Here are the rest of the thoughts I put together on my own journey and how I became more willing to be vulnerable. Oh man, it's a bit tricky to write out, but I am doing my best to make this REAL for you. I met with one of our lovely readers yesterday for a "walk" - - and she was so awesome...I am thinking of her so much as I write this. I know how hard it so do these things. But I also *KNOW* that if people really want to make these changes & if they have the guts to start applying this stuff in little ways, then they can tap into something life changing. It can improve your views of yourself, your relationship with your spouse, parents, children, friends, etc. The effects are so far reaching. Trust me that I wouldn't be writing any of this stuff out unless I thought that other people could do this, too. :)
I've already written:
Step 1: Own Your Worth
Step 2: Let Go of Fear
And Step 3 is.....Love for the Sake of Loving
Love is the ultimate goal of this life. At least that's how I see it! It's better than money, power, professional success, beauty, etc.
But to LOVE, you must be VULNERABLE. So this is why I think vulnerability is so important to develop. It is truly necessary in order to love others in the fullest, most beautiful way.
Photo by Saydi Eyre Shumway
The problem is, often times people will love with expectations. You offer love, hoping that you will be loved in return. You offer kindness, hoping that you will be noticed and appreciated. You offer yourself, hoping that others will accept you and value you & see worth in you. But loving with expectations will most likely lead to a lot of pain, because the person/people you have put in charge of your happiness likely won't always meet your expectations...they may not return the love you were seeking. So at times, this kind of "love" may put the fear in you. It may feel risky. It may make you want to feel on guard & feel less willing to love fully. And so...vulnerability takes a backseat. And so does life. And living. And fullness.
This kind of fearful love, riddled with expectations, is not the kind I have made my life-long goal to develop. It's not the kind of love that Danny & I have. In fact, it's the kind of love we try to avoid at all costs, because I think there is something better....
What if........you offered love & kindness
JUST FOR THE SAKE OF LOVING.
JUST BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SEEK AFTER THE VIRTUE OF LOVE.
Photo by Saydi Eyre Shumway
Loving in this way does not come with expectations. It does not put pressure on others to be in charge of your happiness. This is the kind of love we learned to develop (before we met! in our previous marriages!) It carried us through our divorces, our single days in New York & Boston, and it is the reason why we have such a loving marriage now.
You see, if YOU have worth that is inherent and intrinsic to who you are (see Step 1), you know that so does everyone else. Even if they make mistakes, they still have worth. Seeing them in that light frees you to to love them as a human being, regardless of whether or not they are capable of returning love to you, regardless of whether or not your love is received. You are free to seek to build someone else's worth regardless if they receive it or are grateful for it. Again, if you already own your own worth, you aren't looking for anything from them. You are simply hoping for someone else to know their own worth, too. Period. This is the essence of love. It is knowing that someone is worth your patience. Your kindness. Your forgiveness. Your compassion. Not because they are doing anything to deserve it. But because they inherently have worth, just like you do. And so your goal is to bring it out in them. And if you don't succeed, then you will be ok. You don't "need" to succeed, but you offer what you can out of love, and then you let each person carry out their own life and their own path.
Seeking after the virtue of LOVE helps you to become your truest, most worthwhile self. It's the heart of who we all are. And tapping into the power that we already have within us to live this way is the most tremendous thing a human being could ever do.
If we let love power what we are doing....we can do the hardest things we've ever had to do in this life.
Do you think you sometimes love, hoping to get something in return? Can you imagine loving differently? I hope you can. It's awesome.
Love to all,
P.S. The artist of this sculpture in Philly was made with a crooked "O" to symbolize that even love is not perfect. Well, as you can imagine, I think it depends on what kind of love you're talking about! :) Neon text above by artist Lee Jung, of Korea.
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