Well… I don’t disagree with this quote, but my concern about it is how people in unhealthy situations might twist it to justify their own mistreatment. If by “vulnerable,” we’re talking about being genuinely concerned for your well-being, constantly feeling like shit, etc. — no, that is not the kind of amazing love we’re talking about. Neither are we talking about situations where someone is trying to gradually manipulate their way into your affections, making you second-guess yourself; that’s another situation where you can feel “vulnerable” but not at all because there’s love involved.
In healthy connections though, with partners who respect you, where there is incredibly deep mutual love, people let the walls down. And the deeper and more powerful the love, the more they do this. They’re not trying to be “sensible.” They’re not trying to be composed. They’re not trying to be tough. They’re not wearing any masks. They drop their guard. The love that floods in is like a powerful wave that won’t be held back by any rickety old structures, so those get washed away at first contact.
In those circumstances, once we have had a moment to reflect on what just happened, we can feel terrified to realize we’ve been rendered vulnerable. But — and here’s the part that’s very important to remember — it’s not because anybody forced anything on us or played a trick; we only feel so vulnerable because WE have let love in. WE have allowed our old defenses to crumble.
It’s like the lyrics from that Snow Patrol song (“Just Say Yes”): ”Just say ‘yes.’ Just say there’s nothin’ holdin’ you back. It’s not a test nor a trick of the mind — only love.”
People’s first instinct when they feel vulnerable is to put their defenses back in place, get skeptical, question what they’ve found. But it’s not a trick. It’s not a lie.
We are vulnerable because we have fallen in love. And THAT kind of love was — is — real.
That’s how I understand this quote.
Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere…
From the article:
An emerging field of psychology called post-traumatic growth is suggesting that many people are able to use their hardships and early-life trauma for substantial creative growth. Specifically, researchers have found that trauma can help people to grow in the areas of interpersonal relationships, spirituality, appreciation of life, personal strength, and — most importantly for creativity — seeing new possibilities in life.
"A lot of people are able to use that as the fuel they need to come up with a different perspective on reality," says Kaufman. "What’s happened is that their view of the world as a safe place, or as a certain type of place, has been shattered at some point in their life, causing them to go on the periphery and see things in a new, fresh light, and that’s very conducive to creativity."
Took an aimless walk today and noticed I was feeling mildly depressed. I wasn’t sure precisely why, but I think I can blame it largely on the two consecutive late nights I’ve had this weekend (roommate’s birthday party Friday night, and a friend’s 4-year Chinaversary last night). Lack of sleep tends to mess with my brain chemistry quickly. My walk took me down Fuzhou Lu, Shanghai’s “Culture Street,” lined with bookstores and stationery shops. I popped into the Shanghai Foreign Language Bookstore, looking for direction.
On a table towards the back, there were a bunch of novels by Coelho. Coelho’s books The Alchemist and Eleven Minutes were life-changingly insightful for me, back when I read them about four years ago. I picked up Eleven Minutes and opened to a random line, wondering what I should know about how discouraging the circumstances of my life have felt lately.
The page I opened to happened to be about concepts of pain and gain and how pain is just one sign that we’re making great strides. I’m not a believer in the idea of pain-as-a-necessity, but it was timely to read that. I read a few paragraphs further however and was delighted to see that the novel also included “advice” of sorts, on how to lift your spirits. What was the secret?
Whenever she got depressed or scared, Maria, the protagonist, would think about her love. With gratitude, she would fill with that sense of love and reflect on what a gift it is to love without expectations. She would also fill with gratitude at the simple fact that her love existed and what a blessing he was himself.
I smiled when I read this. I forgot this passage.
So for what it’s worth, for all of you, I share again.
It’s very true: the energy of love and the power of gratitude can change your life. Don’t get stuck in depression or wrapped up in your own pain. If you have ever loved unconditionally, this in itself is a blessing. Smile. Be grateful. Reflect on that love for a moment and allow its energy to grow within your heart, to overflow, and to radiate from you. Let it ripple through the worlds. It will do amazing things.
