I walked into a networking lunch last week not too concerned about walking into a room full of strangers, until I met the leader of the meeting. He is a very attractive man. I decided that regardless of anything else, I could enjoy my eye candy during the lunch and it would be time well spent.
At the end of the meeting, he expressed interest in meeting up to learn more about yoga and meditation. I’m starting to get the hang of this new face of networking, where people learn about each other without overtly selling themselves, so his intentions weren’t exactly clear. I appreciated the opportunity to converse with him again and totally looked forward to connecting with him.
We met up a few days later and it became clear that we were both attracted to each other. Next came the vulnerability; that butterflies in the stomach feeling of being exposed. It is daunting to share your most intimate details with someone so they can decide if they want to get to know you better or not. It is an opportunity for rejection like no other. I am so thankful that I can see it for what it is. In the past, I wanted to ease the vulnerability by connecting with the other person, but now, I see its purpose and I’m sitting with it.
Vulnerability is the gateway to love. It is that feeling that you decide to push through, or runaway from. There are no guarantees. You can push through it only to discover that the relationship isn’t meant to be. So many lessons can come from connecting with another, and many times the lessons need the attraction to push you into the situations you can learn from. There is no way that a casual friendship can bring out the vulnerability needed for deep growth. Most of us desperately want a good relationship so badly, and we have the expectation that that’s what attraction will lead us to. We blindly focus on what we want; ignoring all the amazing lessons the connection is trying to show us.
I’m not doing that this time. I am dedicated to honoring the process. This feeling of vulnerability has given me the opportunity to choose to let love in. Love may or may not be waiting on the other side of vulnerability, but it certainly isn’t hiding out next to fear and isolation. Consciously honoring my feelings is what I’m looking to do. I know what it feels like to shut people out. I know what it feels like to let people in and have them take advantage of it. I know what it feels like to let someone in, and enjoy the amazing feeling of love and connection, only to experience a devastating loss later on.
If I’ve gotten to that place in life where my lessons come from being deeply connected to someone, then I’ll happily walk down that path. If I’m still at the point where my lessons come from an earlier stage in the process, then I accept that too. I no longer believe in happily ever after. I no longer want happily ever after. I equate happily ever after to stagnation. I want to keep growing and expanding and learning, and being content does not foster growth. I’ll take the ups and downs of a connection that pushes me to be a better version of myself over one that lets me stagnate where I am.
Time will tell what this connection has to offer me. If nothing else, it has helped me remember that this feeling exists and it is the start of a potentially deep connection. Cheers to vulnerability and hoping my awareness of it brings me that much closer to the best version of myself.