misplaced label that's used to hide harmful behaviour. Secrets typically come from reactivity -- and can carry shame, fear or threat of harm, and take a toll. And yet, if something private gets mislabeled as a "secret" it can also trigger shame and fear. The key to all this may be in relating to privacy from a place of clear differentiation, boundaries, agency, care and discernment.
Telling yourself to be a certain way or have more of a certain quality (like courage), is a set-up for self-criticism and possibly freezing or avoiding. Instead, access effective action by asking yourself questions like: "If I could be or have that, what actions would be different inside or out?" "If I could be or have that, what needs would be met and knowing those are the needs, what could I do or ask for that would meet those needs?"