The questions to ask yourself are, do you believe that you can be loved, wholly and unconditionally? That one of the paths to the divine which is available to mankind is by walking the path of love? That we can truly see our own soul in another? That there exists a love which demands nothing at all and only wants that we, ourselves, recognize that we are whole and healed? A love that is not about sacrifice or hard lessons or proving yourself, but rather one that shows you just how perfect you always were? A love that allows you to truly and directly connect with yourself, rather than one that demands karmic dances with “others”? A love where you are already home, rather than a love where you go looking for that place or seeking to build a “home” with another individual?
As I see it, those are the questions that have been helpful for me to ask myself. Not whether “twin souls” or “twin flames” are “real,” but whether they should be. The love the mystics spoke of, where lover and Beloved are one in the same, and one with “God.”
One of the most commonly overlooked spiritual practices is daring to be completely honest with everyone you encounter. Some may say others cannot handle the grace of honesty, but true honesty is not a strategy or a weapon of any kind. It is the willingness to be open and absolutely transparent in sharing how any moment feels in your heart. It has nothing to do with confrontation, accusation, or any form of blame. True honesty is the willingness to stand completely exposed, allowing the world to do what it may, and say what it will, only so you may know who you are – beyond all ideas.
Feelings such as shame, guilt, doubt, envy, anger, and resentment arise whenever we have prevented ourselves from speaking our deepest truths, or withheld a depth of sincerity from being shared with others. With nothing to withhold or hide, the truth is spoken freely – at no one’s expense. The truth contains no form of blame or judgment. Instead, it celebrates how intimately you know yourself by how open and available you’re willing to be. Knowing this, life’s deepest wisdom always remains the same: you’ll feel better when you’re totally honest.
This is why honesty is also the ultimate healing modality. Honesty is the absence of avoidance, no matter what situation appears. Inevitably, life transforms when the value of honesty is no longer dominated by an attachment to convenience or the threat of rejection.
When honesty is regarded as your highest value and acted upon with kindness and compassion in every personal encounter, you invite the precision of life’s inherent perfection into all areas of life. In doing so, every relationship and circumstance transforms at the rate in which true sincerity of heart leads the way. This reveals life’s natural way of being, which cannot be known on the deepest level until you’re being completely honest.
- Matt Kahn
Honesty as “the ultimate healing modality.” Resurrecting this quote because I like it, and it’s important. :)
Well, this really depends on where you are with it all and whether you already perceive any sort of distance.
First of all, it’s always important to remind ourselves that no one can read our minds. No matter how close they are to us, or how intuitive/empathic they are, there are some elements of the human experience that others in our lives can’t touch, can’t enter, unless we invite them into these alongside us; and even then, they won’t always pick up on all the nuances.
So, if you care about your connection with anyone at all, it’s important to remember that the most loving, aware, respectful, and adult approach to “saving” the connection is to be open and honest about your experiences within it. Not turn your back, not let them drift (or push them) away, but speak up about whatever is troubling you. Because a lot of people have the idea that, “IF YOU REALLY LOVE ME, YOU WILL JUST KNOW WHAT YOU DID WRONG!” Similarly, a lot of people react with, “THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE, AND YOU SHOULD REALIZE IT ALL ON YOUR OWN, SO I HAVE NO INTEREST IN EVEN TRYING TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT IT.”
But, no — that’s false, and that’s the ego simply being defensive. And if you know the person to be caring with genuinely good intentions, they can almost certainly handle — and would respect and be appreciative of — hearing your lovingly, gently, and calmly expressed opinion.
Healthy relationships, of any kind, take mutual work. And the Golden Rule of Preschool applies and pretty much summarizes a huge portion of this “work.” What is that?
"Use your words."
