With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, here is an idea that not only promises to make the holiday more enjoyable, but also has the potential to benefit your relationship for months afterward: working with the contradictions in your heart by finding balance and even synergy between seemingly opposing emotions.

This practice of marrying our perceived weakness with our greatest strengths is how our heart can remain open, flexible, and strong. And the most powerful way I can imagine to grow our heart strength is by adopting the willingness to experience vulnerability with confidence.

What Makes Confidence & Vulnerability a Dynamic Duo?

Consider each one on its own and why they need each other so much:

  • The confident but invulnerable heart is brash, ego-driven, and often unavailable. This kind of confidence does not serve because it is not tempered.
  • The vulnerable but insecure heart is pitiful and full of self-doubt. It resembles childlike dependence and is easily confused with its more mature adult version.

To really love life and become more intimate with yourself and others, these qualities of vulnerability and confidence need each other. Ancient Eastern scriptures have long revered Bodhichitta: the cultivation of the heart broken wide open. The teachings say that it is raw, confident vulnerability that allows you to deeply feel with true compassion and leads you to the road of enlightenment.

What Can Confident Vulnerability Do?

  • Allows you to keep showing up for yourself and others even when your heart gets a bit trampled.
  • Gives you the courage to actually feel what is happening to you.
  • Helps you to experience your feelings as they happen which builds more confidence.
  • Lets you say what you need to say and trust the listener to be kind.

Better Communication, Acceptance, and Deeper Passion

Balancing these forces in your heart everyday has the added benefit of ensuring that real lines of communication are always available. Combining the courage to self-disclose with the confidence to be yourself feeds a relationship’s integrity because everyone knows where they stand. The more confident vulnerability shapes your communication, the more trust will thrive.

Confident vulnerability doesn’t turn minor disappointments into big story lines about the places where the relationship falls short. You can keep your vulnerability intact if you have a little confidence. Relationships, by definition, will always disappoint you at some time and heartbreak goes with the territory. Accepting the frailties and imperfection of ourselves and the people we live with and moving into relationships instead of away from them is the reason to cultivate a vulnerable, confident heart.

Perhaps the most rewarding gift of cultivating a vulnerable, confident heart is that these are the odd bedfellows that create deep and lasting passion. Closing the bedroom door with the capacity to be fully open to the moment – and your partner – without fear of judgment, and the freedom to find out what it means to be sexual is the treasure of sex most people search for in a lifetime.

Vulnerability and confidence don’t preclude one another; they require each other. The mystery of sexual connection unravels and becomes a dance of union and spiritual rediscovery.

Confident vulnerability is the mature path to making a life with love as its central axis. It is the only path that has real heart.