Lesson #1 here. Lesson #2 here.
Lesson #3 Embracing the ‘V’ Word
Get your mind out of the gutter, guys. The ‘V’ word I’m talking about here is Vulnerability. Did anyone have some kind of physical reaction just from seeing this word? For me, this word makes my stomach churn. After so many failed relationships, it was way easier to put up a guard.
In the last couple of years, I only allowed myself to be in casual relationships, or relationships that I knew had no future. This way, I could still keep my guard. I didn’t have to be exposed to potentially being heartbroken, since I knew the relationships weren’t going to work out anyway.
But you know what happens when you keep your guard up? Sure, I managed to block out the ‘hurt’, but it also meant that the positive stuff got blocked out. My guard prevented me from melting when the men I dated showered me with compliments. It stopped me from spending the night cuddled up in their arms. And the biggest thing – it stopped me from opening up my heart and letting love in.
When a friend suggested that perhaps I should try being “vulnerable”, I almost threw up. Really – it felt like she had just punched me in the gut. No – actually, it felt worse. It was like she reached down to my guts and pulled the whole damn thing out! Being vulnerable? This word was never ever in my dictionary. How the hell does a person be vulnerable? I decided to ask the internet, and that was pretty much the question I typed into google. A TED talk by Brene Brown came up. By the way if you guys haven’t seen it, you totally should.
She describes vulnerability as the willingness to say, “I love you” first… the willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.
Yikes. Another punch in the gut. I hated the sound of all of it.
But the truth is… here I was, wanting to be in love.. and so I thought to myself: if this V word is the key, then I’ll freakin’ try it out.
And I did.
The first thing I did was sign up to an online dating site. It was one of those real deal we-help-you-find-true-love dating sites where you had to pay and answer like a hundred questions.
Now, to some of you that might not seem like a big deal. But for me – someone who takes pride in showing the world that she’s tough and doesn’t need love – this was equivalent to admitting defeat. Hello, vulnerability!
I didn’t find love via an online dating site. (You can read about how I found love here if you haven’t already). But it played a huge part in helping me embrace the V word, and that’s what led me to finding love.
When I tell people the story of how I asked my boyfriend out, the common response is “Wow, you’re so brave!”
I can assure you that it wasn’t bravery. It was vulnerability – the willingness to put myself out there, despite knowing that there’s a chance I might get rejected. And boy am I glad I took that risk!
So what about you guys – where are you at with embracing the V word?
I love the idea! So true… But regardless of age or gender, vulnerability involves risk of rejection and shame, I’m still struggling with this from time to time. Yet, I know that when embracing it genuinely, man.. What it pays off!!!
This was the hardest part of dating for me after my divorce, and now that I also added a dead-end two year relationship to the mix, I’m feeling quite scared about letting my guard down again. But it’s good to know that people break through that and find love!