How much are you willing to share with others? To “let people in” and see the real you, who admits surfing through the waves life provides, sometimes struggling and some other times enjoying it to the maximum. It is not easy to choose vulnerability. Since we were children, many of us have been told to swallow up our tears and be strong no matter what. Well, guess what? Even if we try to be like superman, life will find many variations of kryptonite, not to simply torture us, but to help us evolve and turn into a better person. This all becomes way easier when we admit our weaknesses and strengths, willing to love both sides all of us have. So what if we are not perfect? It is not a requirement to qualify as a human being who deserves to be loved.
When I became a teenager and got into having crushes on boys, my cousins, who hung out with me a lot and were in their late teens, told me to never trust boys. They always repeated that boys would hurt us no matter what. Yet I saw them also having crushes and going out with boyfriends. That got me confused… “So, they are telling me to avoid boys but they themselves are all over them?”, I thought. I couldn’t help but get into crushes also and have a few relationships in those teenage years. However, one thing they taught me was fear. I feared getting hurt by boys, those mean guys who had no feelings and we chose to date them anyway because we just couldn’t help it… With fear dominating and teen crushes rushing through me, I made the decision to have a few experiences but keeping my heart mostly closed. Who likes to suffer anyway? I thought if I didn’t let people know me very deeply, I’d avoid getting hurt. Well, I’ve learned that it can reduce the suffering while also reducing how much love and joy you can feel. Having had a father who was absent throughout most of my life (my divorced parents had me go to my grandma’s house every weekend, when my dad was supposed to come see me, but he’d only visit about 5-7 times a year) only reinforced to me that boys do hurt girls. Especially when it starts with your own father. I want to make it clear here that I hold no grudge against my dad as I’ve come to understand this was a necessary part of my growth (and his, too).
Those weekends at my grandmother’s house were painful, as I have mentioned before in another post. One reason was that I had to say no to friends’ invitations to go have fun at their places only to sit at my grandma’s house with adults only and nothing to do. My most helpful occupation, besides studying, was a playful dog she had. Another reason for disliking those weekend visits was leaving my mother’s side of the family at home to go to this other house, only familiar to me for two days a week, and yet not familiar at all… On Saturday nights, I’d miss my mother’s hug when tucking me into bed and the connection I had with her parents, who lived with us, and seemed to always be there for me. One terrible reason I hated going there also was remembered by me recently: my uncle, who also lived at my grandma’s house, tried to abuse me. From what I remember, he didn’t go that far to scar me in a deeper way, but did shine brighter lights on all the warnings I had received against boys and men in general… And so, I hardened my heart even more.
Many years later, after much soul searching and experiences, I have decided to keep my heart open. Every single day. I will be honest: Sometimes it hurts so much that I question my decision, but then I continue to do so, and I don’t regret it. I truly believe my experience here on Earth has become richer after this decision. I am this incredible being living a human experience, which involves it all – dark and light, and the other expressions of duality. Learning to not get attached to either extreme is not easy, yet it is motivating to reaffirm to myself everything is transient. My point here is that, even though I learned from early in life that it’d be safer to keep my heart closed, there’s always time in life to choose the opposite and live from an open heart; inviting new people into our relations and being available to the lessons they bring, while being willing to share what’s going on with you on the inside, willing to be vulnerable and admitting to being as imperfect as any other human being. Well, sure it may hurt a lot sometimes, but it will also bring many feelings (such as love) in amplified ways, helping me embrace both spectrums of life experiences.
This post started taking form after I read these passages from the book A Return to Love, by Marianne Williamson:
“Having been taught since we were children that we are separate, finite beings, we have a very hard time when it comes to love. Love feels like a void that threatens to overwhelm us, and that’s because, in a certain sense, it is and it does. It overwhelms our small self, our lonely sense of separateness since that sense of separateness is who we think we are, we feel like we’ll die without it. What’s dying is the frightened mind, so the love inside us can get a chance to breathe.”
“Our comfort zones are the limited areas in which we find it easy to love.”