Ultimately, having MORE Love in your Life means having LESS Control. Ready to Let Go?
Let’s face it, we live in a culture that applauds appearances more than almost anything. And keeping them up. While it used to be just about “keeping up with the Joneses,” now we’re also loaded down, preoccupied with fear over safety and security, protecting ourselves, our children, shielding our computers and our country from terrorism and cyberstalking.
We live in an uncertain world. Preoccupied with safety and security, we live in fear; fear of not having enough, fear of not being enough.
And when it comes to the heart, it’s even more intense. We’re hesitant, afraid to be honest and open, vulnerable even with those we love the most. And we’re spending a lot of energy protecting ourselves from pain and discomfort, heartbreak.
We even question whether we’re worthy enough to deserve connection at all. What’s going on?
At the root of all this pretense is SHAME, according to Dr. Brené Brown, a researcher and expert on this and related “messy” subjects, as she says, who uncovered this “Excruciating Vulnerability” during six years of research, writing her breakthrough Daring Greatly book ~ and her own painful experiences in the process.
This explains a lot about why we are so preoccupied with what others think. And how we look. Why we are afraid of being exposed, afraid of not being good enough, not worthy enough to be loved.
So how do we try to cope? “We numb ourselves,” says Dr. Brown.
We shut ourselves off. We put up walls to intimacy. We drown ourselves with “a couple of beers and a banana nut cupcake.” as Dr. Brown shares in her now infamous The Power of Vulnerability TED Talk.
Here are some common reaction blocks to vulnerability we need to become aware of, NOT continue:
1. We blame. Ourselves and others. Whether it’s an oil spill, a product recall, or an argument, we, as a culture, are quick to evade being accountable.
2. We perfect. We put “fat from our butts into our lips.” Spend tons on fashion and makeup, working out and trying to make ourselves look good, better.
3. We pretend. Everything is okay and we live in the greatest country in the world. Yet, we are the most in debt, obese, addicted, medicated adult culture in history. And in denial about it, as Dr. Brown points out. For more insight into this uncomfortable, but fixable situation, read my YourTango article: Addiction Pandemic: 7 Reasons Why We’re Addicted to Everything.
4. We numb out. We suppress or set the problems aside in order to function. Unfortunately, in the process, we shut down the flow of love and life. We know something just isn’t right, because we feel dissatisfied, unfulfilled, but we don’t know what to do.
5. Ironically, we try to control and manipulate, yet in our vain attempts, forget that having the perfect life is about letting go, being who we are, losing control.
“At the core of this vulnerability issue is our shame and fear and our struggle for worthiness, but it’s also the birthplace of our joy, belonging, creativity, connection,” says Dr. Brown. We can’t be selective with emotion without shutting ourselves off from life.
6. To be vulnerable is to be alive.
7. Strip away the fear, it’s all love underneath.
As Macklemore belted out in his winning Same Love at the 56th Grammies’s:
“……A world so hateful some would rather die than be who they are
And a certificate on paper isn't gonna solve it all
But it's a damn good place to start
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear
Underneath it's all the same love….”
8. This seems to be a tough one for us to get. Yet believe it or not, even a brilliant scientist like Einstein observed, "A human being is a part of the whole called by us “universe”. He/she experiences him/herself, thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of consciousness.
"This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." ~~ Albert Einstein, 1954
Sort of speaks to the dilemma of our time, doesn’t it? We want things to be a certain way, but then when they don’t happen like we want, we rather narrowly try to control or bend reality to our desires.
When that doesn’t work, we often tend to get discouraged. If we believe that we can’t change something or that we are a victim of our circumstances, we tend to avoid even thinking about it, and the masking continues. If we could just allow all the energies and let them flow, we might find ourselves plugged into life, liberated.
Let’s face it, Love is uncertainty. Being vulnerable to a lover or spouse implies a lack of control. Yet.. “We're never so vulnerable than when we trust someone, but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.” ― Frank Crane
9. “Vulnerability is really the only authentic state. Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty.” Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: