Love is a risk we all take.
It’s a gamble on our heart—and on someone else’s heart.
It’s a chance to crack ourselves open and expose our messiest, darkest, most traumatized and shattered and fragile parts.
To love is to find the courage to face vulnerability—our own and the vulnerability of the one we love.
When I struggle to find this courage, this vulnerability, I turn to the words of Brené Brown. She reminds me that love and vulnerability are a matched pair, that one cannot exist without the other.
When we are facing the highs and lows of love and heartbreak and the brutal risk of sharing our world with someone else, her words can give us comfort, courage, and tough love:
1. “Staying vulnerable is a risk we have to take if we want to experience connection.”
2. “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.”
3. “We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, be loved, and to belong. When those needs are not met, we don’t function as were meant to be. We break. We fall apart. We numb. We ache…The absence of love and belonging will always lead to suffering.”
4. “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart.”
5. “To love someone fiercely, to believe in something with your whole heart, to celebrate a fleeting moment in time, to fully engage in a life that doesn’t come with guarantees—these are risks that involve vulnerability and often pain. But, I’m learning that recognizing and leaning into the discomfort of vulnerability teaches us how to live with joy, gratitude, and grace.”
6. “Just because someone isn’t willing or able to love us, it doesn’t mean that we are unlovable.”
7. “Those who feel lovable, who love, and who experience belonging simply believe they are worthy of love and belonging. I often say that Wholeheartedness is like the North Star: We never really arrive, but we certainly know if we’re headed in the right direction.”
8. “C. S. Lewis captured this so beautifully in one of my favorite quotes of all time: To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”