And remember the other golden rule of relationship communication: ”I statements.” While your intention may be exactly the same, regardless of the words you choose, the fact is that people feel less attacked when you phrase things with a self-focus rather than a “you”-focus. For instance, “When you said (X), I felt hurt” or “I’m a person who really needs a lot of alone time” tend to work better than, “You said something hurtful” or “You demand too much of my attention when I’m trying to just have some quiet time alone.”
So those are some pointers for broaching a discussion. But you should ask yourself, what is it that makes you worried the connection will die in the first place?
Are you feeling disappointed by this person in some way lately? If so, then it’s appropriate to talk to them about what you used to be “getting” from the relationship that you no longer feel is as forthcoming, and then give them an opportunity to explain where they were coming from. And be willing to trust their answer.
Are you feeling hurt by this person in some way? Then it’s appropriate to tell them that you feel hurt once you’ve given them a chance to state their own position (because perhaps they never meant to hurt you, and if you let them speak their mind/heart, you will realize that and be able to let go of the pain and get back to peace pretty quickly and easily). Despite our best intentions, we say and do things on occasion that are disrespectful to our own selves, and to our own families, so it’s no surprise that this also sometimes happens within other kinds of connections as well. Sometimes it’s stress, sometimes it’s fear, sometimes it’s misplaced frustration, sometimes it is literally nothing more than an entirely genuine misunderstanding, but whatever it is, it’s part of being human, and depending on how much love and mutual regard is actually there, it can often be fixed.
Again, it’s important to ask yourself, did you ever, in an adult fashion, communicate any of your discontent? In a direct, adult manner? Once, for example, an ex thought I was calling him “fat” because he mis-heard me when I said the word “fact” and was offended. But if he’d never eventually told me he was hurt, I’d have had no idea, and he’d have continued to believe that I was trying to be insensitive, and I’d have continued to have had absolutely no idea what was wrong or why he made a weird face at me and started acting distant thereafter… and we would never have resolved that.
Or are you feeling dismissed by the person? In that case, you can take a two-step approach: give them some time/space (days, weeks, whatever feels most right to you) to do their own thing, and if they take no initiative to reach out to you in the mean time, you can check in to see if they’re doing alright and then offer them the chance to tell you what’s been going on and why there might be a distance. Here, the ball is really in their court.
Relationships are easier to heal with people who are used to engaging in open and honest communication, but sometimes you will encounter people who haven’t had as much practice with this, and in the case of these people, you may have to give them a very direct opportunity and invitation to state how they’re feeling. Especially if they come from a family or a culture where honesty is considered disrespectful and communication about differences is considered confrontational — they may be uncomfortable with initiating or engaging in honest dialogue and/or be likely to leave things unsaid until they reach an “I can’t take this anymore” point where it’s much harder to fix — which sucks, and isn’t the healthiest way or the way most conducive to happy, healthy, stable, lasting relationships, but if that’s their pattern and you haven’t been notified ahead of time that they were unhappy, there’s really nothing you can retroactively do, and you can’t blame yourself for it.
Also, be ready for the fact that they may have things to tell you that have made them unhappy too. Just because one person usually reaches a “can’t keep dealing with this anymore” threshold first, the truth is that friction isn’t a one-party phenomenon, and the other person may have been sitting with some things that they’ve been hurt by or unhappy about as well. And they have every right to tell you these things, and it is important to remind yourself at such point that whatever it is that they have to say is not necessarily, in any way, “retaliation” for whatever you might have shared about your own feelings.
For example, if you tell your loved one, “I’ve been feeling unsupported lately within this relationship” and they talk about that with you but then eventually also confess to you that they’ve been feeling, say, used in turn, consider that they may be telling the truth, not trying to burden you with the question of “how to fix this,” strike out at you, or give you any sort of guilt complex. It’s very possible that, when one person’s been unhappy with some detail(s) or other, the other person’s had their own dissatisfactions also. Even though one may initiate a dialogue about it first. And even though one may have had a higher threshold of patience / forgiveness for whatever sleights / disappointments they’d been abiding.
