Emotional Nudity – do you need it?

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When you refuse to hide the real you behind a falsely created persona, you are practicing emotional nudity.

Emotional nudity is

  • being honest about who you are and what you are feeling – to yourself and to your partner
  • about allowing and embracing all emotions that exist in your body
  • allowing others to see you the real you
  • not suppressing and resisting negative or uncomfortable feelings

Living with emotional nudity in our relationships puts us into a vulnerable space. This can feel rather uncomfortable.

We need courage to be vulnerable:

Courage to show the true you; courage to tell your partner what you are actually feeling; courage to talk about the good and the bad.

We have become really good at hiding or suppressing our “Bad” feelings.

“Good” feelings, like happiness, joy, excitement, are perfectly acceptable

“Bad” feelings, like anxiety, sadness, insecurity, are totally unacceptable. We resist them; we suppress them; we numb them out.

We have learned to make negative feelings wrong.

Many of us believe there is something wrong with us if we experience “bad” feelings. Many clients often tell me: “I shouldn’t feel like this.”

We are so good at numbing out our bad feelings. We comfort eat and drink. We escape – into social media, TV and computer games. We will do anything to distract ourselves so that we don’t have to feel these bad feelings. We strive to be perfect.

We chase happiness, perfection and success with such passion and vigour whilst avoiding emotional nudity. Eventually our good feelings are numbed out too. It’s as if we only live half a life. Many people are feeling empty inside, yearning for something but they don’t know what…

In order to live fully we need to embrace all our emotions.

Feelings are not wrong – they are merely messages from our souls – they give us important information. Welcome them; listen to them; don’t invalidate them.

I invite you to consider living differently today, to living more fully and authentically especially in relationship with your partner.

Allowing emotional nudity in your relationship will bring richness into your relationship.

There is nothing more comforting than having your central issues held and supported. There is nothing better that truly feeling understood by your partner – doing the same for your partner will build a strong bond between the two of you.

The key to emotional nudity is owning your feelings.

Avoid saying: “You make me feel….”

This is blaming your partner for the way you feel.

Rather say, “I feel ….”

Hiding strong negative feeling blocks an opportunity for healing. When you are able to talk about your inner world, you open up the opportunity for understanding and healing.

How can you bring emotional nudity into your relationship?

Step 1: Build up your relationship

Get your relationship into shape- you need trust and commitment to embrace emotional nudity.

Stephen Covey gave us the gift of the Emotional Bank Account.

Briefly: You have an Emotional Bank Account with your partner. You make deposits into their account (like appreciation, gifts, acts of service, kindness, etc.)

You make withdrawals from your partners account (like contempt, criticism and character assassination, etc.).

If the balance in the Emotional Bank Account is positive, then your relationship is in a good space. If it’s in the negative – you have some work to do. Make regular, daily deposits into your partner’s Emotional Bank Account and your relationship will thrive.

Remember that relationships spiral quickly- in a positive way as well as a negative way.

Keeping the concept of the Emotional Bank Account constantly in mind makes it easy to build a healthy relationship.

Whenever you are about to do or say or even think something, ask yourself whether you are depositing or withdrawing.

Keep depositing. Your partner will feel good and loved and will be inclined to make deposits into your account. You now feel inclined to deposit into their account. See the spiral?

This works with withdrawals too – get into the habit of negative withdrawals and soon your relationship spirals into hurt and hate.

Step 2: Work on yourself.

Self-awareness is crucial to bringing emotional nudity into a relationship. If you are not aware of your feelings, or if you are numbing them out, how can you offer your partner the opportunity to help and support you? Go on personal development courses, journal, work with a coach or therapist if necessary.

Know and understand all aspects of yourself so you can practice emotional nudity with your partner.

Step 3: Give immediate feedback

Immediate feedback is an important skill to learn. When your partner does / says something, give feedback by describing your feelings.

“Ouch, that hurt”
“My heart is smiling”
“That pushed my insecurity button”.
“I feel unsafe when you criticize me in public”

The idea is to keep it short and sweet – just get it out. Then shutup!

The gift you give your partner is that they become aware of how you respond to them. This does also open up the space for an in-depth discussion if necessary.

Take these three steps and walk hand in hand into emotional nudity. Your understanding, love and awareness of each other will develop and grow.

Emotional nudity in relationships is essential for the emotional wellbeing of both partners.

Emotional nudity is a gift to both of you.

The risk of emotional nudity is vulnerability.

The payoff of emotional nudity is a trusting relationship where both partners can grow and develop.

What will you choose?

I love you,
and because I love you,
I would sooner have you hate me
for telling you the truth
than adore me for telling you lies.

Pietro Aretino

 

PHOTO from FLICKR

About Kirsten Long

Coach. Toastmaster. Prison-worker. Wife. Mother. Friend.
This entry was posted in awareness, Communication, Feelings, Life Mastery, Relationships. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Emotional Nudity – do you need it?

  1. Thabi says:

    Great blog Kirsten, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. What I loved the most is the fact that you give us tools for bringing emotional nudity into our relationships which is something most of us lack.

    • Kirsten Long says:

      Thanks Thabi. Yup – we communicate all day, every day and yet we are not very good at it! Now – put those point into practice and see where it takes you. Have fun!

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