Couple walking and talking in Central Park by Katerina Holmes

Understanding Us: Vulnerability

Understanding Us · 3 min read

Vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.” 

I, like many others, have benefited from Brené Brown’s work on the power of vulnerability. Her TedTalk on this topic is one of the most viewed videos in the popular development series with over 18 million watches. If you’ve got 20 minutes I recommend giving it a watch. In her presentation, Dr. Brown talks about how being vulnerable is one of the most courageous things a person can do, and how vulnerability is the core, the heart, and the center of meaningful human connection.”

But being emotionally exposed is really difficult, and we can often avoid doing it at all costs. 

Sharing intense experiences with others is a large part of my life. I’m happy to regale people with the emotionally harrowing stories that have happened to me. That’s not really where I struggle with vulnerability. It’s when I need to be honest with people when I’m struggling and ask them for help. I hate asking for help. For so long I viewed it as admission of my failure and shortcomings. As I have learned, and am still learning, asking for help is good. Life isn’t meant to be lived in isolation. 

Vulnerability is necessary for romantic relationships to strengthen and grow. It takes a willingness to open up to someone else and trust that they will accept you for who you are and love you still. 

Being truly seen and known by someone can be a scary place to be. 

To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.” — Timothy Keller in The Meaning of Marriage 

How vulnerable are you with your partner? How courageous are you in sharing what you really feel? 

Take some time this week to reflect on how you and your partner are vulnerable with each other. Here are some tips on becoming more vulnerable and some questions to ask yourself and your partner:

  1. Ask for what you need. 

  2. Be willing to expose your feelings. 

  3. Say what you want.

  4. Express what you really think.

  5. Slow down and be present.

When was the last time you felt vulnerable with your partner? 

How do you view vulnerability? As a weakness or a strength? 

How can you help each other feel more comfortable when sharing openly and vulnerably? 


A great way to understand​‘us’ now is by taking your relationship Pulse. Toucan Together’s Pulse quiz will give you a snapshot of where your relationships is right now across seven key areas. Get started in the Toucan Together app today and take your Pulse!

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