One of the traits I admire the most in people is vulnerability. I have difficulty relating to or trusting those who wear masks of order and control. I defend their right to do so. Maybe someone else has access. I don’t allow just anyone see my raw spots either. But constant protection limits our understanding of each other. It limits our relationships.
It is those who crack that win my heart. Those whose snot drips out of their nose when they sob. Those who drank one too many and are the only one dancing. Those who confess sins and admit mistakes. The awkward and unpolished. Where some see weakness, I see courage. I see human.
As long as this doesn’t all happen on a continual basis, mind you. Then I see hot messes. There IS a difference between “letting down your guard” and “clinically significant”.
What does vulnerability have to do with Valentine’s Day?
Love is all about rendering yourself defenseless. When you open yourself up to the bliss love brings, you also expose your jugular.
We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy. ~ Walter Anderson
Ultimately, love brings pain. I watch my dog age with a lump in my throat. She was a Valentine’s Day gift to myself too many years ago. I anxiously watch out the window for my husband’s car. He should be home by now. I watch my son sleep, a bittersweet reminder of the day he will no longer fall asleep in my bed after reading by my side. Don’t grow anymore. Don’t leave me.
Love brings loss. I am out of touch with close friends. With some, I’m left holding the frayed end of a completely severed tie. Death takes people from me. I find solace reflecting on the impact they made in my life. Solace from others who love me.
It’s brutal. But it’s your reaction to love’s pain that determines growth or stagnation. You can find and appreciate the lesson. You open yourself back up and seek new outlets. Or you shut down.
Yes, give me the vulnerable. Give me the conflict. Give me the flaws. Seeing weakness in others is like unbuttoning my pants after Thanksgiving dinner. Aaaaahhhh, now we can get comfortable. Now I can be genuine too.
Walls protect the builder, but everyone else bangs their heads against them. Walls teach us nothing. Loving and being loved teaches us plenty.
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one…, But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. ~ C.S. Lewis
This Valentine’s Day, redeem a piece of your heart you once protected. Trust where you haven’t before. Acknowledge mistakes, both yours and others. Open something that you kept closed.
Be human. Be vulnerable. Be loved.