Intimacy

What If Your Baggage Is Keeping You From Complete Vulnerability?

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If you’re like me, the idea of someone seeing the real you is terrifying. Until I met my husband, I always had a fear that whoever I dated would eventually see how messed up I was inside and run in the opposite direction.

So I did my best to maintain an image of a person who had it all together, who was nice, God-fearing, and always did the right thing.

But when I got into a relationship with my husband, I experienced something I had never encountered before: unconditional acceptance.

My husband saw every side me-my nice side, my angry side, my brave side, my cowardly side, my pretty smile, and my ugly feet-but still loved all of me.

Experiencing that kind of love felt strange, but so liberating. As the years went by in our marriage, though, I realized that I was still an insecure woman who was afraid of letting anyone too close to me. If a friend hurt me, I just cut them off until I wasn’t hurting anymore. I was afraid to be vocal about my needs to people close to me, and it was keeping me isolated in my relationships.

How Vulnerability Can Hurt Your Relationships

Insecurity can come from low self-esteem, or pain experienced in the past. Wherever it comes from, it causes you to think irrational, distorted thoughts about yourself. And from there, you interpret everything that happens to you in that same light. You think to yourself, “I’m not good enough, I’m not strong enough, I don’t deserve anything good.”

So when a friend hurts you, it feels like they’re saying they agree with those thoughts. If you’re in a relationship, you want to keep your walls up so that your partner can’t see the ugliness that you see in yourself. You make yourself impenetrable so that you won’t experience the pain and disappointment you anticipate will come when the people in your life see you the way you see yourself.

The Truth

In reality, though, we’re all messed up and in need of God’s unconditional love. The thing about knowing you’re loved unconditionally by God-really knowing it and believing it-is that you can look at yourself honestly with all your faults and flaws, and still smile at yourself in the mirror because you know that you are amazing and precious-not because of anything you’ve done, but because of the value God Himself placed on you by making you.

Believing that God loves you unconditionally allows you to acknowledge your past and all of its pain, but still put in the work to experience healing and transformation-because you understand your value.

Finally, believing that God loves you unconditionally frees you to be yourself no matter who you’re with or what you’re doing, because your value gives you influence in your corner of the universe that no one else has.

The Freedom of Being Vulnerable

In the freedom that God wants to give you, there’s no need to hide your flaws from others. Instead, when you acknowledge your flaws, you give people the hope and courage to face theirs. You make your relationship a safe space for you and your partner to be
If you want to experience complete intimacy in your relationship, you have to be able to be vulnerable in every way. That kind of freedom is only possible when you decide to acknowledge the baggage you’ve been carrying and put in the work to get healing from it. Hiding behind walls in your relationship will only give your emotional baggage the power to isolate you and your partner from one another.

Being vulnerable enough to communicate with your partner about the most intimate things will take time, but it’s so worth the effort. It creates a strong bond of trust in your relationship that will stand the test of time and trials.

Ready to put in some work and deal with your baggage? I put together a resource to help you. Check it out here .

Here are some of my other posts about deepening intimacy and communication in your marriage:

Till next time! Stay in touch and get resources to keep your love thriving-while growing into the person you’re meant to by signing up for my weekly newsletter here.


How I Overcame the Shame of Molestation To Live A Life of Freedom

When I was in elementary school, I was molested by a family member. That same family member introduced me to porn for the first time. That was just one occasion too, but I can never forget those two things. They’re stamped in my brain.

After those events happened, I felt ugly and dirty. I had a stain on the inside of me that I couldn’t escape. As I got older, I started becoming afraid that if people got to know me, they’d see what I saw and run the other way. I became so insecure and down on myself that I couldn’t affirm myself unless someone else did it first.

I got good grades because I saw how proud it made my parents, and I figured if that’s what it took to make them love me, I’d do it all the time.

I was a super strict vegan and was super religious and “holy” because I thought God would love me more if I did those things.

When I got married, I asked my husband’s opinion about every little thing and second and third-guessed every decision I made because I was scared of messing up in any way.

All my life, I had to be the good girl because it was the only time I felt like a person of value.

I didn’t know it at the time, but I was struggling with toxic shame.

You see, when someone suffers from shame, they can’t distinguish the acts they commit, or the acts done to them, from themselves. In their minds, they think, “I’ve done something bad, so I am bad. I am a terrible person.” Or if they’ve been the victim of abuse, they may think this way, “I must be a terrible person for them to have treated me that way.”

That’s exactly how I felt. I thought to myself, “I’ve been molested. I’ve watched porn; therefore I’m permanently stained and damaged. I’m unlovable.”

No matter what has caused you to feel toxic shame-abuse, rape, criticism from others, poverty-you are NOT your past. You can be free from your shame.

  1. Acknowledge the source of your shame.

Until I acknowledged my shame, it had power over me.

It wasn’t until I had been in therapy for 6 months that I was finally able to pull the curtain back on my thoughts and emotions and pinpoint those memories and the pain I associated with them.

I finally got the courage to tell my therapist about being molested. I could barely say the words out loud. I had never told anyone, not even my husband, about what happened.

That’s the day my life changed for REAL and the weight I had been carrying fell off.

2.  Allow yourself to grieve.

When I started explaining what happened to my therapist, my throat got really tight, and the tears started flowing. I felt like I was watching myself as a little girl all over again in my mind.

It’s okay to feel sad about the things you’ve done, or the things that have been done to you. Let yourself feel the pain. Allow yourself to relive that moment and feel what you felt when it first happened, because that’s when you’ll finally be able to start letting it go.  

3. Develop compassion for yourself.

We’re only human. And nothing we do can make God love us any more, or any less. “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Unfortunately, we live in a sinful world. Our hearts and thoughts naturally turn toward things that are corrupt. Naturally, we’re enemies of God in our minds. So some of us may have been victims or even perpetrators of evil.

But God has compassion on us, and He forgave us freely.

We need to do the same for ourselves. We need to forgive ourselves.

When I talked to my therapist, I told her I felt angry with myself too, for not doing anything to stop the molestation from happening.

She asked me a simple question: “What could you have done?”

“I could have said no. I could have told my parents so he wouldn’t have gotten away with what he did.”

But as I said it, I realized how irrational that sounded. It wasn’t until I said it out loud that I realized I had been taking my molester’s guilt and placing it on myself. I finally understood and accepted that what happened to me wasn’t my fault, and I didn’t have to blame myself anymore.

That day, I became free, because I finally developed compassion for myself instead of blaming myself for the things I couldn’t control.

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4. See yourself the way God sees you.

You are a masterpiece. I’ll say it again. You are a MASTERPIECE. There’s nothing you, or anyone else can do, to make God see you any other way. You can take a $20 bill and crumple it up, jump up and down on it, but guess what? It hasn’t lost it’s value. You can still take it to McDonald’s and get you some food. How much more true is that of us, God’s own children?

5. Get professional help.

I can’t say enough how much going to therapy has helped me uncover the broken pieces of myself and heal from the inside out. My marriage is so much happier. I mean, my husband and I had really good communication and an amazing friendship before that, but he could see that there were things in me that made me super insecure and down on myself. Now, my marriage is on another level simply because I’m happier. I’m finally comfortable in my own skin, no matter who’s around. I’m okay with myself messing up.

We couldn’t afford therapy at the time, but we made sacrifices to make sure I was able to get the help I needed. It’s by far the most important I’ve ever made in myself.

What will your choice be?

**This article was a snippet from my new e-book bundle “Love From the Inside Out.” To find out more about how you can get it, click here.

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