Originally Posted on February 15, 2015 by BJ Howell.
As Valentine’s Day ends and the mundane day to day experiences return, it’s important to put things into perspective. Special days will come and go. It’s what goes on “in the trenches” that counts. Any relationship worth having will always, at its foundation, require at the very least, two components… Vulnerability and hard work. Whether it’s with a family member, friend or significant other, for us to truly connect we have to be brave enough to allow ourselves to be vulnerable. Allowing others to see us, as who we are, without the masks that we clothe ourselves with, is a necessity. As humans we are created to connect with each other. We are created to have meaningful bonds…to be continuously woven together. And while we may think that we don’t need these connections, there is research that supports the fact that we do.
These connections are needed for our survival. And if they are needed for our survival, they are most certainly needed for our healing, and just as important, they are needed for us to thrive. An unfortunate consequence of being vulnerable is that sometimes we experience emotional discomfort or pain. While the brain is great at helping to protect us, sometimes it hinders us. Pushing us to shut down, use crafty words/behavior to deflect attention away from us and onto the other person, hardening our hearts to protect us from the pain, etc. It is a natural response. However, if we want to be connected…if we want to love and be loved, we have to be able to look at the full picture. To love and be loved deeply means that sometimes we have to give of ourselves freely. We have to be comfortable with the uncomfortable feelings. To truly look at ourselves and examine whether we are preventing ourselves from the love we need, and deserve.
Experiencing emotional discomfort, often times provides us with an opportunity for growth, if we allow it. If we allow ourselves to experience those feelings and allow ourselves to reflect on what is, we are presented with an opportunity to love deeper, to learn about ourselves and to grow. It’s always a calculated risk because every relationship isn’t deserving of the gift of vulnerability. And to cloud things, we all bring our own baggage into relationships. We need to honesty look at ourselves and assess what role we may play. Are we charging that person with making us happy and complete? Is the relationship healthy? Do we need to work on ourselves? Is the relationship worthy of the work that is needed to sustain it? Is the other person putting in work? Answering these questions will help us make the decision to take that risk or to pass. Sometimes it’s a process of balancing head and heart to make the best decision for your situation. If this isn’t the right relationship for you, are you ready for the next one? Are you still willing to let the walls down to let love in? Are you ready to weave your forever? Love deeply, give freely, and be empowered.