Being emotionally available is the cornerstone of healthy relationships. It allows for openness, communication, intimacy and depth. Then why is being emotionally unavailable such a common problem for people? Because it’s also self-protective and there are many reasons why people feel they need to keep the kind of distance it helps to maintain. It can be scary if overall trust in relationships is in question, often for very good reasons. But you need to ask yourself whether this “protection” from emotional connection from others is worth the end result.
Let’s explore 1) what being emotionally available looks like, 2) why so many struggle with being emotionally unavailable and 3) how to improve that.
What is emotional availability?
You are not only comfortable with looking at your own feelings but sharing them. Doing so is a vulnerable act and for people who inherently feel vulnerable in relationships or in general, possibly due to family of origin issues, this can feel unsafe or too close. Authenticity is not a challenge for those who are fully emotionally available because they often have a generally positive sense of self.
You are able to be responsive to other people’s emotions. This means good listening skills, attunement and empathy in