Vulnerability STEP THREE

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…… offered love & kindness

                                                                                                                     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.

After I figured out that I had worth and I started living without fear, the ability to love & be vulnerable was just practically automatic…..but then deliberately seeking to LOVE for the sake of loving was the crowning glory of being vulnerable and feeling love and connection with people all around me.  And I’m not just talking about the people that were returning love to me……..I’m even talking about the people that could have easily been considered my enemies.  This was/is the most triumphant thing I’ve ever done.  I wanted to do it for all those around me, for my unborn children, and for my “future” husband, which turned out to be Danny (ahhh!).  This motivation carries me still today.  And loving for the sake of loving is the root of the abundance of love that I have in my life.  I have chosen it and have tried to maintain it daily.  And I know that you can, too.

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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  1. Em March 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm - Reply

    I love this post – although the contrast with the ad in your sidebar telling me how to "win back my ex in 4 stages" is a bit hilarious.

    • mara March 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm - Reply

      oh man – those ads! ha. I wish I could control them. They are generated based on reader's profiles…and i'm guessing "a blog about love" is bringing up some crazy stuff! I should ck into a bit more…

  2. Bri!!! March 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    This is what it means to have charity, the pure love of Christ! Beautiful post! Love is the most powerful emotion, and it can drive us to create a beautiful reality!

  3. Eat My Scabs March 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm - Reply

    I agree with Em—I was laughing at the sidebar ad too!

    Love is life and life is Love. When I'm in the midst of pain, or feeling hurt and betrayed by a loved one it's hard to remember, but I do believe any amount of love, compassion and vulnerability you feel is never wasted. never.

  4. Simply Sandy March 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm - Reply

    I agree completely! I recently was having a difficult time feeling loved/ and loving so I prayed to see people and love people as Christ does and OHHH BOY It's been quite the experience! I'm loving it and have found so much happiness! Still working on the becoming more vulnerable – I think I'm stuck on the letting go of fear, but I'm working on it.

    • mara March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Sandy – I love that tactic – see people as Christ or God would see them. It changes everything.

  5. Jacy March 29, 2012 at 9:16 pm - Reply

    I'm so glad I read this today!

    I have definitely loved with the expectation of getting something in return (not my proudest moments)… but the more I discover and redefine the things that were so abruptly broken in my life (ie love, marriage, trust, self worth and happiness), I'm learning that in the end, I am in control of me. Always. And once I've become the very healthiest version of myself, I will be able to love and be vulnerable exactly as you have described. Thank you for sharing your experiences Mara.

    Beautiful post! 🙂

  6. Natalie March 29, 2012 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    I've been reading your blog for a few weeks now, but today I thought I would comment. This post made me think of a quote my dad gave me 9 years ago by Neal A Maxwell: "Love may not be wanted, and love may not be reciprocated, but love is never wasted." It's been my life-line. Love is NEVER wasted.

    Thank you for your posts. They've made a huge difference in my life!

    • mara March 30, 2012 at 5:08 pm - Reply

      Natalie – LOVE this quote. So good & so very true! Thx for sharing.

  7. Alison Rae March 29, 2012 at 10:25 pm - Reply

    I can't believe how accurately this describes my life right now. Thank you so much for putting it into words that I can grasp onto and really incorporate this into my life. My poor husband! I sure have some work to do!

    • mara March 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      SO happy this is helpful. GOOD LUCK with this! You won't regret it. xo

  8. Amy March 30, 2012 at 3:13 am - Reply

    You speak the truth.

    • mara March 30, 2012 at 5:10 pm - Reply

      Amy – ha! I'm trying! Thank you.

  9. sara b. March 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm - Reply

    Love. This. Post. I know it's one I'll go back to again and again. Thanks Mara!

  10. RRW March 30, 2012 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    It's amazing how clear it all seems once you realize how it's supposed to be. It makes me laugh to myself, about myself, that I ever saw it differently. Thanks for your well constructed message and ability to clearly state what is clear. I loved it.

  11. Nora March 30, 2012 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    This was so liberating to read. Thank you. I have been trying to make this 'loving people unconditionally' a part of myself for a few months, and have definitely felt a change in how I view people, and how I feel about myself. Once I let go of things I wanted to receive from people, I felt SO FREE. It's definitely an ongoing process, but giving and giving and giving in itself is so fulfilling, and I can't HELP but feel so HAPPY. I LOVE it. I feel like my freedom to be open inspires other people to be open, and then we are able to connect on such a deep and kind level. THank you for taking the energy to write this in a way that is concrete and clear. I am so happy to keep loving and being vulnerable. It brings so much beauty to my life and to my soul. PS-still working on my 'healing' thoughts for you and Danny.
    Happy, wonderful weekend! Keep up the amazing, valuable work.

  12. Loula March 30, 2012 at 9:30 pm - Reply

    Mara, I'm happy that you've been able to find happiness but I still leaning. I'm just beginning to unravel old patterns … and can relate most to your comment, "After I figured out that I had worth and I started living without fear, the ability to love & be vulnerable was just practically automatic…..but then deliberately seeking to LOVE for the sake of loving was the crowning glory of being vulnerable and feeling love and connection with people all around me." I've created a blog to help myself recover from yet ANOTHER failed relationship and in hopes of helping others:
    It's been healing to research love and relationships for me. I hope to be where you are one day and truly learn to love without expectation. I think that is what caused my last break-up. But then, isn't there a fine line between loving without expectation and being a door mat? Often I won't speak up when someone is "being who the are" but it's insensitive towards me, eventually after that happening often, I get angry and the guy says we're not compatible. Ugh. Any tips?

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