All of this said, if you’ve stated clearly the fact that you value this person, stated clearly the fact that you value your connection, stated clearly the fact that you have a sincere interest in hearing whatever might be troubling them regarding your connection (if and whenever they might have happened to start feeling differently), then there’s not much more that you can do. Because all relationships are a two-way street. All you can provide is love, respect, honesty, patience, and an openness to genuine dialogue. But if the other party is not willing or able to put in equal amounts of any of those things on their own part, all you can do is just let them know that you’re still willing to leave a door open to healing and wish them well as you let them continue with their own process.
Finally, keep in mind: if the person you care about has a personality disorder, open, honest, constructive communication can be very difficult, if not impossible at certain times. Some signs that they may be suffering from a personality disorder: if you feel at all unsafe about talking to them, if you feel like you need to walk on eggshells to pick the “right” time and the absolute “perfect” words to say lest there be some colossally negative fall-out, etc.
The Key Points:
I hope this helps, Anon! If not though, or if your own concerns were more concentrated on a specific kind of dynamic, feel free to write back, and I’ll do my best to address that kind of scenario.
Wishing you peace, love, and healthy relationships. :)
Healing is not about fixing what is broken. It’s about furthering one’s self-knowledge, waking up to the truth of what one is. As such, healing naturally happens on its own, but this doesn’t mean that you have no reason to bother with focusing healing efforts with intention. If you feel inclined to work on healing something within yourself, DO, by all means, go ahead! But with joy. With a spirit of self-discovery. Not a spirit of dread (like, “If I don’t fix this, I will suffer consequences.”), or with self-recrimination (as in, “I can’t believe I allowed this to happen.”), but with a sense of excitement. Openness. NON-JUDGMENTAL OPENNESS. Detachment. Be detached from your wounds. Look at them like uncharted territory. For in a sense, that’s really what they are.
You see, all of the experiences you designed for your life are rich, SO rich, that, sometimes, it takes many Earth years for you to unpack all of the “gifts” contained therein, unlock all of the beautifully liberating revelations. If a life experience leaves you wounded – for hours, days, DECADES, even centuries, and you realize your soul is still not finished with processing whatever effect the experience has wrought – this is not a sign of failure on your part! If it takes a long time to heal, that’s exactly how it was supposed to be! You have all the time in the world! Time does not exist!
Granted, if you get a sense that some healing needs to take place, you have the choice; will you address it, or will you leave it alone? You can choose either. You will not “ruin” anything by overlooking it, or deciding to prioritize, instead, other experiences. For instance, you could give yourself reiki… or maybe you could enjoy a nice cup of tea. Call a friend. Feed the cats. Take the dog for a walk. Go to work. It doesn’t matter because the healing will happen in perfect time, exactly when it’s meant to.
However, taking steps towards healing – with intention – is a journey of self-discovery. It’s a chance to explore something deeper within yourself. Go within. Explore. If you pass up a chance to work on your healing, you’re not harming yourself, truly; you’re just bypassing, in the moment, an opportunity for self-discovery. Self-knowledge. And self-knowledge is empowerment.
This is why your healing efforts aren’t in vain. No matter how long you think the process is taking. Even though, eventually, all wounds do have a way of healing “on their own,” you still can expect beautiful experiences to result when you actively work on channeling loving attention and intention to what you perceive as your injuries. A wound is always an invitation to explore yourself.
It’s similar with healing you direct toward anyone else; there is no one else. It’s all you. The healing energy you direct toward them – even if that energy is in the form of compassionate conversation, or practical assistance during another’s recovery (It doesn’t have to be all esoteric and intangible! All is energy, and all are healing efforts!) – will assist in the awakening and healing of all that is. And you will be exploring and discovering and empowering yourself and the All that you are, all the same.