Is this what being vulnerable feels like?
I often think of my life as book. Milestones represent the beginning of new chapters and each chapter carries it’s own theme.
accepting my flaws…
trusting others in relationship…
These have all been themes for me in 2016. Turning the chapter on another year one specific song has been stuck in my mind for the last few weeks.
For so many years I really tried to keep my heart closed to people around me. I saw my flaws and thought that meant I was incapable of being both known AND loved. A few specific experiences and relationships built up a false belief that the more I was know the less I was loved.
When you feel this way vulnerability becomes extremely scary. For me I try to convince myself that if I try hard enough I can clean the fingerprints on the surface of who I am. When that stops working I try and hide these smudges so others don’t see them.
This can lead to a lot of loneliness, fear, and anxiety. There’s always one question rattling around in my head:
“If I’m fully known will I still be fully loved?”
There’s so much to unpack in this…so much outside of my control. The thing I’ve realized though is that before I can learn to trust others to love me I have to do two things.
First, I have to accept God’s unconditional love. There’s no relationship in the world that prepares us for this! No matter how well we’re loved by anyone on this earth we can always mess this up. No relationship is unbreakable. But God promises that He fully sees us and fully loves us.
Second, I have to learn to love myself. This is such a new and beautiful concept to me. I don’t really understand it yet. I just know that a huge part of me being healthy in my relationships with others is due to me feeling that even though I’m flawed I’m still worthy of love.
I want to risk being vulnerable. I want to be more ok letting people see the parts of me that aren’t all bright and shiny. I want to be free of fear that someone will see the hard parts of my story.
A year from now I hope I can look back on 2017 and say I chose to be vulnerable. I hope that I make choices to let people see me and chose to love me instead of presenting the version of myself I think they want.
I want to be authentic, real, and see what happens. I think this is the only way to truly feel loved.