Letting someone get close enough to hurt you is a terrifying concept for most people.
But when you are offered an intimate relationship with someone who has the power, ability, and desire to go deep with you, it’s a shame to not be able to take advantage of that opportunity.
Whether you’ve just met your deeply intuitive and trustworthy significant other, or you’re looking for ways to go deeper in your existing long-term relationship, this article will give you some tips that will help you be deeply seen by someone.
The Kind Of Person Who Deserves Your Vulnerability
Remember, not everyone deserves to see the deepest, realest parts of you. It will likely be closer to 1% of people you know who may really know you. Your vulnerability… your truth… the scary parts of you that you have an (understandably) difficult time showing to others is nothing short of a gift. And it is one of the most valuable gifts that you have to give. So choose the recipients wisely.
The ideal recipient of your gifts is someone who has proven themselves to be trustworthy, non-judgmental, patient, compassionate, kind, and they have your best interest at heart at all times.
They are the kind of person who, when you are around them, you feel like they are gently holding your heart in their open hands. They are the kind of person who makes life worth it. They make connection feel like a cherished gift.
If the potential recipient is someone who is prone to using shaming language in how they respond to you (projected from the discomfort they have with parts of themselves) then they may not be the best person to receive your truth.
Benefits Of Letting Someone See You
One of the greatest benefits of being in an intimate relationship is allowing yourself to shine the proverbial flashlight into the dark corners of your mental attic, and clean out some of the cobwebs with the loving support of your partner.
In my opinion, the overarching point of any kind of talk-based therapy or personal coaching is to take the disowned parts of ourselves (the things that we think are too dirty, messy, wrong, or flawed in ourselves) and re-integrate them into our lives.
The best way to do that? You guessed it. To let ourselves be seen by our significant others or trusted loved ones.
On the physical level, there is research supporting the idea that feeling deeply connected to others supports immune function, helps you live a longer life, and allows you to recover from disease faster.
On a personal/emotional/non-scientific level… being seen by someone can take you from being an overly-independent, hermit-y, island of a person… into the loving, compassionate, heart-connected person that you have always had the potential of becoming.
The Environment You Will Need To Let Someone See You
While this will vary from person to person (like everything to do with relationships, intimacy, and psychology), I have always found that the following elements help people allow others to really see them.
– A calm, quiet, distractions-free space
– A compassionate, loving, non-judgmental recipient or recipients
– A track record of trust, understanding, and kindness between you and all present
5 Ways To Let Yourself Be Seen (In Order Of Difficulty)
You know the benefits of letting someone see you, what kind of person you want to be opening up to, and the environment best suited for your sharing and intimacy.
So what action steps can you explore to let your partner (or people in general) see you more clearly?
I’ll start with some smaller steps, and then progress into the deep-dive exercises. Choose your own adventure and start wherever you need to.
1. Being seen by a stranger
This first step is for people wading into the shallow end of vulnerability.
Maybe you have a deep aversion to intimacy or vulnerability and want a starting point. This first exercise will help you start the process towards emotional honesty with someone who you likely feel the least social tension with – a stranger.
Your task? Be honest with a service worker (barista, restaurant server, grocery bagger, etc.) about how you’re doing. Have a real human moment. Tell them you’re not doing that well if you’re having a rough day. Allow yourself to wear the face of how you actually feel in that moment.
Don’t offload on them for minutes when there’s a line forming behind you… but have a real human moment with a stranger for a touch of connection if that feels like it stretches you.
2. Emotionally honest dinner party
Similar to the last exercise in certain ways, but with the social tension dialed up by depth and volume.
Host a small, simple dinner party with only a handful of trusted friends where you make it your intention to speak with radical honesty about your life and your feelings. Let your honesty affect everything you do, if only for the night, from the way that you answer “how are you?”, to only laughing when you actually want to laugh, to the expression that you carry on your face throughout the evening.
3. Space clearing session
This exercise is often best done with just one trusted partner receiving your words.
Have a mutually agreed upon space clearing session whenever you or your partner needs it.
The rules are simple for space clearing sessions (which is just clearing space in your mind by relinquishing the thoughts that you’re holding on to a bit too tightly).
Vent. Be honest. Word vomit to your heart’s content.
Every single thing that you say might not be 100% true if you sat with it and analyzed it… but this exercise isn’t about speaking rehearsed truths. It’s about letting your emotions come out in the form of verbal communication.
Understandably, it’s extra important that you have a loving, trusted partner to receive your space-clearing word vomit without them taking all of your words at face value. There may very well be things that afterwards, when you sit with them, you realize that there is very little truth to certain things that you said. But there was still something in you that wanted to express it in order to feel lighter. So go for it. Clear that space. And then be willing to listen to your partner if they feel like taking a turn after you.
Similar to the last exercise, but with a different physical configuration, and with more people listening.
Physically surround yourself with trusted friends. Set a timer (maybe 10 or 20 minutes) and allow yourself to just vent everything that you’ve been feeling and experiencing in your life lately… without moderation or editing.
You can either have them love and validate you through the process with a predetermined set of words, they can sit and receive your words quietly, or they can physically comfort you if you’d like. It’s your time. You’re allowed to ask for whatever you need.
5. Attic scrubbing
As far as I see it, it’s a lot easier to be somewhat seen by thousands of people than it is to be truly seen by one person. Because of this concept, this last exercise is often the most challenging/confronting for most people.
Attic scrubbing is the act of clearing out the skeletons from your closet and really letting your partner see you. This exercise often brings up a lot of latent feelings of unworthiness, low self-esteem, or fear of intimacy. This exercise is definitely like jumping into the deep end… so make sure you can swim before you dive into this one.
Write a list of all of the scariest/most vulnerable things you never thought you’d tell someone, and share them with your partner. If you feel called to do so, you can give them a phrase that resonates with you that they can periodically feed back to you. Some examples could be things like “I still deeply love and support you”, or “I’m not going anywhere”, or “Thank you, I love you… tell me more.”
Set and setting are important for this exercise as you want to be able to have a distractions-free, relatively un-rushed experience where you both can love and embrace whatever emotions come up for either one of you. There’s no rush when it comes to emotional processing or letting someone see you. Give this gift the time and attention it deserves.
Vulnerability and intimacy are some of the most beautiful and challenging gifts you could possible give. Choose your partner wisely, take your time getting to know each other, and be just as loving of a support system as you would want someone to be for you.
And if you want someone to share with and have them tell you that you’re still deeply loveable, you can always reach out and chat with me directly.
Dedicated to your success,