How Vulnerability strengthens a relationship.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. There will be dark clouds, storms and long unexpected stretches of darkness. This darkness can often completely engulf you and leave you in an inescapable pit, if you allow it.
That’s the thing with darkness. If you look for light to come and find you, the darkness will never let it happen. You have to banish this darkness with the light inside you. The brighter you shine, the weaker the darkness will get. The only way to get through hard times in life is to find the strength inside and push through them.
Of course, it will break you into pieces. But once you find your way out of the darkness you will rebuild yourself and become the strongest version of yourself. However, it can often be hard for us to share this darkness with the people we are closest with.
Showing your vulnerability is never easy. We are afraid of being judged.
Of being considered weak. So we face this darkness alone which often affects our relationships in an adverse way. But when you share your vulnerabilities with your partner, it can bring you closer than ever before and give the strength you need right now.
The pit of darkness
“What hurts you, blesses you. Darkness is your candle.” – Rumi
A share like this is vulnerable to me. I’m not the type to seek personal support online. And yet I seek connection, more than support.
I was in a really dark place, about 10 days ago. Anxiety, panic, depression. A sense of the bottom torn out from under me. A hysterical undercurrent of – Would I live?
I’m undergoing a big transitional time in my life. Unwinding foundational pieces from the last 17 years. Ways of making a living. Financial security. Identity unraveling.
In this dark place, I felt ashamed to have forgotten things I knew, things about which I had written, upon having undergone a similar rupture several years ago when I left a 20-year marriage.
“Life’s cosmic forces are kicking your ass into the next part of your life.”
“Your soul [is saying], ‘No more. Something’s got to change.”
“In crises, we have the opportunity to grow and enter a new vision of life.”
In that rock bottom place 10 days ago, I had absolute amnesia. I couldn’t see the light. I felt trapped by my life’s circumstance, at least my perception of them.
Reading my own words helped. But what got me there first, was a voice within that said…
This is great – you can’t go much lower, only up.
Be present with the darkness, for in it, comes the light.
It can’t get any worse, only better.
And just remembering my access to my light, something shifted. I knew then — I did not have to divide against myself. I ceased self-judgments like – What’s wrong with me? How have I failed?
Shining bright in the darkness
“You need to spend time crawling alone through shadows to truly appreciate what it is to stand in the sun.” – Shaun Hick
From years of training, I knew I could make friends with fear and anxiety. In fact, I could commit to the truth of my experience of fear and anxiety. That meant residing in sensation, not story. I stopped thinking… and felt.
It hurt a lot.
But soon, the undercurrent of – Will I live? – lightened, and I came back home to myself. Over the next few days, the suffering began to diminish.
I share this because it is the core of my work — to relieve suffering in the world. To teach others how to turn the light back on in themselves. It’s the work of self-relationship.
And it sets the foundation for a fulfilling and energized partnership, which is what I teach. Two people cannot have such a relationship if shadow dominates one or both.
I waited several days before sharing this down cycle with my partner. In part, because I did not want to burden her. But more so, because I was aware that the down cycle was for me.