NUMBER 972 • 31 MAY • LOVE IS VULNERABLE-
The tendency in life is for the person to defend the self, to ensure the integrity of the organism. It is a phenomenon necessary for survival. Psychological and emotional survival is just as important as the physical, since to lose one is felt like losing all. Each person may use a variety of defenses to this end. To a certain extent, that individual array of defenses creates much of the flavor of that person’s personality. Such a system is not only necessary, it is desirable.
Unfortunately, those very defenses that ensure survival also work to inhibit the full expression of the self. A person being fully the self risks censure, rejection and possibly abandonment. To the child or THE CHILD WITHIN EACH OF US, this is seen as a threat to existence. So the person learns how to function in roles which are effective for survival but which involve a closing down, a contraction of the energy body. The “self” tends to be placed in cold storage, safe from the judgments and possible rejections of others. Such a person will find it difficult to be exposed either to others or most importantly, to the self. This individual will tend to be invulnerable in relating to others.
Yet, for personal growth, to discover an essential meaning in life, each person must ultimately “let go,” to experience spontaneity, to feel the outer limits of existence and the fullness of one’s own inner space.
Where love rules
there is no will to
power; and where
there love is lacking
CARL GUSTAV JUNG
That can happen only when the personal defenses, are set aside, or seen through or abandoned altogether… when the person is “vulnerable.” Like young children, innocents are vulnerable. In face of the threats and vagaries of life, children will develop necessary defenses and roles. Otherwise, they become handicapped and ineffective in life, often being judged as “stupid.” Through somehow retaining a trust in others and in life, innocents neither become defended nor seemingly “stupid.” They remain vulnerable, yet still they effectively survive. Frequently, their lives become exemplary and inspirational to others.
To be loving is to offer this vulnerability, to reveal the self openly, innocently, without guile and without control. In so loving, this person is able to experience the self in its most authentic form, without the usual amount of restricting defenses. It is a fresh, open and exhilarating emotional state. The self is expansive, being able to experience the outer reaches of its own boundaries. It is a rare opportunity to get to know the self again, to become reacquaint- ed with the self, to become fully present, past all the defenses.
JOCK McKEEN & BENNET WONG
McKeen, J. and Wong, B. (2005). To be ... Love-ing ... To be ... Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, 17(4), pp.61-62