Perhaps few experiences are as vulnerable in our lives as falling in love– choosing to embrace possibility with another person even if it means you’re opening the door to potentially getting hurt, too. Through her work she has discovered that we often think of vulnerability and weakness as the same thing.
While experiencing life, everyone encounters things that are hard– experiences that bring challenging emotions that we’d rather not feel sometimes. Life is naturally vulnerable: there are ups and downs, disappointments, failures, sorrows, and pain. But as mentioning by Dr. Brown, vulnerability is also the “birthplace” of the beneficial things in life: love, joy, creativity, belonging, and faith.
She states that as a culture, we are ending up being increasingly tired with vulnerability. Because it might not happen anyway, this is apparent in the way that some people won’t allow themselves to be delighted about or look forward to something–. Others choose to live in disappointment instead of being brave enough to try for something– because they might fail. And when we are feeling happy, some of us also feel a sensation of” foreboding joy.” Because we are aware that it might not continue, that means that we almost feel a sense of sadness with it. We also aim to numb our lives from feeling our experiences through spending money, using (or abusing!) substances or medication, and eating. These things become coping mechanisms to block the undesirable stuff we don’t like to feel.
Here’s the thing: it’s impossible to block out those negative emotions and still feel the good ones. We can either choose to embrace vulnerability and open our arms to feeling everything, or we can choose to close ourselves off and withdraw from what is happening to us.
It’s like what Theodore Roosevelt believed: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit comes from the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short repeatedly … who at the best knows in the long run the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” The people who live in the arena prefer to take chances and thrust themselves into the action knowing that they’ll win some and lose some. They decide to” go for it” with no warrant of what the outcome will be. Sounds a lot like love, doesn’t it?
We let the ways we don’t feel we’re enough dictate whether we can connect with others. Interestingly, shame is believing that we are bad– that there are things about us that, if others knew, they ‘d determine we’re unworthy of love and affection. This is completely different from feeling bad when we’ve done something wrong.
But take note how you can’t selectively block? Dr. Brown said it so succinctly when she put it this way: “Ifwe don’t allow ourselves to experience joy and love, we will really miss out on filling our reservoir with what we need when … hard things happen.” We won’t know what it is to genuinely be and love loved, and we won’t experience the connection that comes when we are our true selves with others.
We frequently see this method happening when two people fall in love, and it’s a beautiful thing. That vulnerability is brave and courageous and lovely, as two people embrace the precariousness of life and choose togo for something– even though there are no guarantees of what will happen tomorrow.
Are you busy planning a wedding for two lovebirds in your life? We’d love to make the transportation for your special day stress-free and seamless!
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