We are terrified to be vulnerable. The opportunity is there for connection, but the second they ask about who we are, what we do, and how we live, we push back. Vulnerability exposes us to scrutiny, to betrayal, and worse, to uncertainty. But vulnerability also leads us to courage, to compassion, and to love. Vulnerability is a measure of willingness to let go and to allow connection to flourish even without assurance.
What makes us vulnerable is the same as what makes us beautiful. It is what sets us apart from struggle and unworthiness. But we despise it. We avoid being the first to say, ‘I love you’ for fear that it will not be reciprocated. To be vulnerable is not about what is easy or what is unbearable, it is what’s essential—to be willing to bring ourselves to a place, where there is no guarantee, to devote ourselves in a relationship that may or may not work out.
Instead, we question ourselves, “Can I love this much?” or “Can I believe in something this passionately?” And we are led to feel that we are not capable of the very same emotions we constantly search for. Vulnerability exposes us to pain, but also exposes us to real connection. For every minute we allow ourselves to turn our backs on who we are, we lose opportunity to be in a real relationship.
We push, and they push back. And as much as we want to hear, “I love you” first, we say “I love you, but.”
As we enter a new year, we will also enter a new opportunity to build connections, and to nurture our relationships with our loved ones, families, friends and the like. We invite you to take comfort in our insights through this blog and future posts on how you can better cultivate your relationships with everyone around you.