I bet you have already heard the quote “To love at all is to be vulnerable” by C.S. Lewis
Yes, this is a good old quote that has been said and heard a million times. However, I feel that sometimes we do not fully grasp the meaning of this until we further reflect in on ourselves. Yes, ourselves—looking at ourselves first.
I am currently in a mentorship program and I was given the opportunity to talk to different people with different backgrounds from different parts of the world. Recently, it dawned on me how my unwillingness to be more vulnerable is holding me back to succeed and to fully understand and help others—and thus, to truly loving them. After our activities, I remembered my mentor saying, “You are struggling to go deep because you are afraid to go deep yourself”. And I know that is right.
“To love at all is to be vulnerable.”
- C.S. Lewis
Why am I so afraid to be vulnerable?
Why do I equate being vulnerable as a weakness?
Can I not see that maybe, what is holding me back to really love someone and being loved back is my own wrong perception of vulnerability?
Can I not see how I am losing the ability to connect with others and possibly impact their lives because I am so afraid to be vulnerable?
Asking these deep questions to myself first help me to really root out the hindrances that keep me away from loving and being excellent.
Brene Brown on her book Daring Greatly said that we’ve come to the point when “we spend our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable or from being perceived as ‘too emotional’ and we feel shame when other people can mask their feelings, suck it up and soldier on.” (33)
This is the reality that we live in. We cannot blame ourselves though, because it’s part of being human (especially if your personality is a stronger one). We dislike uncertainty, we do not want to take a huge risk, we do not want to get hurt, we do not want to feel rejected, we do not want to emotionally expose ourselves for the fear of being seen as weak and for being judged. It’s like the society has labelled FEELING DEEPLY as being UGLY or a FAILURE or being LAME. It is also not surprising nowadays how we hide behind our gadgets, we make ourselves “VERY BUSY” so that we could not deal with any feelings.
We spend our lives pushing away and protecting ourselves from feeling vulnerable or from being perceived as ‘too emotional’
But wouldn’t you agree that it is exactly through sharing our feelings, the deepest feelings, that we truly connect with each other and learn how to love? Isn’t it exactly through being open to vulnerability that we can learn more about the other person’s deepest desires and worries, and know how to better help that person?
And why would we not want that? What is a life not spent on loving and being loved in return? If we look closer, don’t our hearts ultimately long for that real love and connection?
After all, we are made for Love (Jesus) and we feel most fully alive when we love. (And I am not just talking about being in a romantic type of love, but all types of love) But why do we hold back so much?
Needless to say, I am definitely guilty of being afraid to be vulnerable. But after further reflections on myself and remembering that God is telling me to continue to “love like Him”, I know that I need to go beyond myself. I need to think less of the danger that I am exposing myself with and to trust more in God. (And this is where surrendering/the art of letting go comes in)
To love is to become courageous, to allow yourselves to be naked emotionally and to be willing to take on the risks of being hurt and disappointed tremendously. (And believe me, for a woman like me who likes to have more control and answers before I invest in something, this is not easy). But here is the challenge that lies in front of me-- God is calling me to love and to be excellent, but how can I do that if I am not being open to being vulnerable?
It is not easy, but I think I could get better at this. We all could get better at this.
I am learning these past few days that one good and practical way to love others is to be intentional and to ask more questions that are deeper (go further than surface level questions such as “hey how are you”). Sometimes we struggle on how to do this, and now I realized it is because we are afraid of going deep in ourselves. This is why it is essential to spend time in prayer and reflections, because truly getting to know ourselves first will help us to love others better.
I hope that you find the time to pray and reflect today. <3