Home Archive Prev Next

Our last course of the year is coming up. Scroll down for details.

Why It's Important to be Open and Share Yourself in Your Relationships

JournalsMAUDE: The other night we were reminiscing and I had a strong memory of an experience that happened early in our relationship. Not only could I see the visuals of this scene, but I felt the emotions and meaning that accompanied it for me.

We had gone up the coast for a two day getaway and were settled in a motel at the edge of town (this was before Airbnb existed!). As we reclined in the bed, Phil brought out a stack of old journals, informing me these were his from when he was 15 years old. He had apparently just come across them. Asking if I would like to hear them, and receiving an affirmative, he began reading to me.

They were written for himself and told the tales of teenage love, inner thoughts and musings, worries and anxieties, home life, tales of bike rides and races and much, much more. They were almost brutally honest, as he examined for himself his motivations, desires and problems. I felt at once awed and honored to be trusted with such an inside view of his 15 year old person.

I was struck by his open honesty both within the journals and in his sharing them with me. He let me so deep inside him with this seemingly simple act. Yet, how many of us apply this kind of openness to our relationships?

When you can be totally open with another, you are not only showing yourself, but you are sharing yourself. In that openness, you are offering who you are to the other. When you can show your weaknesses as well as your strengths, and when you can both do that, it creates a direct sense of the “we” in the relationship. When barriers to connection are dropped, and when you are not hiding yourself, that is when a relationship can flourish.

In order to do this, you have to be at peace with yourself. This takes self-knowledge and self-acceptance. Both of these make it possible for you to offer openness and acceptance to another.

PHIL: In order to be fully in a relationship, you have to be fully open. That includes showing your weaknesses as well as your strengths. Of course, this doesn’t happen at first; few people reveal all their phobias, sexual quirks and credit card debts on a first date because they want to make a good impression and attract the other person.

Openness and trust develop hand in hand; each one feeds the other as you get to know someone better. They grow according to how open the other person is as well. It’s difficult to share your emotional state with someone who only talks about golf scores and how bad the traffic was, but even if they are so scatter-brained that you cannot trust them to pick up the milk, when they’re fully open, you can trust that they do not have a hidden agenda.

We don’t show ourselves fully in society because hey, we have jobs to do and things to get on with. These are social inhibitions we all have – that’s a result of socialization, of being brought up to live amongst other people, but in a relationship, it is different. Why hide any part of yourself there?

This isn’t a license for cruelty or abuse. If that’s what social inhibitions cover up, then letting these loose is not openness at all; it’s a cue to work on yourself and look into what is behind them.

But a relationship is built on – maybe even is – connection, and who doesn’t want and need that? Being as open as you dare to be is the route there. (If too much connection triggers feelings of claustrophobia for you, then we’ve written elsewhere about how it is possible to feel both free and connected at once.)

The more open you and your partner are, the more you will feel seen and the more connected you will be.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Phil's journals

Let us know any questions or comments you have by clicking here and leaving them directly on the blog.
Headphone iconClick here to listen to Phil reading this blog.

Last Online Course of the Year

Spread the word to everyone you know!

Poster for course

Day 1: Saturday October 15, 2022

  • Session 1: 9:00 AM PDT looks at Core Values, finding out what yours are and how they are fundamental to your relationships.
  • Session 2: 2:00 PM PDT explores respecting individuality and the radical result of total acceptance which transforms your relationships.

Day 2: Sunday October 16, 2022

  • Session 3: 2:00 PM PDT is Phil and Maude's process for creating mutual solutions rather than fighting and arguing.

Follow-up meeting:

  • Saturday October22, 2022 at 9 AM PDT for an hour, getting back together with the group and sharing how people have applied the ideas from the course. This is an optional follow-up meeting.
Register at Eventbrite
The content of this course can be applied to all relationships. Your participation is welcomed regardless of your particular situation: you can come as a couple, a single, one member of a couple, or someone who wants to improve family, friendship or partner relationships.

Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we wrote about why it's important to be open and share yourself in your relationships. Here are some articles that use different terms – vulnerability, opening up, self-disclosure – to discuss this issue.

Why Vulnerability in Relationships Is So Important "No matter what type of relationship we’re talking about—be it friendship, familial, or romantic—vulnerability is key to fostering a closer, deeper, and more authentic bond with another person. It keeps us honest with each other and ourselves, breaks down walls, eliminates the potential for miscommunication and misunderstandings, and allows us to be wholly ourselves."

Opening Up Emotionally: Why Do I Struggle & How Can I Overcome My Fears? "Opening up is very difficult for many people. Letting your guard down, allowing yourself to become vulnerable for even a second can seem like too much to handle. Why deal with the potential consequences of a negative emotional aftermath and pain? It seems a lot easier to simply remain distant and detached for some."

What Is Self Disclosure in Relationships – Benefits, Risk & Effects "Self-disclosure in relationships may make some people feel uncomfortable out of fear of sharing too much personal information. While this may be a valid concern, there are also benefits of self-disclosure, especially when it is done correctly. Learning what self-disclosure is and how it helps relationships is important."

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
Read our blogs at PhilAndMaude.
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram
Email us at philandmaude@philandmaude.com
If you are interested in newsletters you've missed, see our archive.
Do you know anyone who would enjoy this newsletter? Tell them to sign up at https://philandmaude.com/signup/