Vulnerability in Love and Life– A Good Thing or Something Else? By Otto Collins

There was about a two week window of time after I told my first wife I was leaving her that was totally real, raw and vulnerable.

Most of the time, I’d just as soon forget all the stuff that happened before (and after) that caused so much pain…

But during that short window of time, there was true vulnerability.

In our conversations, we talked about things we’d never talked about before or since.

We laughed.

We cried.

And I can’t know what her experience was, but I recall moments that in some ways were truly tender.

The relationship (and life) lessons I learned during that time changed me forever.

What I learned about love, openness, fear, communication and vulnerability (now 25 years ago) has stayed with me.

In fact, I could go as far to say that as painful as that time was, it has made me a better husband and partner to Susie, a better father and a better human being.

Most people think vulnerability in love and life is something to shun, to be afraid of, to run from and to avoid.

What I’ve come to see is how vulnerability just might be one of the true superpowers when applied to love and relationships.

Here’s why…

I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve been afraid to tell my wife Susie something but I told her anyway.

When things come up that I want to hide from, I’m embarrassed about, ashamed of or don’t want to share…

My tendency is to want to withdraw, not reveal, not open up and not share.

But since my commitment to connection with Susie and my desire for growing our love is so great, I’ve learned that instead of taking my discomfort and fear as a sign to shut down and withdraw…

I see it as a sign I have to open up.

THIS is hard but totally worth it.

Here’s why…

Most people won’t allow themselves to be vulnerable.

To them, it’s a sign of weakness.

And they think that if people see them as weak, they can’t get what they want in life.

They think that if people knew the real them that they wouldn’t love, respect, appreciate or value them as much as if they pretended to be strong.

This was certainly true for me for much of my life in the past.

But, what if the exact opposite was true about vulnerability?

What if the willingness to be vulnerable was actually a superpower that leads to getting exactly what you want in your relationships and your life…

And you just don’t realize it?

I’ve noticed that every single relationship in my life I’ve valued deeply has had a high level of vulnerability infused within it.

Instead of the superficial and the mundane, I very often lead in conversations with what’s deep, what’s important, what’s meaningful, what feels like it must be shared…

And by inviting the same thing in others.

I do this by getting curious and providing as safe of a space as possible for them to open up and be vulnerable as well.

Does this always work?

No, of course not.

I’ve found there are always some people and some situations where “being vulnerable” simply won’t serve you, the other person or the situation.

And in those times, you just have to respect the reality and truth of those situations.

Vulnerability isn’t something to be feared or to hold back from.

It’s something that builds love, connection and shared experience…

And most of all, creates connection with the people in your life.

The choice to be vulnerable or to hold back really comes down to one thing.

Which do you want more…

Love, connection and possibilities


Distance, disillusion and disconnection?

Have a question about being vulnerable? Ask it here…

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