Learning to Be Vulnerable

I was once someone that would read relationship advice articles scoffing at what were commonly myths and misconceptions of how romantic love works. I was a teenager anyway; and we all know that teenagers are authorities in all topics under the sun. I watched too much television, smuggled home a few erotic fictional novels, read too many unimportant magazines, eavesdropped on many adult conversations and ‘dabbled’ with a few adult films (do not judge me). I was a witness to the expiration of marriages within my extended family that did not conform to all the abstract ideas of romance I collected over those few years. In my early 20s all that naivety of childhood turned into complete distrust for anything remotely to do with emotions, and ‘oh boy’ did I wreak havoc with that kind of ignorance. I cannot detail every encounter and mistake I have made over the years, but I have managed to compile it all into two of my favorite quotations. I am no expert at love, but I am a witness.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” –Rumi
We are mammals. The very need for procreation is explosively triggered at puberty. Then again we are an intelligent species that can choose when to procreate, with whom and while others choose not to. Basically we are driven by our psyche to seek out a mate, something we call dating, flings and institutions such as engagement, marriage or domestic partnerships. With each failed attempt at those desired attributes of relationships I begun to question my ability to find a soulmate. I desperately tried serial dating, online dating just to fill that void that was intended for love and companionship. Then when I was hopeless I came up with a subliminal list of my ideal mate. STOP poking around (pun intended) for love already. It is not a person(s) to be found, it is something that was built in us. Instead of developing a list of my ideal soulmate, I started making a list of the kind of a soulmate I would want to be. I got rid of my low self-esteem, vigorously confronted bipolar disorder, fought off an alcohol addiction, confronted my childhood disillusionments and found a spiritual source of continued growth. When you finally start figuring yourself out to understand what drives you, you’ll be surprised how easily it is to be drawn to someone that intrinsically suits you.  However even after conscious effort you should ‘stop looking for a soulmate and start looking for someone you are willing to spend the rest of your life making your soulmate.’ Being vulnerable in love is a far greater strength that building a fort to guard your heart. Love works as a season, sometimes you are hopelessly in love and other times you are hopeless with love. 

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.’ – Alfred Lord Tennyson
A lot of times I was duped into trying to resuscitate a past relationship. The ex-girlfriend ‘syndrome’ is whereby I tried to reverse bygone relationships or tried to kindle a spark in what was a fling. It’s usually our first instinct to try make it right where we went wrong in the past, thus we negate the common sense that we cannot reverse seasons; we are powerless over our history. Therapy and experience has taught me the past must never occupy our minds for eternity. The same way I consider an ex was crazy, there’s a past where I was absolutely that crazy ex. I have been a pathological liar, a cheat and a drunk in the past. Past relationships must remain in the past, trying to rekindle the flame is like trying to start a fire with ashes; there’s simply no kindling to reignite the flame. Making amends is your catharsis if you really need to clean up your past. Trust me, once in a while I meet an ex-girlfriend and shiver at the memory of the horrifying person I used to be. Making amends has worked wonders for me. It opened up the opportunity of getting into a relationship without keeping secretly in touch with an ex. These amends last a lifetime, so don’t rush it as the right time will always present itself.

PS: The picture above is from the day I got engaged to my soulmate to be.

Read the rest of Denis’s posts here

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