6 Ways to be more open in your personal relationship
Learning how to be open in any type of relationship can be easier said than done. It means putting yourself out there, being vulnerable and trusting the other person with your thoughts and feelings. There can be many reasons why this can be difficult, such as previous experiences of being hurt or let down.
Here are 6 tips on helping you become more open in your personal relationships:
There’s that old saying “love yourself so you can love another”. Once you can accept yourself for who you are, and learn the value of self-love, you are more likely to embrace a friendship or romantic relationship. You don’t need to seek approval from anyone else, which lays a strong foundation for personal relationships. Often, we are more scared of opening up to ourselves, than the other person. Be kind to yourself and focus on what you like about yourself. We all have that inner critic that makes us doubt ourselves, but it is possible to practice challenging that through journaling and self-reflection. ‘You do you’ is another phrase that refers to focusing on what makes ourselves grow and bring inner happiness. The less time we spend questioning ourselves or trying to fit into what we believe other people want, the more capacity we have to open ourselves up to another person and enter into a relationship with confidence.
Leading on from being yourself, the ability to accept yourself supports your emotional wellbeing. You acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses, accept all your emotions and approach life with a positive mindset. Emotional wellness enables you to open up without fear, trust others and understand your own feelings, as well as the other people in your relationship. This helps prevent judgement in the relationship, aids good communication and therefore the relationship becomes a safe space to open up. The more emotionally balanced you are, and if you can manage your own emotions, the healthier the relationship.
Listening to and talking about each other’s feelings and fears is the pillar to opening up in a relationship. It can feel scary at first to be so vulnerable in front of another person, but when we give someone our time in this way, it is easier to understand one another and move the relationship forwards. Depending on the type of relationship, listening to one another can determine the direction or success of the partnership. For example, if you are in the early stages of a romantic relationship, try communicating your expectations as early as possible. That way, you open a channel of understanding and can align on what each of you are seeking to avoid any upset later down the line1. Consenting to the emotional sides of a relationship as well as physical, will create a healthier, happier relationship.
It’s vital to reserve judgement on the other person, and on yourself. Everyone makes mistakes and people’s views can differ. The main thing is that you are open to learning more about the other person, as well as yourself, rather than dismissing the relationship based on misunderstanding or assumptions. Again, communication is important here. If you are unsure of someone’s view, feelings or expectations towards something, ask them to explain so you can better understand.
If you know that you struggle to be open in relationships, whether it be romantic or friendships, accept that about yourself. Remind yourself that you deserve a healthy relationship and to be accepted by yourself and others for exactly who you are. Encourage yourself to face any fears you may have about being vulnerable. You will likely surprise yourself at how rewarding this can be.
Positive body language
A great way to show your friends, family, or partner that you are ready to open up, would be to use your body language. This refers to any movement, facial expressions and gestures to convey your emotions, such as whether you are approachable, engaged or interested. It is another way to communicate without using words. For instance, if someone is breaking eye contact with you during a conversation, it could mean they are trying to hide their feelings or are uncomfortable2. If we cross our arms when interacting with others, it may give off the signal that we are closed off, or defensive. To be more open, try using positive body language, such as smiling, open postures and eye contact.
We hope these tips can help you overcome any challenges you may have or continue to have with opening up in your personal relationships. By taking them a step at a time and practicing them, you can enjoy strong connections with others, and happier, healthier relationships.