Emotional Availability

This week I am especially keen to unpack this topic! Firstly, because I have had a long personal journey with it, and secondly, because it continues to be relevant for almost everyone I meet. EMOTIONAL AVAILABILITY is one of those intangible traits that some seem to be naturals at! Others of us may need to do a lot of personal work in order to develop our availability to both ourselves and our lovers in the realm of emotion.

So what is it?

Being emotionally available means being open to your own emotions and sharing them with your partner. Emotionally available people tend to feel all their feelings, without being afraid of them. Naturally, this involves having a perspective towards emotions that allows all, and I mean, ALL of them to be felt, acknowledged, and accepted. In other words, developing a positive or at least neutral attitude towards the FULL repertoire of human feelings without shame, guilt, or fear clouding or distorting their experience goes a long way to helping us become more emotionally available.

Why would we want to be more emotionally available?

Firstly, without emotional availability intimacy and a deeper connection to our lovers is impossible. In order to feel truly connected and engaged with each other at an emotional level, we have to be emotionally open. When both partners are able to meet each other at an emotional level, because they are both open to it, a reciprocal feeling of intimacy and connection can be felt. This can be a beautiful experience! Especially as we are taking a step towards developing a more authentic relationship. In this kind of relating, both lovers feel that they are able to be their full selves, without having to hide any part of who they are and what they feel. This means sharing our so-called darker feelings – those of fear, insecurity, vulnerability, sadness, and so on – without feeling overwhelmed with fear or doubt. The lovers will no longer feel the need to hide behind a façade.

Secondly, emotionally available lovers have more fulfilling relationships. This means that partners rarely feel lonely or isolated within their relationship and when they do they find ways to reveal this to their partner so that both can actively engage in changing this dynamic. Furthermore, commitment to a long-term relationship relies on at least some availability at an emotional level.

What can you do to become more emotionally available to yourself and to others?

The first place to start with is becoming more emotionally available to yourself. This will involve a different process for everyone as our reasons for becoming unavailable in the first place will vary. For some of us, writing our feelings in a journal may be enough to invite more connection to ourselves. For others, talking to a compassionate friend will be enough to get us into deeper connection to what is moving for us emotionally. For others, talking to a trusted counsellor or therapist may be necessary to face the painful losses and trauma from the past that are preventing us from feeling a full range of emotions in the present.

Once we have developed a better relationship to our own emotions, in other words, being aware of them and able to name them while having an understanding of where they are originating from, will allow us to become more emotionally available to our lovers. If we know that our partner is someone that will compassionately accept our feelings, we can allow ourselves to reveal these feelings. When we are given the gift of empathy and understanding from our partner, our connection to each other will deepen and our hearts will feel together.