You might wonder how I come up with the different topics to write on my blog each week. I essentially look out for trends in my own life, in my social circle, in my family, or just online.
The concept of emotional availability is incredibly fascinating to me, as it essentially determines your capacity to handle other people’s emotions. This is typically seen in a romantic aspect, but can also apply to platonic friendships.
I’d like to think out loud today and talk about a few things that come to mind when I hear about emotional availability. Let’s discuss how our experiences shape who we are, how being aware of our own emotional availability plays a role in our approach to relationships, how the work we put into ourselves cascades into other people and why we should learn about our own love language.
Our experiences and who we are
To me, emotional availability is the capacity we have to sustain an emotional connection in a relationship. It’s essentially a combination of our willingness and ability to connect with the emotions of other people. This would essentially require continuous vulnerability and trust with the other person.
Let’s go down the psychotherapy train and talk about childhood. First thing’s first, I think our perceptions of love and what romance is all about typically stems from the early years of our life. It evolves as we watch our parents interact, our family member engage, what we see in movies , and from books that we’ve read. We carry these expectations with us as we enter relationships, which then gives us our own experience and realizations.
Moving forward to where we are now, I think our most recent experience of being in some form of romantic or platonic relationship deeply impacts our emotional availability status. A breakup that ended badly, a friend that betrayed us, or even complicated family dynamics, can make it difficult for us to approach people with vulnerability and trust.
These are not necessarily the only factors that affect how emotionally available we are. There are some people who are just in a phase in their life where they’re not prepared for a new relationship. They’re focusing on their academics/career, their families, or they just haven’t done enough work on themselves.
This can lead to us being emotionally ‘unavailable’, where we find it difficult to open ourselves up and let other people into our lives. So how do we move forward with these insights?
Self-awareness and our approach to relationships
I’m sure by now you would’ve noticed that the key input to understanding one’s emotional availability is to have some level of self-awareness. This can be achieved by continuously reflecting on the experiences that have deeply impacted our view on relationships.
The more effort we consciously put into understanding our own biases, assumptions and interpretations, the more likely we are to approach people less defensively. Not every situation is going to be the same. Not every relationship is going to turn out like the one you’ve experienced.
The world is incredibly diverse. The more we’re able to bring our most authentic selves to the table, and the more vulnerable we’re willing to be, the more we’ll be be able to love ourselves and those around us.
Learning our own love language
We each have our own unique love language. It’s precedent in our experiences and upbringing as I’ve already mentioned. The issue with everyone having a different love language is that it can often cause friction when they’re misaligned. If what makes me feel special makes you feel overwhelmed, it’s not necessarily effective to replicate.
The importance of this is that we want to try and learn our own love language so that we can articulate it well enough to others, to avoid being disappointed by our expectations. Like I said, what works for me might not work for you. This links back to the previous section because when we have an understanding of what works for us, we can then realize that we’d need to curate our approach of love to different people.
When you try to make other people feel special or loved, don’t necessarily look at what you’d want for yourself. Look at how they typically approach the same thing and what has generally made them feel excited or appreciated.
I hope you’ve taken away some insights from the thoughts that I’ve shared today. Being aware of your own emotional availability will make it easier to set boundaries in future relationships. It will allow you to learn more about yourself and other people. When you think about it from a love language perspective, you’ll realize that everyone has their own set of conditions. All the best with the journey ahead! You got this.