You can read Part I here: When you Meet Someone who’s afraid to Love.
The door slammed shut as the stranger gave up on his excruciating path to love.
I had this aspiration that he was going to be brave; he was going to step into discomfort because that was part of growing and relinquishing control.
He was using control as a security blanket, a way to armor himself against deep feelings. But why was it so hard for him to remove that shield he had put upon his heart?
I think, as humans, we have some kind of control over our lives, whether it’s structuring our time, sticking to a routine, or developing habits that are aligned with our goals. Just as we realize we are in control, we feel stuck in the familiarity of it all. So we decide to try something new, we tackle a new activity, we pursue a relationship, or we give a new music genre a chance.
In every one of those moments, our mind is stressed and we work on finding reasons to procrastinate and do something more familiar. Once we fight against it and realize that the best results are beyond our comfort zone, it is then that we are brave.
We are brave when we have a fear of public speaking and we stand in front of a crowd to give our best man speech. We are the center of attention; everyone is listening to our words and judging our competence. What we fear is the control we are giving others—the control of their thoughts about us. So we’d rather stay silent, low, and not give anyone the chance to control their opinions about us.
We are brave when we have a fear of rejection but develop a profound connection with our partners. We are susceptible, our actions show how deeply we care, and we don’t have the upper hand. What we fear is the control we are giving our lover—the control that might get our hearts stomped. So we’d rather have brief encounters, no commitments, and never be close to anyone worthy.
“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.” ~ Brené Brown
The hardest choices we make are the ones that require true vulnerability. Those are the ones that challenge us and make us brave. Those are the ones that strengthen us a little bit at a time. Those are the ones that make us human.
Maybe it is within the losses that he will find gratitude for all that has stayed. Maybe it is after the darkened journey that he will actually appreciate the warmth that was bestowed upon him.
Maybe all of this will help him understand that everything he has gone through built him and guided him toward the brave man I saw in him.
Maybe it was never about having a fairy-tale relationship, but rather about finding love, the divine love of humanness, in the naked fires of daily life.