If you’re looking for something more in your relationships with those who are most important to you, perhaps the missing ingredient is unconditional
love. To find this missing ingredient, you must allow yourself to be vulnerable. When you can be vulnerable, you can receive unconditional love.
At the end of April I wrote how allowing yourself to give unconditional love improves your relationships with others. Giving love to others unconditionally is only possible when you also let yourself be vulnerable to receiving their love in return. You can only give love unconditionally if you allow yourself to receive love conditionally.
Of course, you already know how to be vulnerable. The question is, can you allow others to see your vulnerability? Or, do you work hard to keep it hidden behind a mask of self-control, strength or self-sufficiency?
The irony is that those who are vulnerable actually have more self-control, strength and self-sufficiency. Things that are hardest to do often first appear to be weaknesses to be avoided.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
~ C.S. Lewis, The Four Loves
What Does It Mean to be Vulnerable?
Being vulnerable means that you accept the idea that is normal and acceptable to feel hurt, disappointment and shame. That it’s okay to try something and fail.
That it’s okay to be rejected. That feeling pain is both okay and to be expected in some circumstances.
Most importantly, being vulnerable means that you trust yourself enough to realize that whatever your circumstances, whatever is happening to you right now, you will move forward. Being vulnerable means you have the courage to be okay, just the way you are.
Until you’re willing to be vulnerable, you cannot fully receive unconditional love and without unconditional love, your relationships will forever be shallow, temporary and unsatisfactory. You will always be looking for more.
Vulnerability Does Not Have to be a Two-Way Street
The biggest fear you may have about being vulnerable is that others won’t reciprocate and similarly reveal themselves to you. That’s just fine! It’s not a reflection on you. It’s an illumination of their weakness.
Not learning about others’ innermost dreams and fears does not limit your life. You can still choose to let others see the real you.
“Vulnerability is the core, the heart, the center,
of meaningful human experiences.”
Ultimately, choosing to be vulnerable is choosing to act with courage and trust in your abilities to handle whatever the outcome. You can choose to ask for someone to commit to your relationship, ask for a promotion or additional responsibilities at work, ask for a date.
Choosing to be vulnerable is to choose to grow, to learn from any experience or outcome, to live your life authentically.
Your Personal Appraisal
- How often do you mask your true self in a relationship?
- Is it hard for you to express your fears or weaknesses?
- How strongly do you associate being vulnerable with being weak?
- When do you speak about your hopes, dreams, frustrations or feelings?
- Is your wall of protection low enough that you can step across it?
Live Honest, Open and True
The secret to richer relationships is to be vulnerable. When you risk being vulnerable, you allow yourself to receive unconditional love from others. When you choose to be vulnerable by sharing your true self with others – your fears, your dreams, your disappointments, your feelings, your needs – you open the door to deeply satisfying relationships fed with unconditional love. If you feel unsatisfied by your most important relationships, try allowing yourself to be more vulnerable.
What stands between you and richer relationships? Between you and receiving unconditional love? Stop by our Life is HOT blog Facebook Group and leave a comment or tweet me @LifeIsHOTBlog with the hash tag #LifeIsHOT!