What to do if you want to be loved
"If we want the rewards of being loved, we have to submitto the mortifying ordeal of being known." Tim Kreider
I was sitting with a handful of people recently and one person was pouring out her heart about a disappointment. Things weren't going well at home and she was struggling with a flood of conflicting emotions.
I watched the dynamic of people interacting with her and was struck by the comfort they offered. By way of support, many expressed understanding, told stories of their struggles, and communicated how this woman was not alone. However, in the middle of the conversation, there was one person (let's call her Zoe since I've never met a Zoe) who just wouldn't (couldn't?) engage in the conversation in any depth.
All Zoe could say was how well things were going for her.
You could practically watch Zoe's barriers go up as others shared their struggles: doors slammed, windows closed. It's as if Zoe were saying..
"There's nothing to see here!"
Ironically, this only showed how much Zoe had to hide. I've seen her do this before, and I am both sad and wildly uncomfortable when it happens. I can't help but be concerned about the depths of her relationships.
Vulnerability is challenging for everyone, but it's essential for experiencing love. If you want to know how deeply loved you are, you have to be fully known. You have to risk exposure.
One of my favorite writers, Tim Keller, articulates the principle beautifully: “Love is not a vat that you fall into randomly. Love is saying I see everything about you, good and bad, and I am still committed to you.”
I wish you, me, all of us together an extra measure of courage. While vulnerability comes with risks, it is also what makes love possible.