“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love nor joy.” ~ Walter Anderson
What is it about relationships that make it so hard to maintain? And before you come in and say “Hey no! Its real easy!” Take a look at the number of real friends who you know you can count on when the going gets tough. Even with your family, or your partner – can you really count on them if you are in need of support? Or are they just going to drown out your inner voice? For a soul-seeking individual like me, the aspect of vulnerability within relationships is fascinating. All kinds of relationships – involved with your friends, romantic partners, and also your familial ties. These distinct connections that are so vastly different in their forms, but also of equal importance, yet so underrated. However all of these have the one aspect in common: the simple matter of an exchange of social conversation.
Communication. So powerful, isn’t it? You can communicate through texts, e-mails, voice calls, video calls, in a large group on a public space – the list is endless! Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype – what would we do without these apps that make our day-to-day lives so much more easier… And yet also busier?
I believe that the power of communication is taken for granted. There’s more to any relationship than asking how life is going and what the weather is like. It can be made up of simple discussions, and complicated arguments – but the value of vulnerability within all this has the potential to change the way a relationship is going; in both a positive and negative light. You don’t want to be taken for granted, yet neither do you want to be holding up so many walls that you don’t let anyone in.
One of the hardest things to see for children I believe is to see your parents cry, where they feel so helpless about a certain situation. That ache that spreads across your chest, because sometimes as children you’re equally helpless – but that sort of exposure draws you both closer, doesn’t it? Sometimes just holding your loved one close in their time of need emphasises both your physical and mental support. Remember, vulnerability is not weak, its human. It’s not taboo, its honest. You’ve just got to know the right time to bring your guard down, and sometimes if you have good instinct you can use that to aid in this thought process. But in this difficult world of ours where its tough to even find a little humanity, who has the time to open up and be vulnerable?
So what happens then to us? It’s a constant race, to be the most popular, to fit in the best, to find the right job, make the most money – investing into relationships become a lower priority on your list. The dejecting part about this is that they then become lost memories slowly fading away into your past. Before you know it, you’re 45 with a high-flying successful job, and no one to share this happiness with. I don’t mean in a romantic sense, this can even just be with the aspect of family and friends.
So why does this happen? Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist from the US suggests that at the age of 20-25 most people will either want to become famous or make a lot of money, and that’s how you have the potential to lose out on life. (To view more information on this study take a look at the link below – a short video which enhances the importance of positive and healthy relationships). This doesn’t mean that you invest into all relationships and forget about everything else in life! It just means that you should allow yourself to take time off to invest into your relationships; all of them. Of course there’ll be incidences when you fight, or don’t get along. Cut out the negative people from your life – don’t let them burn your bridge to happiness.
One of my favourite quotes which I would like to share with you all:
There isn’t time — so brief is life — for bickerings, apologies, heartburnings, callings to account. There is only time for loving — and but an instant, so to speak, for that. ~ Mark Twain
So what if you got jealous of your best friend hanging out with someone else? Tell them. Be vulnerable, and expose your flaws – there’s so much beauty in your imperfection. Also, your other friend-half will possibly only feel more loved. 🙂 There’s no point discussing an issue you have with anyone else, except for with the person you have concerns with. And what if you really like that girl in your workplace? Tell her. Vulnerability is incredibly hard and scary, but it opens up for so many more possibilities, that can truly lead to positive and healthy relationships. And if things don’t work out, move on. Apologise if need be, or tell someone you’re feeling hurt as a cause of their actions, because sometimes you’re not the one at fault, and you just want to let it go. Don’t let your one wave after another of emotions cloud over your brain so much that you over think everything (like me 😛 ). In a relationship, it goes two ways – and sometimes you have to put in more effort one way before expecting to receive it back, and that’s okay.
Take a look at the TED talk from below; one of my favourites and worth a watch!
I’m not going to say “What have you got to lose?” as perhaps there is the potential to lose out on a fair amount when you’re vulnerable, and I know its scary and definitely not easy. Just don’t be so fearful or filled with pride that you lose out completely. 🙂