8/29/2023 (Day #4262)
Love, trust, and vulnerability
I’ve learned a TON since my arrest about love, trust, and vulnerability. I now understand and embrace that these are not mutually exclusive concepts, and that they have deeper meaning and value than I previously attributed to them. I’m being facetious to make my point clearer here – my old thinking about love was that it meant putting up with each other’s crap. SO wrong!! I have a trail of broken relationships, family conflicts, and ex-friends to prove it.
I’m pretty eager to learn all I can of relationships. I feel like I have a good grasp of my previous shortcomings in family, friends, and romantic relationships, and I’m open-minded about figuring out new things I haven’t identified before so I can address them. Regardless of how much I feel like I comprehend about my past and what I’ve learned to help me reconcile my faults, I’m still intent on learning more.
I’ve taken standalone classes for anger management, communication, and parenting that have been beneficial. Therapy has been another resource for my learning, especially the opportunity to explore specific events and relationships. And Pre-Treatment and phased SOTP-NR have helped by expanding on therapy and classes, and adding relevant topics, like intimacy, empathy, and healthy conflict resolution.
I learned that my beliefs and understanding about love, trust, and vulnerability were incomplete, not fully formed. There were contributors to this, including lack of healthy coping strategies, lack of self-awareness, and undiagnosed depression. My emotional development was stunted, immature, and it showed in my relationships with others.
I’ve learned and embraced a greater understanding of love. What is love, how to love, and especially important for me particularly, how to BE loved. I don’t know how to summarize what I’ve learned concisely. I think the essential areas for me to learn were the importance of connection and emotional intimacy, compassion, unselfishness, compromising and making sacrifices, and genuine love being unconditional. As I gained understanding, the connection between love, trust, and vulnerability clicked and I realized I’d been treating them as mutually exclusive ideas for the most part. I’ve learned that love and trust go hand in hand, decline in one can lead to decline in the other, and vice versa where rise in one can lead to rise in the other. Vulnerability is like the gatekeeper for love and trust – for me, that means opening up, allowing myself to be vulnerable builds mutual trust, deeper connection, and stronger love. Vulnerability is very much a two-way street, when one person is vulnerable with the other, it reflects trust in that person’s acceptance and their trust in your honesty and transparency. Love is built on trust, and honesty, that is non-negotiable to establish true, unconditional love as the basis of relationships. I was not a good practitioner of that, and I’ve learned better now.
Yes, there is more to relationships, more about love, trust, and vulnerability, and I’ll share more of what I’ve learned about them in due time. I wanted to share my “starting point”, the basics of what I needed to learn first. The basics have set me on a better course to be a better Son, Dad, Grandfather, nephew, and friend.
Stronger today than yesterday, full of love for my kids, grandkids, Mom, and everyone who has been supportive!!!