Monthly Archives: March 2015

  • Being Vulnerable In Love

    There’s a popular saying that we must first love ourselves before we can expect others to love us. However, as with everything in life, the truth is more complicated than that.

    Love for ourselves will come and go; there will be times when we actually don’t like ourselves at all. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be loved by others. What is more crucial in a relationship is that we are willing to be vulnerable and honest; that we are willing to be open and show our loved ones who we really are, warts and all. This is by no means an easy feat, and however long we have been with our partner, it doesn’t seem to get easier with time. Being vulnerable is painful, and risky. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth doing.

    Love is a Risky Business

    Even in the early stages of a relationship we’ll find that vulnerability is necessary. Telling our date that we’d like to see them again, leaning in for that nervous first kiss, or telling them for the first time that we love them, all require us to take a risk. We open and offer our hearts to this other person, without any guarantee that they’ll want it. It’s no wonder that many of us find it easier to stay single! Yet love can’t blossom without us taking these risks, without these painfully vulnerable moments. This is true even 10 or 20 years into a relationship. The need to be vulnerable with each other never goes away.

    Strawberry Heart Square_3For a long time, society has taught us that vulnerability is a weakness. We’re not safe when we’re vulnerable, so it’s important to be strong. It’s true that we don’t feel ‘safe’ at all when we open ourselves up to others. But mindfulness can help with this.

    “Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”
    Thích Nhất Hạnh

    Life gets difficult when thoughts, emotions and outside events are constantly throwing us off balance. This is also true in relationships. When every misunderstanding and argument throws us into doubt and inner turmoil, it may feel that being in a relationship is not worth the hassle. However, through the practice of mindfulness we can develop a stronger centre, an anchor to ourselves. This way we can keep our heads above the waves, even if sometimes it feels like we’re only just managing to do so, rather than drowning every time our imperfections make the waters become choppy.

    Reframing Our Baggage

    By cultivating compassion and adopting a less judgemental viewpoint, we can reframe not only our own flaws and hang-ups, but those of our partner too. Rather than seeing our failings as a sign that there is something wrong with us, or that we’re not good enough (or that our partner is not good enough), we can start to see that everything we struggle with is simply a sign that we are human. These imperfections are something we share with all of humanity. Whatever we may feel embarrassed about or ashamed of within ourselves are not unique to us alone.

    Of course, there will be some issues that cannot be tolerated within a relationship. Not all relationships can last. But even in these cases, we can aim to end relationships in the most compassionate way that we are able to, forgiving ourselves or our partner if possible, so that we can move on in life without holding onto resentment or blame.

    Taking the Plunge

    There can be no love without an element of risk. In order to connect with others on such an intimate level, we are required to go out on a limb, to potentially make fools of ourselves, to take the risk of being rejected. But the payoff from taking these risks can be worth all the heartache it may cause.

    We can only be truly loved if we are loved as a whole. Allowing someone to only see and love our best side means we are not loved fully. The same goes for our partner; if we don’t allow them space to be imperfect, can we really say that we love them?

    Ultimately, if we want love we must dive into it, even though it is bound to be messy and difficult at times, because true love will also be beautiful and profound too. Let mindfulness be your anchor, and take the plunge.