Thursday, January 16, 2014

You Don't Have to Join the Peace Corps to be Vulnerable.

I've encountered many wounded hearts in my lifetime; in fact, I owned one. And while I experienced small moments of freedom, clarity and gratitude, I often observed my heart shrinking away from great risk. Especially when it came to love.

The human instinct to protect itself manifests from our most painful experiences. It's meant to keep us functioning, to keep us moving through each betrayal, but sometimes we shut out the world. We stubbornly believe that our isolation, whether it be physical, spiritual or emotional, will be better than any alternative. We punish ourselves and our pain quickly turns into fear.

When I tell you to be vulnerable, I know it isn't easy. It requires forgiveness, patience and honest self-assessment. It can be painful. Committing to kindness and compassion, admitting to our own mistakes and forgiving others for theirs is against our nature. We must forgive our fear.

There will be failure. We will not always be a perfect example of vulnerability, compassion or patience, but we must keep trying. In the end it will do something incredible – it will open our hearts. And as our hearts open, as we adopt the possibility of each moment without expectation, our ability to love and receive love will be limitless. We will find joy and adventure, perfection in imperfection, and that happiness lived inside us all along.

Yes, the world will still be dark and people will continue to hurt each other. We might even risk seeing all of that through a completely vulnerable heart, but that’s okay. The darkness will contrast the light, the pain will demand more love, and while it will not be easy it will be worth it. Why?

Because you deserve love. Because compassion is not a weakness. Because vulnerability is the new black and the walls we build aren't worth the upkeep. Maybe you are not ready today, but one day you will be and you will not be alone.