Love-Life Tip: Tolerate Vulnerability

The biggest problem with love is our tendency to avoid the feeling of vulnerability. The way we (humans) do that is to construct defenses to protect ourselves from the discomfort and expected dangers of vulnerability. To be vulnerable is to be open and receptive to what comes from the world and from inside of ourselves.

Problem is, open and receptive to what exactly? We’d all like to think we can regulate this open state of mind and heart so that only love and good things enter. Unfortunately that is not possible. To be ‘open hearted’ is to be open to what can enrich and what can hurt. Thankfully we can heal. If not, none of us would love for very long.

The closed defensive heart does not feel the hurts of disappointed love. Instead, the closed heart suffers the effects of disconnection and loneliness over time. The type of defenses that people can use to control the effects of love and close the heart to hurt are endless. Any thought, feeling, or action can be commissioned for a defensive purpose. If you’ve been hurt in your life and that hurt has not healed, you are probably using defenses to prevent any further hurt. You might not even know what they are at this point. You’ve used them for so long they’ve become a part of your usual way of life.

If you are tired of being alone and living with a closed heart, if you feel it is time for a change, you can practice tolerating more vulnerability in your life. Pick a few situations where you might do something different. Something less defensive, something where you can take a tolerable risk. Something involving your emotions might be a good place to start. Do something unexpected and spontaneous. Something that allows you to feel more loving toward yourself and others. Something that allows you to feel more alive in the present moments of your life.

This practice will be an effort to loosen up your routine defensive way of living. Moments of vulnerability can become more and more tolerable and as a consequence you’ll be more and more receptive to love. If this kind of thing is too scary, hire a professional person to support your efforts to change, but stay in charge. Work specifically toward opening your heart and ridding yourself of anything that blocks that from happening. Remember, no matter how defensive you’ve become in your life, you are still (and will always be) the ‘owner and operator’ of your mind and body.  Dr. T. Jordan




Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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  1. Caley on June 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    Your answer shows real intellgience.

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